Recently, ’90s grunge giants Nirvana have been placed, once again, at the forefront of news media world-wide. Though it’s been 21 years since Kurt Cobain tragically committed suicide, hordes of fans old and new still ache to know every minute detail about the late frontman. The multitude of conspiracy theories, exhaustive biographies and fanfictions don’t ever seem to satisfy this craze. The most recent wave of nostalgia has arisen due to “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” (2015), a purportedly honest and unfiltered documentary about the iconic musician, co-produced by his only daughter, Frances Bean Cobain. Set for release in the United States on April 24, the film will feature previously unreleased songs, home videos, live footage and more. The film’s upcoming release has been covered extensively in the media, already winning stellar reviews, fueling the still raging Cobain frenzy and trapping the man in the legendary status he never wanted to attain.
A lesser-known kindling to this fire, however, is slightly more unexpected than the umpteenth retelling of the Cobain story. In a play on the song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” performed by Nirvana on the 1994 album “MTV Unplugged in New York,” a new novel imagines a reincarnation of Cobain in the modern day. The book, written by University of Toronto Professor Lynn Crosbie, is a fantastical tale about teenage heroin addict Evelyn Gray, who ends up in a hospital. There, Gray starts a relationship with a fellow patient, Celine Black, who just so happens to be Kurt Cobain reincarnate. And not in a metaphorical sense — in the book, Black really is Cobain’s ghost. Before writing off the novel as yet another middle-aged women’s unsettling fanfiction — which it may well be — it’s important to note that Crosbie is well-regarded for her prose. With multiple poetry collections and novels published, as well as acclaimed journalistic works, she may have the writing chops to execute this strange plot line.
Since the book does not come out until May — conveniently timed in relation to “Montage of Heck” — curious readers can only speculate as to which direction the story will follow. Whether it’s humorous, self-aware or tragic in its delivery, the novel and the film are surely the most unique Cobain-related artifacts to garner public attention in recent years.