Though Start fails to develop great intimacy with her reticent subject, her biography, the first of the gifted pop star, will delight lang's legions of fans. k.d. lang is the androgynous lesbian animal-rights activist with the incredible voice who has captured mainstream success against all odds. Starr, producer of a radio program on women in pop, chronicles lang's development from her early days in Eastern Alberta, Canada, to her emergence as a performance artist/singer and kitsch country star. Supplementing apparently limited access to the singer with interviews of friends and others, the author chronicles the maturation of lang's style from ""new progressionalist torch and twang"" to her more recent ""post-nuclear cabaret"" sound and answers questions fans have yearned to ask. Why the lower-case name? The youthful lang was a fan of e.e. cummings. Does lang really think she's the reincarnation of Patsy Cline? Yes and no. And what prompted lang to reveal -- to the delight of her lesbian fans -- that she too is gay? A desire for candor as much as anything else. Start provides detailed analysis of lang's abortive experience with Nashville, a city the singer had sworn that she would reform. Considering her unfortunate outburst -- a sweeping criticism of country music and its capital when the music she made there failed to gain radio play -- the author suggests that if lang had been more diplomatic and possessed greater knowledge of the genre and its history, success could have been hers. The book closes with speculation about lang's love life (unsubstantiated liaisons with Madonna, Martina Navratilova, and Ingrid Caseras), which shows that the singer does a laudable job of retaining some privacy. That quality accounts for the book's lack of immediacy. Fans will have to turn back to lang's music to restoke their ardor, but they'll have learned a lot here.