two solid dudes

Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen, 1966, 243 Pages

Are you ready to revisit the two solitudes, girl? We seem to be back in a similar Montreal to Lullabies for Little Criminals, if a few years earlier, but it follows on the struggles of anglo and francophone Quebec identities that we met in Two Solitudes.

Described as “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.”




Róisín: This book was… unexpected for me? I guess my only previous experience with Leonard Cohen is his poetry. And even though this book is definitely poetic, it’s not what I was expecting from him. (I know its slightly ridiculous to call a 50 year old book “unexpected” but we don’t really tend to look up synopsis or any info/criticism on these books until after we read them). I read this one a few months ago and I have to say that after that distance of time, none of my notes on it make sense. Just a lot of facts about Kateri Tekakwitha from Wikipedia and the question: “Is the treehouse even real though?????”

I am very committed to the grossness of this book. There’s something very Catholic about it, the recounting of a saint’s life side by side with the more scatalogical tangents in the book. Also, is it maybe Joycean? I don’t know guys, I am not an expert, just a reader with no other frame of reference for stream of consciousness novels.

Kathleen: I stand by my review.

Róisín: I’m not really sure if I liked this or not? I went through extremes while reading it and I feel like just as I was really getting into it, a main character was killed off and I was once again disoriented and back to being skeptical about the whole book. Overall, glad I read, I feel like it pushed my personal reading boundaries more than any of the books so far, but at the same time its not gonna be a recommendation from me anytime soon.

Kathleen: JUST KIDDING, NERDS! I think I probably really enjoyed about 40% of this book, and through most of the rest of it I was just hoping to get back to the parts I liked. This book is dense and filthy, and sometimes there are chapters that are just 3 pages like “moon moat face tumble grey chalice” blah blah blah. No thank you! Sorry!

In absence of a less bewildered review, please enjoy this small collage I made for you babes:

VERDICT: Should it be on the 30 before 30?

Róisín: Girl, I am actually undecided on this one.

Kathleen: I’m leaning towards no I think?


Two Solid Dudes
Two cool dudes wearing backwards caps and reading and reviewing Canadian Lit that we are secretly ashamed we haven't read yet. We're starting with CBC Reads' list of the top 30 Canadian books to read before you turn 30.

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