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A Ballet of Lepers

Unabridged   7.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 11/01/2022

A Ballet of Lepers

A Novel and Stories

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781696609784


Before Leonard Cohen's worldwide fame expanded to fourteen studio albums, Grammy awards, and late-career global tours, he yearned for literary stardom. The Canadian songwriter of iconic hits like "Hallelujah," "Suzanne," and "Famous Blue Raincoat" first ventured into writing in his early twenties, and in A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories, listeners will discover that the magic that animated Cohen's unforgettable body of work was present from the very beginning of his career.

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Product Description

A never-before-published early novel and stories by the legendary musician, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen

The pieces in this collection, written between 1956 and 1961 and including short fiction, a radio play, and a stunning early novel, offer startling insights into Cohen's imagination and creative process. Cohen explores themes that would permeate his later work, from shame and unworthiness to sexual desire in all its sacred and profane dimensions to longing, whether for love, family, freedom, or transcendence. The titular novel, A Ballet of Lepers—one he later remarked was "probably a better novel" than his celebrated book The Favourite Game—is a haunting examination of these elements in tandem, focusing on toxic relationships and the lengths to which one will go to maintain them, while the fifteen stories, as well as the playscript, probe the inner demons of his characters, many of whom could function as stand-ins for the author himself. Cohen's work is meditative and surprising, offering playful, provocative, and penetrating glimpses into the world-weary lives of his characters, and a window into the early art of a storytelling master.

A Ballet of Lepers, vivid in its detail, unsparing in its gaze, reveals the great artist and visceral genius as never seen before.


"Moshfegh clearly finds a connection with the soul of Cohen's work. Rather than try to craft voices for the many characters, she employs a storytellerlike approach, which lends a bit of distance to the work while still offering inroads for understanding." —Booklist

"Moshfegh's voice may be unexpected, given Cohen's many first-person male characters, but, curiously, it works. Moshfegh meets the moments of sexual intimacy, and of shocking violence, straight on, conveying a reverence for these early works." —AudioFile

Author Bio

Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934. His work includes more than a dozen volumes of poetry; the novels The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers; and a collection of poems, drawings, lyrics, and drawings in The Flame (published posthumously). Cohen died in Los Angeles in November 2016.