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Fiction Literary

Beautiful Losers

by (author) Leonard Cohen

McClelland & Stewart
Initial publish date
Apr 2003
Literary, Humorous, Classics
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2003
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 1991
    List Price

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His most provocative and experimental work of the sixties, Beautiful Losers affirms Leonard Cohen as a visionary songwriter and novelist.

Beautiful Losers is a novel of stunning prose that is equal parts vulgar, rhapsodic, and viciously witty. At the center of the story are three individuals, united by their sexual obsessions and mutual fascination with Catherine Tekakwitha, a seventeenth-century Mohawk saint. A bereaved narrator reconstructs his relationship with his deceased wife and best friend—a love triangle of two men and a woman with a capacity to betray each other repeatedly. As each character gradually succumbs to self-abandonment, their descent is paralleled alongside Catherine's history, whose self-destruction marked her ascendance to sainthood. In a thrilling marriage of profane and divine, this sensuous erotic tragedy examines the fine line between faith and desire, as the lines between the sensualist and the saint blur beyond distinction.

About the author

Contributor Notes

LEONARD COHEN's artistic career began in 1956 with the publication of his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies. He published two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, and ten previous books of poetry, including Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs and Book of Longing. During a recording career that spanned almost fifty years, he released fourteen studio albums, the last of which, You Want It Darker, was released in 2016. Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature and the Glenn Gould Prize in 2011. He died on November 7, 2016.

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.” —The Observer (UK)

“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 (UK)

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

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

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