- Paperback: 189 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st Grove Press Pbk. Ed edition (22 Nov. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802134459
- ISBN-13: 978-0802134455
- Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.1 x 1.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Leaving Las Vegas Paperback – 22 Nov 1995
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Leaving Las Vegas is the wrenching but compelling story of unconditional love between two lost and disenfranchised souls. Sera, a prostitute, and Ben, an alcoholic, stumble together and discover in each other a respite from their unforgiving lives. -- Kathleen Keefe, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A brutal and unflinching portrait of the low life in the city of high rollers, Leaving Las Vegas is both shocking and curiously exhilarating. John O'Brien was a stunningly talented writer who created poetry from the most squalid materials. This is a beautiful and horrifying novel. - Jay McInerney
There is not a false note in the novel . . . [O'Brien] achieves real power in his writing. You seldom encounter it anymore, but when you do you know you've been properly whacked by a real talent. - New York Daily News
[An] immense writing talent . . . John O'Brien's life ended with a gunshot. Leaving Las Vegas, for its intensity, its bravado, and its legacy - an American tragedy that would pave the way for many more - only begins to understand why. - Esquire
The book's unique power resides in this awareness; and it allows O'Brien to breathe new life into two of the most familiar and overused archetypes of popular fiction: the drunk and the whore . . . Ben's impulse to destroy himself is so psychologically unspecific as to be sublime. - Boston Review
This book is not only dark and dire, it is crushing. How can a novel so absolutely devoid of hope be so gripping? The portrait of Sera and Ben is a tour de force - masterful and relentless. Leaving Las Vegas is the strongest and most extreme look at alcohol I've ever read. This book moved and bothered me and weeks later it is still in my mind. I think O'Brien is simply terrific. - Ron Carlson
Here is that rarest jewel, a really fine novel. It's a magical piece of work, one of the best I've seen in a long time. John O'Brien has a very great talent.--Larry Brown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
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For me it feels like books such as Dan Fante's Chump Change, Denis Johnson's Resucitation of a Hanged Man and Hubert Selby Jr's Requiem for a Dream. This is as good as the film, those who enjoyed Mike Figgis's film should enjoy this work also. I think that O'brien's book is a modern classic and hopefully it will be a work that is studied within schools and universities in years to come.
This is not an easy read, and if you're looking for an uplifting book, this is probably not the choice for you, but what it is, is an incredibly raw emotional book which takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions, and leaves you feeling almost drained from its intensity.
Without taking anything away from the story, you read the foreword to find that the author committed suicide after writing this book and that his father thinks that Leaving Las Vegas was his sons suicide note to the world, this makes it all the more powerful, as you draw parallels between the lead protaganist and O'Brien, feeling the depths of his despair.
The lead character is worn down by life, having split from his wife and family, he drinks to escape reality, having finally lost his job because of his drinking, he scrapes together every penny he can lay his hand on and makes the move to Vegas to drink himself to death. On arrival he meets prostitute Sara, and together they strike up an unlikely touching and tender but ultimately doomed relationship.
He helps her to see something better, whilst she can't stop the wheels he has already set in motion, and you know the story will end in his death. John O brien doesn't try to be trite by giving this story a happy ending, but you do have the hope that Sara will make something better fo her life after his death. I actually cried at the end, something I've never done before at a book.
One word of warning, there is a rape scene in the book which almost seemed to come out of nowhere and was particularly disturbing to read, but also exemplifies O'Briens skills as a writer and his loss to the literary world.
In the middle some disturbing and frank graphic depictions of things happen out of nowhere almost but not quite shocking in their nature.
The depiction of Ben/Sera's suffering through alcoholism/bondage to prostitution and then how they find solace in their relationship is extraordinarily moving.
The novel/film work on the deepest levels and in fact explore religious territory.
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