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Beautiful Losers Paperback – 26 Mar 1992

3.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Paperback, 26 Mar 1992
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Black Spring Press Ltd; New edition edition (26 Mar. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0948238194
  • ISBN-13: 978-0948238192
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 1.7 x 12.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 502,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A fantasied eroticism which is wildly funny…An exciting book.’ Sunday Times

‘The literary counterpart of “Hair” on the stage and “Easy Rider” on the screen.’ Daily Telegraph

‘The most vivid, fascinating and brave modern novel I have read.’ Michael Ondaatje

‘Gorgeously written…one comes out of it having seen terrible and beautiful visions.’ New York Times

‘Brilliant, explosive, a fountain of talent…James Joyce is not dead…he lives under the name of Cohen…writing from the point of view of Henry Miller.’ Boston Herald

‘Fuses sexuality with spirituality…mystical and profane, poetic and obscene…an invitation to play Russian roulette with a phallic pistol.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Cohen assaults the reader with words, images, pyrotechnics and love. It’s a raging, poetic, highly personal and eminently readable book.’ Toronto Star

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, "Beautiful Losers is Cohen's most defiant and uninhibited work. The novel centres upon the hapless members of a love triangle united by their sexual obsessions and by their fascination with Catherine Tekakwitha, the 17th-century Mohawk saint.
By turns vulgar, rhapsodic, and viciously witty, "Beautiful Losers explores each character's attainment of a state of self-abandonment, in which the sensualist cannot be distinguished from the saint.

"From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Published in 1966, Cohen's Beautiful Losers is yet to be surpassed in terms of energy. The heart felt lyricism of this novel veers towards the insane - as well it should given the subject matter. The exploration of a saint's life, thrown together with the narrator's sense of bewilderment and wonder at the chaos in his own heart and the crueller chaos of the world in which he lives are thrown together into a stew of sex and devotion. Though involving Jewish, Christian and Native American traditions, this is a humanist liturgy of the highest order.
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Format: Paperback
An astonishing novel, flawed but vital, by the Poet Laureate of Gloom, Leonard Cohen. Those familiar with the Canadian singer-songwriter's work will recognise many of the themes running through 'Beautiful Losers' - love, loss, death, sex, religion and wry humour. However, the explicitness of the material and the language may deter those who expect 'Suzanne'-styled characters to flit in and out of the proceedings.
It is a challenging work; there is no plot to speak of, while the three main characters consist of the narrator, an unidentifed friend known as 'F', and the narrator's wife Edith.
We increasingly learn of the complexities of the three-way love triangle. Edith and 'F' are both dead by the start of the novel, leading the damaged narrator to is corruptness, sex is redemption, and death is the ultimate breakdown in communication.
The dark poetry of this book, sprinkled lovingly on Cohen's songs, makes 'Beautiful Losers' a kind of cross between 'Last Exit to Brooklyn', 'Ulysses', and Frederico Garcia Lorca. A young Bob Dylan at the height of his fame once wrote a free-form novel, 'Tarantula'. It wasn't very good. By contrast, 'Beautiful Losers' both illumniates and expands the inherent themes in the music of Leonard Cohen, and is in itself a literary triumph.
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Format: Paperback
I brought to this book a whole lot of baggage with regards, Leonard Cohen : The Singer/Songwriter. I was expecting dispair wrapped in a crispy shell of depression. I'm glad to say I was wrong, rarely have I read a book that felt like it was answering real questions. It's not a book to give Grandma for Christmas but buy it and read it for yourself ...
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Format: Kindle Edition
Leonard Cohen is a man of many talents. I consider him the greatest songwriter (second only to Dylan) in the world, an amazing and thought provoking poet and accomplished artist. The man oozes charisma and intelligence from every pore and attending his live concerts has ranked amongst some of the best moments of my life. However, Cohen is less known as a novelist and has published two novels (My Favourite Game & Beautiful Losers) very early on in his career.

I first discovered Beautiful losers around 10 years ago and after sitting there for over a hour and found that I couldn't even get through the first 30 pages. It was then duly placed to one side and forgotten about. I have always wished that I had persevered as I was sure that I was missing something. With this in mind I picked it up again and settled down for a read.

The novel is split into 3 parts, the first part is told through the eyes of an anonymous narrator and details his bizarre relationship with his wife (Edith) and best friend ('F'), interwoven into this is the story of Catherine Tekakwitha a 17th Century Saint. As the narrator recounts past events (whether real or imagined we are never totally sure) it becomes apparent that out of the group he is the only one left alive. All sounds a little bizarre? That's because it is. Although the previous sentence may indicate that there is some sort of plot to the novel you would be extremely hard pressed to find one. What about themes I hear you ask? Well for me the only really apparent theme was that of sex. Graphic descriptions on practically every page (I am sure that this book must hold some sort of record for using the c*** word) that would give even Richard Laymon a run for his money.
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Format: Paperback
Leonard Cohen was 33 when he released his first album. Before that he had published several volumes of poetry and two novels: "The Favourite Game" (1963) and "Beautiful Losers" (1966). In an essay appended as an "extra" to this Blue Door publication of "Beautiful Losers" we are told that on initial publication it sold 1000 copies, though it was widely reviewed, and denounced by some as "revolting," "obscene" and even "psychotic."
In "Beautiful Losers," Cohen's great theme is sex. His only theme, really. Did he ever think of anything else? If so, he chose not to document it. Stylistically, the book is a mishmash of modernist techniques, a lot of Joyce, possibly Rimbaud. No plot, of course. A young man's book in many ways: a frenzied torrent of words, formless, rambling, digressive, violent, obsessively sexual. A few bits of Greek thrown in, pretentiously.
In the aforementioned "extra" essay, we are told that in 1966 Cohen called this book "a technical masterpiece." I can only assume that was a joke. In Cohen's forward from the first Chinese edition in 2000, also included here, he calls it "the frenzied thoughts of my youth," advising the reader that "this is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously." The forward ends graciously:" Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time." Well, I consider "Beautiful Losers" to have been something of a waste of my time and money. It's a self-indulgent mess. It's of slight historical interest, maybe, considering Cohen's later career, but that's it, in my humble opinion. But I forgive you, Leonard.
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