Title: Beautiful Losers
Author: Leonard Cohen
Page Count/Review Word Count: 283
Beautiful Losers describes itself as a ‘classic erotic tragedy‘, which is actually a fairly apt description of the novel – what it fails to mention, however, is that Cohen’s idiosyncratic and impressively unique writing style makes Beautiful Losers occasionally difficult to read, and often difficult to understand.
That’s not a bad thing, though – while the novel isn’t exactly suitable for light reading, it’s not one of those dreary old novels that you pick up and plough through just because you feel you have to (note to self: Remember to read War and Peace). No, Beautiful Losers is an engaging story that shows Cohen’s penchant for the less respectable denizens of Cohen’s Canada.
Written during his formative years, before he started to make it as an accomplished singer-songwriter, Beautiful Losers is Cohen’s second and final novel, which is a shame. Nowadays, he churns out pretty impressive poetry, but it would be interesting to see how his prose developed over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some secret novel stashed under the carpet of his tour bus.
Interestingly, Cohen’s writing became slowly more reflective throughout his life, and while there is a not-so-subtle hint of self-reflection in Beautiful Losers, it’s not as prevalent as it is in some of his later work. The younger Cohen had much to learn about life, and the older Cohen has already seen too much – it’s fun to gauge the difference between the two and to observe the marks that life left upon him. Do yourself a favour and at least consider reading it – you might fall in love.