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Beautiful Losers Paperback – Feb 1 1991

3.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Paperback, Feb 1 1991
CDN$ 107.31 CDN$ 8.99

Strong Is the New Pretty

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: New Canadian Library (Feb. 1 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771098758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771098758
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #221,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From Amazon

Leonard Cohen's 1966 Beautiful Losers is ambitiously filthy. Few Canadian novels before or since are as sexual, but there's more filth here than just squirming bodies. It is in fact the novel's psychological intimacy that will make you want a long, hot shower with astringent soap. Beautiful Losers is devoted exclusively to four characters, three of them points in a love triangle--the scholarly narrator, his Aboriginal wife Edith, and his lifelong "friend" and mentor F.--and the fourth a 17th-century Iroquois saint whose life the narrator obsessively researches. The protean, mercurial, and intense F. is a kind of artist of existence, one hopefully found more often in fiction than in reality. Though capable of buying a factory or winning an election, F. is often destitute and glad to rob sustenance and sex from his friends. He has taken the narrator as a protégé (or a victim) of his increasingly dangerous tests of desire. Surviving the hedonistic, self-destructive deaths of F. and the unfaithful Edith, the unnamed scholar even seems humiliated as narrator, as if he's cleaning up his own apartment after a party he didn't plan.

Canada has had a bumper crop of poet-novelist switch hitters: Margaret Atwood, Robert Kroetsch, Anne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje. Their novels are sure to dazzle with their language, but some readers may lower their expectations of plot and character. Similarly, Cohen the poet will snare you with his introverted, confessional prose, so easily lent to the aphorism. "Grief makes us precise." "What is most original in a man's nature is often that which is most desperate." "I am not enjoying sunsets, then for whom do they burn?" These dagger-like pensées, along with the sheer inscrutability of F., will sustain those readers who don't like sunshine (again, it's very claustrophobic inside this book), while plot purists may find the masturbatory plot, well, masturbatory. --Darryl Whetter

Review

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

“Cohen is a writer of terrific energy and colour, a Rabelaisian comic and a visualizer of memorable scenes.”
London Observer (U.K.)

“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

“A fantasied eroticism which is wildly funny.… An exciting book.”
Sunday Times (U.K.)

“The literary counterpart of Hair on the stage and Easy Rider on the screen.”
Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

“Leaves one gasping for breath as well as suitable words.… Cohen is a powerful, poetic writer.”
Dallas Times Herald

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