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I Dream of Joni

A Portrait of Joni Mitchell in 53 Snapshots

About The Book

The eternal singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is seen anew, portrayed through a witty and comprehensive exploration of anecdotes, quotes, and lyrics by Henry Alford, “the most graceful of humorists” (Vanity Fair) and a writer for The New Yorker.

Joni Mitchell’s life, psyche, and evolving legacy are explored here in vivid technicolor—from her childhood in Saskatoon, Canada, to her arrival in Laurel Canyon that turned her into, as Alford puts it, “the bard of heartbreak and longing.” Each period of Mitchell’s life is observed via the artists, friends, family, and lovers she encountered along the way, including James Taylor, Leonard Cohen, Georgia O’Keefe, Prince, and, most significantly, Kilauren, the daughter Mitchell gave up for adoption at birth but then reconnected with decades later.

Presented in the impressionistic vein of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret, I Dream of Joni explores in fifty-three essays, with the author’s trademark wit and verve, the life of the legendary singer-songwriter.

About The Author

Photograph © Kim Madalinski

Henry Alford is a humorist and journalist who has written for The New Yorker for more than two decades. A former columnist for The New York Times and a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, he is the author of six books, including And Then We DancedHow to Live, and Big Kiss, an account of his attempts to become a working actor, which won a Thurber Prize.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (January 21, 2025)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668019528

Raves and Reviews

“I came for Henry and stayed for Joni. Which is to say, one can have almost no interest at all in Joni Mitchell (and I'm ashamed to say I was one of those cultural lunks) and enjoy the crap out of this book — the gorgeous turn of words, the humor, the tireless pursuit of delicious detail. Alford, long a favorite of mine, captures the artist in all her zesty contradictions. He doesn't seek to resolve them, to draft some overarching theory of Joni, but rather to simply — as he puts it — 'spill them out on a tabletop and watch them sparkle.' That they do."
–Mary Roach, New York Times bestselling author of Stiff and Fuzz

"Henry Alford gathered everything there is to know about Joni Mitchell and then distilled it all into the most fascinating, entertaining and significant stories. Like its subject, I Dream of Joni is artful and inventive. Alford leaps from decade to decade, backwards and forwards, making the reader a (happy) captive on a carousel of time. The result is exactly what a genius like Joni Mitchell deserves—a biography that feels unfettered and alive."
Nell Scovell, author of Just the Funny Parts

"Having read Henry Alford’s dreamy meditations and investigations into Joni Mitchell, I realize that all those hundreds of hours lying prone on my green shag carpet listening to Court and Spark in high school did not make me the Mitchellologist I thought I was. I am so glad Henry Alford filled in many of her mysteries. He even went to Saskatchewan; God’s work."
—Lisa Birnbach, author of New York Times bestsellers The Official Preppy Handbook and True Prep

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