46 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Why This Uncoventional Novel Has a Cult Following, 6 April 2004
'The Losers' Club' is the story of Martin Sierra, an aspiring writer in New York's East Village during the mid 1990s, as he searches for relationships with a future and meaning in life. The reader follows Martin, rejected professionally and personally, as he feeds his body through a dead-end job as a shipping clerk and attempts to feed his soul through appreciation of the East Village Art Life. He searches futilely for a woman who will respect his abilities as a poet, a writer, a lover and a friend. His friendship with Nikki is ongoing when the book begins. Bisexual, Nikki is attainable romantically because of a continuing but ultimately doomed relationship. She spends time with Martin and the two connect physically, however Martin's emotional longing for her seems one-sided. Martin is addicted to the personal ads, although he finds rejection there as well. The damaged women who contact him are a physical manifestation of the commercial publishers who reject his craft - commercial, promiscuous, disloyal, selfish. As he pursues 'The Art Life,' it becomes clear that the associated freaks and weirdos of the East Village clubs represent Martin's own preference for pain over feeling nothing, that and other people's scorn over being perpetually ignored. Martin's need for validation seems to emanate from the fact that his mother ignored him as a child, placing her budding career as a poet over her role as a caregiver. This is not a perfect novel, parts of it are raw a la Bukowski, other parts seem underwritten, and overall the book seems fragmentary, but I must admit that I liked it. Almost more than I wanted to. The imagery is always razor-sharp; it's fast-moving, some of the dialogue really killed me -- hilarious, and it's written with genuine heart.