Beautiful Losers

by Leonard Cohen

McClelland & Stewart | January 1, 1966 | Mass Market Paperbound

Beautiful Losers is rated 3.1429 out of 5 by 7.
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.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Published: January 1, 1966

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771092865

ISBN - 13: 9780771092862

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sex Drugs and 17th Century Native Saints! Wow, what to say first. Perhaps the only thing to say is that this NOT a book for the faint of heart. The sexuality of this novel is at once horribly exaggerated and incredibly honest. A short novel of long and rambling tangents, of dark and twisted minds and the ability to transport the reader into the sixties. All in all, and interesting but not particularly enjoyable read.
Date published: 2008-07-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Ugh While I will admit that there can be merit in this work, I am sad to say that I did not like it at all. I found it became too tedious with the characters whining about his obsession with early "Canadian sants" and sex. (Yes, the book was written in the 60's, a time of 'experimentation' both in social interactions and in literature, but I feel that is no excuse for bad writing.) A co-worker sympathizes with my opinion, claiming that he had to re-read it at a later time in his life before appreciating it. I will not give up entirely on this book (my first dive into Leonard Cohen), I intend to put it on my shelf and attack it at a later time, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Date published: 2007-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from the title tells all it took me over a year to finish reading this book - not of lack of time or motivation, but because each time i picked it up i never wanted it to end. each consecutive page i read made me increasingly more aware of its finality, and that was the only thing that was able to convince me to keep putting it back down: an unwillingness for it to end. i highly recommend it to any cohen-lovers.
Date published: 2005-12-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Magic Not Afoot, But Tricks Aplenty It is easy to sound profound. Write about religion in an indirect, vague sort of way and readers all over the globe will talk about the hidden, clever and ironic interpretation of God you have. Leonard Cohen’s been doing this for what, four decades or more? and no one has yet caught on. But geez, it sounds like I’m being harsh. Well despite the fact that I am a fan of most of his music and some of his poetry, I do feel harsh about this book. Beautiful Losers is bad, bad, bad writing. And before anyone suggests that I might be simply offended by the sexual content of this book, that isn’t the case. Page after page after page of vagina and penis references, this book is as boring (yes ,boring) as a Howard Stern show. Despite the fact that every sexual encounter you can probably think of (and some you probably can’t) fills this book, the obsession becomes monotonous! It is easy to sound profound. (Okay so this one’s not that easy.) Get yourself established as Canada’s poet for the next generation, become a critically acclaimed folk singer, and then any thought that comes to mind will be praised by millions who are either too sycophantic or too embarrassed to admit they don’t understand a word. I’m not exaggerating. There are pages where the narrator partakes in page after page of pure free association. But since he’s not on my couch and I’m not a psychologist, I don’t see why I should be interested. It is easy to sound profound. Make a character (or in this case, make several) insane. That way, you can get away with writing that jumps aimlessly from one topic or style to the next without reason because hey, they’re crazy. Isn’t that clever?! Melville got away with it in Moby Dick and Acquin did in The Next Episode, so why shouldn’t Cohen? It is easy to sound profound. Write an infinite number of similes or metaphors to describe the same object or event. Eventually one of these should sound witty. Actually, some of these I did like. The imagery was very inspiring at times. However, whereas this technique (or trick) works in shorter pieces, like Bird On A Wire, it becomes tedious and unnecessary in a novel. It’s like cancer in three generations. It’s like potato blight in P.E.I.. It’s like winter darkness. It’s like an Israeli occupation. It’s like a sermon on guilt. It’s like watching end credits for a song title. It’s like body odour in an elevator. It’s like a nude scene with your parents in the room. It’s like ice-fishing. It’s like…
Date published: 2005-03-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One man's garbage...another's treasure I must confess. I was both amazed and appalled at this book. It was at once moving and disturbing. I found myself repetitively trowing the book down in disgust only to retrieve it out of sheer intruige and curiosity. Cohen manages to capture the imagination and the dark side of human urges in this wonderfully unique work.
Date published: 2003-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Cohen I will always remember listening to old Cohen records on my fathers record player.I will always remember the conversations/dissections of his lyrics with good friends and old enemies.And now, I will never forget the places Leonard Cohen took my mind, yet once again.If you enjoy good lit. or even if you kind of like trashy paperbacks, this book is a must read. His lust for life and eagerness to use a foul tongue completly saturate this entire tale.I reached back into his past and renewed my love for Cohen.I suggest you read this book like I would suggest you pull the rip cord on your parachute!
Date published: 2000-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Original... Very rarely do I come across a book that is so original and amazing at the same time. Written in a time of experimentation (the 60's) it was natural for writers to venture into new realms of the written word but very few seemed to write with the same strength and poetic beauty that is found within this novel. Highly recommended read for anyone who loves books!
Date published: 1999-10-02

– More About This Product –

Beautiful Losers

by Leonard Cohen

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Published: January 1, 1966

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771092865

ISBN - 13: 9780771092862

From the Publisher

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.

About the Author

Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934. He received his B.A. from McGill University and pursued graduate studies in English at Columbia University. Soon thereafter, he returned to Montreal and worked in his family’s clothing business while he continued to write poetry.

His artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies. He has published nine collections of poetry, most recently, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs (1993), and two novels, The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). During the sixties he achieved national and international acclaim as a composer-singer. He has made seventeen albums, the latest being Dear Heather (2004). Numerous tribute albums, in many languages, have celebrated his songs.

Cohen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, and promoted to the rank of Companion in 2003. He received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 1993, and has won numerous Juno Awards.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

“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


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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