Beautiful Losers

Paperback | November 2, 1993

byLeonard Cohen

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One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, Beautiful Losers is Leonard Cohen’ s most defiant and uninhibited work. As imagined by Cohen, hell is an apartment in Montreal, where a bereaved and lust-tormented narrator reconstructs his relations with the dead. In that hell two men and a woman twine impossibly and betray one another again and again. Memory blurs into blasphemous sexual fantasy--and redemption takes the form of an Iroquois saint and virgin who has been dead for 300 years but still has the power to save even the most degraded of her suitors.

First published in 1966, Beautiful Losers demonstrates that its author is not only a superb songwriter but also a novelist of visionary power. Funny, harrowing, and fiercely moving, it is a classic erotic tragedy, incandescent in its prose and exhilarating for its risky union of sexuality and faith.

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From Our Editors

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 viciousl...

From the Publisher

One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, Beautiful Losers is Leonard Cohen’ s most defiant and uninhibited work. As imagined by Cohen, hell is an apartment in Montreal, where a bereaved and lust-tormented narrator reconstructs his relations with the dead. In that hell two men and a woman twine impossibly and betray one a...

From the Jacket

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 viciou...

Leonard Cohen’s artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies. He has published two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, and eleven books of poetry, most recently Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, Book of Longing,and Leonard Cohen: Poems and Songs. He has ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.06 × 5.24 × 0.57 inPublished:November 2, 1993Publisher:Random House, Incorporated

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679748253

ISBN - 13:9780679748250

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Customer Reviews of Beautiful Losers

Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hmmm ... I'm a big fan of LC's music and poetry but most of this was lost on me. There are some beautiful lyrical passages, but most of this reminded me of Naked Lunch - if you liked that, you'll probably like this. If not, probably not.
Date published: 2016-11-20
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

Extra Content

From Our Editors

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.

Editorial Reviews

"Gorgeously written. . . . One comes out of it having seen terrible and beautiful visions." --The New York Times"Leaves one gasping for breath as well as suitable words. . . . Cohen is a powerful, poetic writer." --Dallas Times-Herald"Brilliant, explosive, a fountain of talent. . . . James Joyce is not dead. . . . He lives in Montreal under the name of Cohen. . . writing from the point of view of Henry Miller." --Boston Sunday Herald