Friday, November 16, 2012

Beautiful Losers

I finished reading Beautiful Losers, a novel Leonard Cohen wrote in 1964, and I have to say I'm glad he didn't quit his day job.   It's a period piece, a message from the heart of the 60s, a little Henry Miller, a little James Joyce, a little William Burroughs, a young man's novel; and of course it's mainly about sex. It concerns three people, a French Canadian man, a English-Canadian ditto and an American Indian woman.  All are having sexual relationships with one another, and this triangle is overlain on the story of Kateri Tekakwatha, the Lily of the Mohawk, who was just recently canonized by the Church.  The Kateri story at least is coherent and beautifully told in intense, poetic language.  It's an epic story and well documented by the ever-assiduous Jesuits who converted her.  The connection between the three people humping one another in 1964 and St. K. is a little obscure but as we all knew well back then, everything is connected!

For one example, the first person miraculously cured by the saintly Mohawk was a Captain Du Luth.  Later, a city in Minnesota was named after him.   And who was born in that city exactly 260 years after Kateri died, and who made his debut record the very year that Cohen published his book?  Bob Dylan!  Coincidence?   I don't think so!

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