Toronto academic and literary writer Myra Bloom offers a revisionist look at Canada’s late bard of poem and song in a Walrus magazine feature headlined The Darker Side of Leonard Cohen, musing that “given our threshold for bad male behaviour is currently sitting at an all-time low, we can surmise that Cohen’s ‘ladies man’ persona—cultivated in an era when the term still connoted ‘romantic artist’ rather than ‘pickup artist’—would get less traction now.”
The thrust of her story focusses on Cohen’s first published novel, Beautiful Losers, that centres on a love triangle and described as “the most revolting book ever written in Canada” by Toronto Star critic Robert Fulford in its day.
Putting it all in perspective, Bloom writes in summation: “Beautiful Losers will likely continue its slide into the dustbin of history and with it our memory of the young author who wrote it, high off his face on amphetamines and sunstroke on the Greek island of Hydra. Instead, we will continue basking in the light of the elder Cohen’s towering icon while listening to saccharine covers of “Hallelujah” on repeat. And this will be a loss, for Beautiful Losers is an important reminder that before Cohen became a saint, he was just a flawed man.”
Read Myra Bloom’s feature essay in the April edition of Walrus here.