In this unforgettable novel, Leonard Cohen boldly etches the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of an old Jewish family in Montreal. Life for Breavman is made up of dazzling colour – a series of motion pictures fed through a high-speed projector: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, with their infinite capacity for fantasy and cruelty; his secret experiments with hypnotism; the night-long adventures with Krantz, his beloved comrade and confidant. Later, achieving literary fame as a college student, Breavman does penance through manual labour, but ultimately flees to New York. And although he has loved the bodies of many women, it is only when he meets Shell, whom he awakens to her own beauty, that he discovers the totality of love and its demands, and comes to terms with the sacrifices he must make.
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.
“Is there any Canadian novel as compelling and as good at capturing youthful anxieties as J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye? Absolutely.…Leonard Cohen’s first novel, The Favourite Game.…One of the 10 best Canadian novels of the 20th century.…”
— Globe and Mail (January 2000)
“The Favourite Game is a morally brave book, intimate and unflinching.…Leonard Cohen sustains the highest level of poetic craftsmanship throughout.”
— Paul Quarrington
“He is a writer of terrific energy and colour, a Rabelaisian comic and a visualiser of some memorable scenes.”
— The Observer (U.K.)
“It is the kind of book that becomes a law unto itself, simply because there is nothing with which to compare it.”
— Calgary Albertan