Read The Favorite Game by Leonard Cohen Online


In this unforgettable novel, Leonard Cohen boldly etches the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of an old Jewish family in Montreal. Life for Breavman is made up of dazzling colour – a series of motion pictures fed through a high-speed projector: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, with their infinite capacity for fIn this unforgettable novel, Leonard Cohen boldly etches the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of an old Jewish family in Montreal. Life for Breavman is made up of dazzling colour – a series of motion pictures fed through a high-speed projector: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, with their infinite capacity for fantasy and cruelty; his secret experiments with hypnotism; the night-long adventures with Krantz, his beloved comrade and confidant. Later, achieving literary fame as a college student, Breavman does penance through manual labour, but ultimately flees to New York. And although he has loved the bodies of many women, it is only when he meets Shell, whom he awakens to her own beauty, that he discovers the totality of love and its demands, and comes to terms with the sacrifices he must make....

Title : The Favorite Game
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400033621
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 248 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Favorite Game Reviews

  • El
    2019-06-17 20:37

    It's been over 10 years since I read Cohen's Beautiful Losers and I really don't remember much besides, well, a vibrator. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book? What will the favorite game turn out to be? Does it involve a vibrator?This is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel about Montrealian (is that a thing? let's call it a thing) Lawrence Breavman who, from a rather young age, is fairly obsessed with sex. Or, I don't know, maybe all boys are, or maybe it's a Canadian thing.But in Leonard Cohen fashion, parts of his story are really beautiful. Not when he's using Breavman to talk about women being his property, certainly; but Cohen is a poet, and his poetry comes across even in his prose.I understand from the never-wrong Wikipedia that Cohen's story was actually much longer than what it turned out to be because a lot of it got chopped. I think that it's actually noticeable. The chapters are short to begin with, vignette-like, but there's a flow to a lot of it. But the flow is disrupted quite a bit, and I wonder if those breaks are where some chop-chop happened.Breavman isn't as interesting a character to me as one of his lady friends, Shell. Cohen spent a considerable amount of time discussing Shell, and managed to make her a fascinating character. I would have liked to know even more about her. I also wish Cohen had spent similar amounts of energy on Breavman and the other characters. But, again, maybe all of that is in the chopped sections which I hold out hope will one day come to the light of day.And, I'm sorry. Can we just comment for a moment on the fact that Cohen was asked to heavily edit his novel? That's like cutting Frank Sinatra off during his Lifetime Achievement award speech. Nobody puts baby in the corner.

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-06-08 17:24

    Leonard Cohen, like the artist at various times known as Prince, likes to fuse God and sex together, so that for him shagging is like Communion is for Catholics, and he shares this view with crazy cult leaders and holy lechers throughout history, as can be seen in songs like Hallelujah (check out what that holy dove is up to), Dance Me to the End of Love (one of my top favourites) and his other - wilder - weirder - better - far more disgusting - novel Beautiful Losers.In this first novel he gives us a portrait of the artist as a young slightly bohemian bore, mooching and yearning his way around Montreal. It's okay, but he hasn't got his mojo working yet. Beautiful Losers is the one Cohen novel to read - he quit writing novels after that one. It was impossible to follow up. This one is a saunter, that one is a mind-melt. Read Beautiful Losers and get the full Cohen experience - it'll dance you to the end of something or other, that's for sure.Note ; i saw Mr Cohen in concert once. He's a very funny guy. At one point he said to the audience ; "I'd like to thank you for all the letters and cards and good wishes you've sent me over the years, but I'm sorry to tell you they didn't help at all."

  • K
    2019-06-09 20:31

    Kada spava, svaki covek je samo dete!Iskreno, nisam nikad bila fan Koena ali me je zainteresovalo da procitam njegov prvi roman i moram priznati da sam se prijatno iznenadila. Pise na jako dopadljiv nacin, ima lepe opise i drzi paznju do samog kraja.

  • Daniel
    2019-06-01 13:21

    As can be confirmed from the recently released biography of Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man, The Favourite Game is a semi- autobiographical work. Humour is something most people don’t associate with Leonard Cohen but this book has it (mostly in the first part). What I first found striking about the book was the short chapters, more like vignettes almost like poems connecting the dots of the story. Not having grown up in 1950’s Canada I can only guess that Cohen’s depiction of it during Breavman’s childhood was on the mark. I found the main characters discovery of sexuality particularly interesting and how educators at the time hid essential facts behind meaningless trivia; e.g. ‘A single sperm is one thousand times smaller than this [.].’ The characters in this book don’t come to life easily, it is as if they have a soul but it is just half alive and thus do not jump off the page. Cohen’s writing commands a powerful atmosphere at times, however this is not constant, it merely comes and goes. Cohen is a master of subtlety, I was most impressed with his description of a masturbation session (chapter 19), without once mentioning the word masturbation or anything blatantly related to it. At the time of writing The Favourite Game, Cohen was 28 or 29, however his recall of the frustrations experienced by many adolescent boys that girls their own age develop faster and thus prefer to date older males appears very fresh. Throughout the novel Cohen writes a lot about the body in both similes, metaphors and descriptions. It is clear that the body has held high significance for Cohen throughout his life and writings. Pick from any section of Cohen’s writing life; poetry, the novels or lyrics and you will find various homages to the human body especially the female form. He worships it like a religion.The book raised two incredibly fascinating and essential questions in the examination of life and ourselves. Can some things about ourselves be too deep for us to discover? And. Can we only just ever scratch the surface of who we are?In book I Cohen depicts the crumbling of a once passionate relationship in to passive aggressive onesupmanship. With lots of subtle attacks from each partner regarding various grievances the other harbours, such as Breavman’s short story about how Tamara can make him feel so worthless. Cohen also notes the mild longing for aspects of ones single life which were given up to facilitate relationships, such as the wish for solitude or not needing to compromise as much. He writes from the true perspective of one who has experienced such a trauma; it is clear that Cohen has been very emotionally vulnerable and damaged in this area of his life. I found this part of the story a very though pill to swallow because I have been through very similar experiences myself, experiences which I didn’t wish to remember.In parts Breavman’s character reminded me greatly of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Grey because he seemed to be on a one-way road to emotional disaster and ignoring the warning signs, this was extremely frustrating for me to read. The issue of Breavman and his mother is a horrible one, it angered me to see him abandon and constantly disrespect her and eventually drive her insane. Breavman is not a person I would like to be friends with. The themes are very bitter indeed, it is almost a textbook on how to hurt those you love. Which is in line with Cohen's later work; “All I ever learnt from love is have to shoot somebody who outdrew you.” When I got to book III I began to lose interest in the story because it proceeded down a path I found to be very foreign, gritty and grotesque in parts, I simply could not identify with the character of Breavman anymore (not that identifying with the character is everything). The voice of the book 50 years on from its publication remains a youthful one with no apparent aged tone to its text, eventually the tone will of course freeze and remain in a fixed period of history. I believe the timeless themes of adolescence, relationships and self-discovery are to the books credit that it doesn’t appear too dated. Cohen himself said “If you hold an artist special to you, you will appreciate their early work as well as latter work.” when I started reading this book I found myself slightly pressured to like this book because Cohen is my number one favourite artist. Luckily I managed to dispel this feeling and became unbiased in my judgement of this work. It was not an easy read but it is rewarding nonetheless.

  • Loren
    2019-05-19 19:22

    "Shell was genuinely fond of him. She had to resort to that expression when she examined her feelings. That sickened her because she did not wish to dedicate her life to a fondness. This was not the kind of quiet she wanted. The elegance of a dancing couple was remarkable only because the grace evolved from a sweet struggle of flesh. Otherwise it was puppetry, hideous. She began to understand peace as an aftermath." Out of print, bitches. Find your own copy.

  • Ilyhana Kennedy
    2019-06-12 20:32

    This book is the reason why I give less than five stars to so many others.Exquisitely written, it allows the reader an insight into the life experiences of a brutally self-involved person. The central character Breavman lives in a world of his own creation, a world of "expectation". He lurches from one whim to the next and in the process leaves a trail of relationship debris, about which he cares little.In the sheer genius of his style, Cohen redeems his protagonist from his life of arrogance and loneliness in one acute paragraph. In so doing, Cohen restores hope for the reader, hope for his protagonist, hope that all things, all people have potential for change.And this was Cohen's first novel, beautiful, crafted with an obvious intelligence and depth of perception.

  • Laura Leaney
    2019-06-07 16:21

    This book – a kind of sexual bildungsroman of the young man Leonard Breavman (Leonard Cohen) – is gorgeous and rather appalling simultaneously. To be formally accurate it’s written in the stream-of-consciousness style, but it’s bolder than that. The point of view is third person, but so close to Breavman’s consciousness as to give me the odd effect of perceiving things from two places at once. The images at the onset of the novel required some effort as I read because they leap from the death of Breavman’s father, to his best friend and sounding-board Krantz, to the games they play and stories they tell (often sexual), to his mother’s needling passive aggressiveness, to his first sexual encounters. The scenes and images miraculously coalesce into a deep understanding of Breavman’s nature. Still in school, he lives an affluent life in a Jewish suburb of Montreal. He is intellectually interesting, attracted to beauty at the linguistic and physical level, and obnoxious in his objectification of women. At one point Breavman learns the art of hypnosis and uses it on Heather, his family’s maid. “She was a husky, good-looking girl of twenty with high-coloured cheeks like a porcelain doll. Breavman chose her for his first victim of sleep. A veritable Canadian peasant.” It works. He handles her naked body, “unbuttons his fly and told her she was holding a stick [. . . ] He was intoxicated with relief, achievement, guilt, experience.” From that point on, Breavman’s sexual obsession with women becomes more profound and - for me - more exhausting.He begins a relationship with Tamara, who becomes his “mistress” for three years until he turns twenty. The scenes with her are interrupted by episodes with his mother and make for an interesting psychological effect. The sexual repetition got on my nerves but the descriptions are lovely. At one point he leaves Tamara after she falls asleep: “Her body was with him and he let a vision of it argue against his flight. I am running through a snowfall which is her thighs, he dramatized in purple. Her thighs are filling up the street. Wide as a snowfall, heavy as huge falling Zeppelins, her damp thighs are settling on the sharp roofs and wooden balconies. Weather-vanes press the shape of roosters and sail-boats into the skin. The faces of famous statues are preserved like intaglios. . . .” This vision causes him to return, and he quietly lets himself back into the apartment.Later, “He saw the most beautiful person and pursued her. Shell.” In the third part of the book sexual desire does not abate but it does (finally) deepen, intertwining itself with beauty and spirituality. His comments about Shell still jar - in that they’re constantly objectifying – but his feelings for her are convincingly like love. By the end of the book, I feel the power that women had over Leonard Cohen’s own mind and memories – and the book deepened my appreciation for his song lyrics. I am reminded of his shortest poem from Book of Longing titled “The sweetest little song”: You go your way / I’ll go your way too.”

  • Matej Vidaković
    2019-05-30 15:19

    Ne sramim se priznati kako sam "Divne gubitnike" Leonarda Cohena počinjao čitati dva puta. Prvi put sam odustao od tog aluzivnog postmodernog kaosa punog seksa, prošaptanih molitvi i pritajene želje za vječnim spasenjem. Kad sam roman, pak, uzeo drugi puta - progutao sam ga u jednom dahu. To je bilo TO. I dan-danas mi je to jedan od najdražih romana, jedan od onih čije mjesto ne možeš objasniti drugima koliko god se trudio. Kakve to veze ima sa "Omiljenom igrom" (inače, prvim Cohenovim romanom)? Baš nikakve.Što je uopće "Omiljena igra"? Žanrovski, formalno, strukturom?"Omiljena igra" je jedan od najtužnijih, samotnih monologa. "Omiljena igra" je jedan od najtužnijih romana ikada napisanih. Tužan jer progovara o uobičajenom, toliko svakodnevnom da ga više i ne primjećujemo, užasu tijela. Svatko mora imati tijelo. Tijela vječno ostaju jedna drugima strana, i mi u njima zatočeni ostajemo jedni drugima ne samo daleki, nego i osuđeni, prokleti na nedohvatljivost. Nedohvatljivost koja se ima dovršiti jednom u vječnoj kontemplaciji Zlatne Vječnosti, u naručju iz kojega smo iskoračili na ovu Zemlju."Omiljena igra" je roman koji je predivno čitati sam u svojoj malenoj studentskoj sobi, roman koji je predivno čitati u jesen pokriven dekom u svojem krevetu dok vjetar na prozore lijepi otpalo lišće koje izgleda poput raskvašenih žitnih pahuljica, roman koji je predivno čitati u bilo kojem od kafića gdje smo tražili (i još tražimo) smisao života uz šalicu kave, roman koji se može čitati na obali rijeke dok ljetno sunce na zalasku blagoslivlja grad...Roman o samoći koji se čita u samoći. I koji jest Samoća. Samoća koja se vječno širi prema Drugome, a uvijek ostaje samo Moja.

  • Mark Drew
    2019-06-18 18:12

    Lawrence Breavman, you are, in actuality, a misogynist, a user and a taker and your ultimate fate is briefly noted within the same grey colored future as you left your mother and deserted your friend and lovers.I have no real summary review of this book - what it does is remind me again of the wisdom of Shakyamuni in the Upajjhatthana Sutta:"'I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.'"'I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.' ..."'I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.' ..."'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.' ..."'I am the owner of my actions,[1] heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.'*This book is not about these remembrances, but underscores them as one reads.Having said this, this was a very hard book for me to read. I found the stream of consciousness writing to be very difficult to absorb and to be closer to poetry than to prose. It is jelled from isolated vignettes that slowly create an arching narrative of a not very likeable individual who uses his genius as both a cudgel and as a means to isolation. *("Upajjhatthana Sutta: Subjects for Contemplation" (AN 5.57), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 3 July 2010,

  • Jade
    2019-06-11 20:35

    One of the most beautifully and well written books I've ever read. Breavman by all normal reasons is not the most likeable character; he is selfish, uses people for his own ideals and stuck in his own adolescent immaturity and naivety. However, in this snapshot of his life Cohen creates a poetry around Breavmen with an almost childlike fasination in things. Where Breavman emotional abuses young women to admire them as one would pictures upon a wall, this is done with such poetic licence that although you know you should hate the character, you just can't help becoming wrapped up in his fantasies. Breavmans particular relationship with a child within the book also adds to the character's inner greatness as Breavman tends to see wonder in the uniqueness in others, rather than trying to make them confirm with the norm. It is also the moment when this pure invidivual is killed off (and thus in Breavman's mind rejected by the normal world) that he realises once and for all that he would rather be a world observer, occassionally disturbing the waters surface, than play a part in a world so removed from his own ideals. He wants to love, but is not a lover, he wants to have faith in others, yet not be faithful.I think this is a book to be recommended to all, one which any individual could learn something from.

  • Sophia Park
    2019-06-07 13:16

    I was talking with my philosophy teacher about stream-of-consciousness fiction. We both agreed it was a frustrating format, because, as he put it, "it was too self-indulgent."Enter Leonard Cohen, brilliant poet and musician. His books are blatantly too much of a good thing -- because if you want 330 pages of his poetic comparisons, you must have some kind of infinite tolerance. It took forever to finish because it was just so odd to go through; it was vaguely chronological, but felt almost above my comprehension, like some kind of theme was lost on me.Sure, the message clicked -- leaving impressions on people and continuing on again is his Game -- but it felt like I spent too long hearing about Leonard's (or Laurence's) sex life, from experimentation at the age of eleven(? eleven?) to his continual casual 'meets' as he grows older.He doesn't even feel bad about breaking hearts or using women, beyond Wanda -- is she just innocent, so it's different? -- so he doesn't exactly come off as likable. Just quiet, insightful, sexual. Honestly, if you really want to read this, go for it...but don't expect a mind-shattering read. It doesn't compare to Salinger at all (the first betrayal of the back cover).

  • AnaVlădescu
    2019-06-07 14:38

    It isn't often we meet someone who has the same vision of what we might be as we have for ourselves. I have really enjoyed this work. Cohen seems to write prose the same way he would write poetry, but without pressing Enter at the end of a line. I liked the main character and his struggles and I loved the way the book seemed easier to read in the beginning, harder in the middle, and then easy again towards the end, because that speaks volumes about a character's life. I enjoy Cohen's poems (and songs) more than his prose, but he is still a very good writer and defines his worlds very nicely with the (sometimes surprising) use of words. The only problem with this work is that the last 30 pages or so seem to be very hastily written - I haven't felt like a conclusion had been drawn, but I also didn't feel like a full open end was before me. Maybe that was the author's desire, but as a reader I felt the last pages lacked in the same gravity as the rest of the book. Apart from that, very happy to have picked this up.

  • Valerie
    2019-05-24 18:22

    A few years ago, I read Beautiful Losers and was impressed by its beauty. It took me a while to come to Leonard's other novel, because sometimes when a poet you love has written only two novels, you want to take your time to be finished with his literature. Now that I had a bit of spare time I came to the Favourite Game, and it fed me, I was dry inside and didn't know it, and it gave me poetic energy and the desire to write again, and I did. I think that the most beautiful books deliver inspiration, they make the reader an artist, he opens his eyes on the beauty of the universe, and understands that the little things that kept him out of beauty are unecessary and ugly.To be more pragmatic, this novel is composed in semi autobiographic poetic skectches that give you keys to where Leonard Cohen's poetry comes from. It's so beautiful one should read it outloud ! I wish all the novels and books of the world were like that, that would save us from meaningless readings.

  • Stacy LeVine
    2019-06-06 19:40

    This book is imperfect. Immature. It's a misogynist screed in search of the novel within it. At times, the book utterly infuriated me. (At many times, actually.) Most of the time, it turned me on in a guilty sort of way. I don't like the feeling of arousal during my morning commute, and I never lusted for the narrator. If anything, I yearned to smack his face.But, ultimately, I really like this little scrap of early Leonard Cohen. It brought me as close to my own mother's experience of growing up Jewish in Montreal as I can ever hope to get. Thanks, Breavman, for that.

  • Eggsovergreasy
    2019-05-21 15:21

    I tired to read this book for a second time and again I couldn't make it past the first 10 pages. Leonard Cohen is one of my top 5 favorite music list, but I don't like his prose at all.All of the literature in the James Joyce style of "steam of consciousness" or whatever you call it... when the text tries to confuse you... no, it doesn't cut it with me. Though I can't say Cohen's text in this book was incoherent... you just get the feeling immediately that it's more about the writer than about telling a story the reader will be enriched by.

  • Brian Baker
    2019-05-25 12:25

    Ok, I only got halfway through this so maybe it's a bit unfair to give it a one-star rating, but I couldn't sustain my interest in this book. It's a good job he took up music in my opinion - a three minute drone is pleasant enough, but over a hundred pages of it palls horribly. Sincerely B. Baker

  • Susan Armstrong
    2019-05-29 18:26

    longest read ever of a short book. The Globe and Mail compared it to Catcher in the Rye. I think not.

  • Kristjhan
    2019-05-26 16:24

    Some pretty incredible imagery and language unfortunately mired by misogyny in what is essentially a young man's coming of age story established around an enumeration of his sexual conquests.

  • Melissa D'andrea
    2019-06-08 12:32

    I respect Leonard Cohen but I was so bored with this book and felt it lacked a plot. Didn't help that the protagonist was extremely unlikable.

  • Kelly
    2019-05-18 20:24

    It's the crapshoot of prose written by a poet: parts break your heart, other parts fail to keep your attention.

  • Chiara (Lothìriel)
    2019-05-22 14:33

    Sul retro del libro ho trovato questo commento, di Calgary Albertan, che ho letto solo chiudendolo alla fine della lettura, perché di solito snobbo le citazioni riguardo i romanzi: "Il gioco preferito è uno di quei rari libri assolutamente unici, che da soli fondano un genere".Credo che la definizione "assolutamente unici" sia la perfetta sintesi del romanzo di Leonard Cohen. E' stata una lettura strana, altalenante, che all'inizio non era riuscita a coinvolgermi e a prendermi, ma che non ha mai smesso di incuriosirmi, nella particolare impaginazione, nei pensieri del protagonista che venivano citati come fossero poesie, negli estratti di canzoni. C'era qualcosa che mi spingeva ad andare avanti, per scoprire l'evoluzione del personaggio, della sua vita, quasi con la speranza, in realtà, che potesse giungere qualcosa a cambiarlo, a farlo sentire completo. Non credo di essere riuscita a comprendere pienamente Lawrence Breavman, il protagonista, come pure ho come il timore che lo stesso romanzo mi sfugga nella sua essenza. E' una sensazione strana: sentire di aver incontrato "quell'irresistibile e misteriosa forza dell'attrazione erotica e amorosa che lega uomini e donne al loro essere più profondo e più vero" di cui ci preannunciava la terza di copertina, e al tempo stesso sentire tutto sfuggire via, come i granelli di sabbia che si cercano di trattenere in un pugno. Senza parole, alla fine della lettura, con la sensazione che ne sia valsa la pena di scoprire qualcosa di nuovo sul cantautore.E' un romanzo che non si riesce a raccontare, ma che va vissuto, pagina dopo pagina, scena dopo scena.

  • Intortetor
    2019-05-30 13:31

    e così un editore rifiutò all'epoca questo "il gioco preferito" definendolo "una prolungata e noiosissima storia d'amore di cohen con se stesso".mica aveva tutti i torti. intendiamoci, quella che fa leonard cohen non è narrativa: è poesia, e come ogni poeta cohen, tramite il suo quasi doppio lawrence breavman, cerca la bellezza ovunque, nell'amicizia, nei momenti che fissano per sempre nella memoria l'adolescenza, nelle donne, nella loro bellezza e nel loro mistero, nella musica, nella divina follia dei giochi di un bambino autistico, in quello che lo circonda e -in definitiva- anche in tutto il resto. perchè cohen -come diceva del se stesso bambino un altro cantautore, stavolta italiano- "si innamorava di tutto", e in quel tutto certamente e sopra tutto c'era anche se stesso. ma è solo un modo come un altro per dire che era innamorato della vita.bel romanzo? no, ha dei momenti che ti annoiano a morte e delle volte vorresti che cohen/breavman si spostasse e ti lasciasse vedere il resto della storia: ma è il prezzo da pagare per quelle pagine in cui la poesia ti travolge. che è una cosa che potrebbe irritare tantissimi, e non a torto, così come potrebbe trovare i suoi estimatori pronti a difenderla in tutto e per tutto.comunque meglio le canzoni, davvero.

  • Rosemarie
    2019-05-31 17:36

    This is the coming of age story of Lawrence Breavman, the son of bourgeois parents from Westmount. Lawrence struggles to find his way between the women in his life and his poetry. As I read the book, I could see from the lyrical descriptions of the city of Montreal the deep love he felt for the place he called home.

  • Aries
    2019-06-08 18:28

    Di solito si vorrebbe sempre parlare bene degli autori che ci piacciono o addirittura amiamo e, proprio per questo, l'occhio può tendere a essere più benevolo rispetto ad altri che ci sono sconosciuti.Leonard Cohen è, per quanto mi riguarda, un grandissimo artista con una capacità unica di esprimere immagini ed emozioni in musica; ammetto, però, che fino a pochi anni fa ignoravo totalmente il fatto che prima di comporre e cantare avesse intrapreso (o tentato) la strada della scrittura, attraverso due romanzi e parecchi libri di poesie.Ho fatto la "scoperta" leggendone la biografia qualche anno fa e da allora mi era rimasta in mente l'idea di procurarmi i romanzi e dar loro una possibilità.Qualcosa, però, mi frenava (disponibilità a parte): dalla biografia, mi risultava piuttosto evidente che il Cohen "giovane", quello che ancora non aveva iniziato a suonare e che puntava a una carriera esclusivamente scritta, fosse stato un personaggio che difficilmente avrei trovato affine; una di quelle persone molto centrate su loro stesse, sulla propria arte (più o meno presente) sui propri desideri e capricci.Una persona, insomma, che non mi sarebbe affatto piaciuto conoscere.I suoi romanzi, venni a sapere, erano comunque in buona parte autobiografici e la somma dei due aspetti non mi spronava più di tanto.Alla fine, però, la curiosità ha avuto la meglio e ho provato a leggere "il gioco perfetto", prima delle sue due opere di prosa.Che dire?Avevo ragione.Il romanzo vorrebbe raccontare parte della crescita del protagonista, evidente alter ego dell'autore, tramite capitoli molti brevi scritti a mo' di flusso di coscienza: non si sa mai quando si svolgono le cose, non si sa cosa succede di preciso, non si sa quanto hanno i protagonisti mentre succede, non si sa cosa accade prima e cosa accade dopo.Non solo, il flusso di coscienza è una tecnica veramente pericolosa, perché deve permettere al lettore di inserirvisi all'interno e in qualche modo lasciarsi trasportare: basta poco, una mancanza di affinità, qualche divagazione di troppo, una sfumatura sbagliata, per scacciare il lettore dal flusso e lasciarlo a riva a guardare scorrere questa massa di parole senza poterle intaccare.La sensazione che ho provato io con questo romanzo è stata spesso questa.Raramente mi è capitato un libro in cui riuscissi a empatizzare tanto poco coi personaggi, protagonista in primis, a cui mi verrebbe voglia di dare qualche scarpata quasi da subito e fino alla fine: un personaggio irritante, presuntuoso, egoista e spesso tendenzialmente misogino o maschilista, che finisce per avvicinarsi alle persone esclusivamente a proprio uso e consumo.Anche una scena che, in altri contesti, mi avrebbe commosso e fatto provare dolore, mi ha lasciato completamente indifferente per il modo in cui è stata presentata e gestita.Rappresentativa, comunque, del tipo di peronsaggio è una scena verso la fine del romanzo (non è classificabile come spoiler, non è possibile fare spoiler per un libro come questo).Lui chiama una donna di cui dice di essere innamorato, le chiede di sposarlo, ma anche di aspettarlo perché la raggiungerà subito a New York.Lei, che ormai lo conosce, gli risponde "sei sicuro di venire? Perché io non ho alcuna voglia di aspettarti più se non sei certo di venire".Lui la riassicura.Lei accetta e gli dà la buonanotte, poi mette giù.Un istante dopo lui decide che nella telefonata "aveva esaurito le emozioni che lo avevano spinto a chiamarla. Non aveva bisogno di andare a New York".Un attimo prima le chiede di sposarla, un attimo dopo ha esaurito le emozioni.Tutto è dovuto, tutto è accettabile, tutti devono perdonare e capire perché lui è così.Tutti, tranne me, che, ripeto, l'avrei preso a badilate.Alcuni personaggi secondari, invece, sarebbero stati anche interessanti, ma purtroppo non c'è approfondimento nei loro confronti, tranne il poco necessario alla gravitazione intorno al protagonista.Mi fa molto male scrivere queste cose perché, senza contraddirmi, Cohen sa usare eccome le parole e lo sappiamo dalle sue canzoni e dalle sue poesie: ci sono diversi paragrafi, nel romanzo, che presi a loro stanti rappresenterebbero delle splendide citazioni.Un romanzo, però, non è un componimento poetico, non è una canzone e non è una raccolta di citazioni e questo libro, come romanzo, si riesce quasi a salvare solo per le capacità linguistiche dell'autore.Ho letto in una recensione che questo libro è stato scritto per lo scrittore, non per i lettori: mi sento di concordare appieno.Dopo tutto questo dovrebbe essere scontato che io non lo consigli affatto, però non è del tutto vero. C'è chi lo adorerà (e su Goodreads è pieno di persone che gli hanno dato quattro o cinque stelle) per gli stessi motivi per cui ho fatto fatica a sopportarlo io.Lascio a voi la scelta.Io, la mia, l'ho fatta: il prossimo romanzo (che avevo comprato insieme a questo) aspetterà un bel po': dicono che sia molto migliore, ma preferisco aspettare e digerire questo.

  • Patrick
    2019-06-03 13:18

    Disclaimer: I'm a huge Leonard Cohen fan. He's my favorite musician, by far. Just letting the bias be known. Hence my praise, despite some of my qualms with this book. Because his words break me with their beauty.Here, Cohen is the ultimate poetic voyeur. He commits the common iniquity of regarding women as Mystery, simply because they are women, rather than individual, complicated people whose perspectives and inner lives are as real and valid as his own. It's a sin most Surrealists fall into also: Woman as Object of Worship, as if the worship factor excuses the object factor. It doesn't. How Cohen saves himself is that in this work, his main character is not only voyeur, he's also the ultimate solipsist- regarding only himself as having any real agency. And here's where I forgive him this sin, for he does it with all persons, not just women. And in doing so, it's the characters surrounding Lawrence Breavman (yes, Cohen) that end up feeling like real people. Breavman's dialogue is so abstracted that it doesn't feel like he could be a real person. Real people don't talk this way. But wait. Then you listen to a Leonard Cohen interview. Cohen does talk this way. He speaks almost in poetry, not prose. It's very peculiar, but consistent. So, of course his novels come out like this.Cohen acknowledges that this solipsism affects those around Breavman, but the character keeps falling back into it, unable to break the cycle of thinking he's had since he was a child. This is culminated in a moment where he lists his lovers, and his defining characteristics of them. Besides the introduction of a character rather late in the book, who I can't really discuss without spoilers, one of the few times Breavman seems to break out of his solipsist cycle is when he is, in fact, being a voyeur:She changed her position, drawing the white sheet tight along the side of her body, so that her waist and thigh seemed to emerge out of rough marble. He had no comparisons. It wasn't just that the forms were perfect, or that he knew them so well. It was not a sleeping beauty, everybody's princess. It was Shell. It was a certain particular woman who had an address and the features of her family. She was not a kaleidoscope to be adjusted for different visions. All her expressions represented feelings. When she laughed it was because. When she took his hand in the middle of the night it was because. She was the reason. Shell, the Shell he knew, was the owner of the body. It answered her, was her. It didn't serve him from a pedestal. He had collided with a particular person. Beautiful or not, or ruined with vitriol tomorrow, it didn't matter. Shell was the one he loved. (pg. 149)Now, a parting thought. In his song and verse, Cohen's words often read like Jewish scripture, particularly like the Psalms. I think this is intentional. I think much of his work could stand alongside, or even conquer, the beauty and sadness of the Psalms; or the eroticism of the Song of Solomon. No doubt he and Solomon must've had a similar amount of lovers to write about.

  • Adam
    2019-05-18 18:13

    Cohen's prose is generous yet contained, and so exquisitely evocative and sensual that reading The Favourite Game in a short period of time, as I did, in just over five hours, begins to feel much like the hours-long embrace of passionate young lovers, punctuated by fevered outbursts of raw sexuality. Putting the book down, at its end, feels like one last tight hug and tender kiss at a door, before the young lovers lose one another for an unthinkable, no matter how short, time. The easy way to talk about Cohen's debut novel is to speak of it as somewhat autobiographical. While Cohen and Breavman may share several details of their lives, it's just not very useful to concentrate on such things while talking about this novel. Breavman may not be a very likable character, and Cohen frequently writes him in a sort of wistfully satirical tone, less viciously critical than regretfully sad, but he is a complex and rich character. The novel, though mostly written in a third-person voice, also seems to be mostly from the perspective of Breavman, and as such, the oddly... biased? One-dimensional? characterization of most of the other characters in The Favourite Game makes logical and emotional sense. The obvious comparisons to Catcher in the Rye and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man aren't misguided, but they're still pointless. Does it matter that Breavman is similar to Caulfield, except more grown up for much of this novel's length? Do we have to compare this book to the most well-known example of its genre? These comparisons weaken the case for The Favourite Game to be taken seriously in its own right as an important debut novel and not the side project of a poet who moonlit as a novelist in the 1960's.Indeed, outside of Canada, this novel doesn't appear to be widely studied at all. It has a lot of interesting things to say, indirectly and not confrontationally, about issues of Canadian identity and character, and remains astonishingly relevant and true so many years after it was written. It remains one of the great urban Canadian novels in a literary scene so famed and praised for its rural literature, a literature which denies the reality of (by far) most Canadians' lives. Still, much of the novel is universal in its relevance. The emphasis on ethnic identity, the sensuality, the obsessions which take over Brevman's poetic psychology are all cross-cultural. Montreal Jews in the fifties may well be a number of other ethnic groups in a number of other places. Breavman's sexuality and his obsessions are nakedly, brazenly put into words by Cohen. It is one of the most honest novels around about what goes through the minds of young men. All of the silliness and stupidity of these thoughts, the rationalized vulgarity, the brazen animal sexuality tempered by social expectations. While Breavman's characterization is reasonably captivating, especially in the character's balancing act between tendencies to destruction and preservation, and Cohen maintains a very high level of authorial craftsmanship throughout the novel, what I keep coming back to in my head is the prose, which is why I think that anyone who hasn't read this novel ought to read it. If written by a less confident and talented author, The Favourite Game may not have been all that good. The substance of the novel is only as good as its expression, especially in this case, where Cohen's stupid honesty and sincerity threatens frequently to fall into self-parody and unsuitable ridiculousness, but always stays on the right side of that line, even during Breavman's frequent praisings of the thighs of his lovers, or his fevered archaeological excavations of his lovers' bodies. Oh, and the book's pretty funny, too.

  • Hamish
    2019-06-10 15:35

    Really liked it the first time I read it, but I have more mixed feelings now. There are some really beautiful passages, and others that scream 'this is my first novel'. Most of the really good ones are at the beginning, when Our Protagonist is a kid, and then to a lesser extent again at the end. Cohen links some images and rapidly jumps chronologically in a way that creates this really effective choppiness. But as it progresses he gets more showy in a way that isn't as effective, and so much of it feels like pretention and showing off. If an author tries something showy and succeeds, then you just think of it as a good passage, not as something ostentatious. But if they fail, then not only is it an awkward passage, but it also calls attention to the author's showiness, which is an additional strike against them. But if individual passages don't succeed, there's still the narration style, which is clever and smart and admirable (though it also creates a distance between the reader and the characters and I think Cohen intended to do the opposite). There are a lot of shortcomings, but they don't completely mar the beauty of a lot of the writing. It's frustrating, but it has its rewards.I think that if this book wasn't by the Leonard Cohen who we all love for his work in a different art form (and god knows I love him. Certainly I love him enough to pony up way too much money to watch him hide behind a way too professional band for three hours. Twice.), this book would probably have faded into history. Not because it's not good, but because there are a lot of novels like this and few enter any kind of canon (even one as desperate to bestow canonization as the Canadian canon). But thanks to his musical success, there will always be lots of hungry fans (like me) picking this one up.

  • Michael
    2019-05-21 19:27

    Lawrence Breavman is a child, then a youth, then something a little older. Lawrence Breavman is a student, a lover, a seeker. But mostly Lawrence Breavman is just really fucking intense.The novel unfolds in discrete imagistic scenes. The writing's very, forlackofabetterword, poetic: it reaches constantly and often ostentatiously toward beauty, transcendence, etc. There's a bit of a tendency to aphorism, with results that are pretty if not always earned. Beauty, achieving beauty, holding on to beauty: these are the preoccupations of the novel, in which 'beauty' is a term used with the utmost sincerity and importance. (Women exist throughout primarily as receptacles, sometimes unwitting sometimes complicit, of beauty.)Noteworthy for me: the language, the familiar settings (80% of the novel's set around Montreal or Columbia!), and of course the famous author -- the facts of Breavman's life (Montreal, Jew, absent mother, McGill, poet/musician, Columbia) are uh somewhat reminiscent of a certain L.C. I often felt myself hoping that it wasn't as autobiographical as it seemed, since Breavman is -- like most intense, brooding lovers -- a bit of an asshole. The vividness by which Breavman justifies his periodic dickishness was, for me, both the best feature of the novel (some gorgeous images, a sense of beauty as a real thing, apt to leap out of the quotidian and ravish us) and its worst (the goyishe fantasia of Shell, unwarranted leaps into impassioned abstraction).

  • Dan
    2019-05-28 13:33

    A novel of dialogue and memory in which a young man tells his lover about his experiences growing up in Montreal. Some of those experiences seem embarrassingly intimate, and even if the young man does not tell his lover about them, the third person narrator describes them for us, the readers. The narrator mentions “scars” early in the novel and this suggests a possible metaphor for the text, which combines sexual experimentation, violence and adolescent consciousness in a way that frequently seems uncomfortable and awkward; this, however, is likely deliberate, as the narrator often views the protagonist ironically, from the perspective of one who is older and wiser. To some extent, Cohen’s approach emulates the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, an enfant terrible who suggested cultivating warts on one’s face. In subject and in style the book imitates James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as well: it is a kunstlerroman, tracing the developing consciousness of a young man with artistic ambitions. The technique of the first part of the book is particularly reminiscent of the early pages of Joyce’s Portrait: the narrator does not represent the cause and effect links between events but employs a fragmented form and vivid imagery to reproduce dialogues and the protagonist’s memories.

  • Lucas Rafael
    2019-06-06 17:30

    A Brincadeira Favorita é um livro envolvente, que incomoda e instiga com sua narrativa caótica e poética.A misoginia que citei anteriormente é menos um ódio e mais uma adoração do feminino provinda do medo do personagem por conhecer a si mesmo, que o leva a mergulhar em corpos e versos, cada qual se retroalimentando e fortalecendo suas delusões e desilusões.Essa aspecto egoísta se apresenta até para com o amigo que, tendo crescido, deixou de atender às suas expectativas de conversas espirituosas, a única coisa que realmente o interessava nele. Desprovido do cinismo e do trágico, tornou-se descartável.Um vez encarado enfim pelo amor, fugiu, e não se importando com sua contraparte, apegou-se à idealização da mesma, como uma memória, e como se ela ainda estivesse lá, como um porto seguro para o qual poderia voltar, ou ao menos se enganar de que poderia.É um livro sobre uma adolescente que cresce e busca se esconder de todas as formas de quem poderia ter se tornado.

  • Greta
    2019-05-28 16:39

    "She went to sleep and he opened his eyes in the black and his room was never emptier or a woman further away. He listened to her breathing. It was like the delicate engine of some cruel machine spreading distance after distance between them. Her sleep was the final withdrawal, more perfect than anything she could say or do. She slept with a deeper grace than that with which she moved."~~~~~~~"Here is my poem for you.I don’t know you, Anne.I don’t know you, Anne.I don’t know you, Anne."~~~~~~~I have a feeling that I might like Cohen's prose better than his poetry. Can't wait to get my hands on Beautiful Losers.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-16 13:39

    This could get a little gushy...Being a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, imagine my joy when Jade found this book at the library. Imagine also my nervousness at starting it - would it meet my (very high) expectations or would I struggle to find something to admire? It felt a little like a first date.It seems fitting then that, once embarked upon, the experience of reading this felt like a wonderful seduction, each word chosen with such care, that had me falling in love with Leonard all over again. A coming of age tale that feels very autiobiographical, each glimpse at a fragment of Lawrence Breavman's life feels like an intimate secret. Like his songs, this is full of many wonderful lines that reach out and grab you with a power that, for me, few others can match ("Seven to eleven is a huge chunk of life, full of dulling and forgetting [...:] As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.") This is immensely readable and highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of his fabulous songs.

  • Dane Cobain
    2019-06-09 12:15

    Not to be confused with the (quite frankly awesome) song of the same name by The Cardigans, The Favourite Game is singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's first novel, and boy, does it set a high standard. In fact, I'm inclined to think of it as Cohen's best, and it's certainly my personal favourite.It's also a difficult book to classify - Cohen's fluid prose often resembles poetry in its style and form, and there are elements of the manuscript that are autobiographical. It has a story behind it, too - unknown and broke in 1959, Cohen was awarded a $2,000 grant which he lived on while working on the novel. Just think - if it wasn't for that grant and for Cohen's innovative writing, we'd be living in a world without Hallelujah, Tower of Song and a whole host of other Cohen classics.For me, The Favourite Game stands out from Cohen's other works because of the strong characterisation and the way in which Lawrence Breavman so accurately reflects the young author's own struggle for love, success and excitement. In many ways, it's also a love story to rival Romeo & Juliet - in the blurb's own words, "although [Breavman] has loved the bodies of many women, it is only in the arms of Shell that he discovers the potent totality of love and its demands."So if you're looking in to Cohen's literary output, whether you're a fan of his music or not, there's no better place to start than The Favourite Game - it might be his first novel, but it's also his best.

  • Anne-Marie Chicoine
    2019-06-10 20:36

    "One day what he did to her would enter his understanding with such a smash of guilt that he would sit motionless for days, until others carried him and medical machines brought him back to speech. But that was not today."And that was not this novel. It was a story of hurt and carelessness. Breavman stomped from Montreal to New York to the Laurentians with no considerations for the women he was using and with a determination to sever all of his ties with the things he loved, desperate to disconnect. This might not be the best read if you are attached the character of Leonard Cohen. There is a an horrible chapter in which the alter-ego protagonist hypnotizes a woman and takes advantages of her sexually and it really put me off.

  • Jodi Lu
    2019-05-19 20:41

    I love Leonard Cohen so much, but not so much that he can do no wrong, and he does some wrong here. There is stunning poetry in this prose, as you'd expect (or maybe you'd expect nothing of a short paperback it took me over two YEARS to finish), but it's VERY heavy-handed (as one might also expect). When you are enjoying the sting of being artfully hit, he hits you again too soon, too much, too deliberately, and then you get calloused, and dizzy, and disinterested ultimately. It is very good, but only in verses. "A community is an alibi for the failure of individual love" -p212.

  • Thomas Olsen
    2019-05-30 13:12

    En bog jeg er lidt i tvivl om. Jeg tror den får en stor del af sin værdi ud fra det kendskab, jeg har til den senere Cohens tekstunivers. Hvis jeg ser på den alene er det en slags beat-bog og en dannelsesroman med fokus på kroppen. Hovedpersonen er ikke specielt sympatisk, og det tror jeg er meningen (den skulle jo være delvist selvbiografisk). Vi følger ham fra barn til ung og følger ikke mindst hans krop og seksuelle erobringer. Han kæmper sort set for hvordan han kan få tilfredsstillelse samtidig med at han bevarer gnisten og mystikken ved erobringen. Bogen er godt skrevet og har af og til skarpe beskrivelser og skarpe sentenser, som får en til at tænke på L Cohen. Man kunne citere flere steder. Fx "Ved du hvad der er vores ærgerrighed, Wanda? Vi vil alle sammen gerne være mystikere, der bor i stråtækte hytter, men alligevel boller tit."Jeg foretrækker nok Cohens senere lyriske univers hvor han mestrer det nedtonede, tvetydige. Jeg tror det er ham der engang har sagt, at en sang skal have plads mellem linierne. Det her er noget helt andet, og jeg føler ikke det hæver sig over en (anden) beatbog fra tiden (og de er ikke nødvendigvis særlig gode). Begyndelse og slutningen er bedst. Barndommen er fint skildret, og i slutningen ender hovedpersonen som lejrleder på en sommerskole hvor der bla er placeret en autistisk dreng (Martin), hvad der kommer nogle rigtig fine beskrivelser ud af. Så ja ... det er en fin bog og den fortjener mere 4 end 3. Det er et tilfælde jeg læste den på dansk, jeg stødte simpelthen tilfældigvis på den på biblioteket. Men jeg er overbevist om, at Arne Herløv Petersen har gjort et godt arbejde, sproget flyder virkelig godt - gad vide om originalen egentlig er lige så godt skrevet, tænkte jeg somme tider. Så er det en meget stærk debut.

  • Ilmatte
    2019-06-02 14:27

    ho fatto fatica a leggerlo. e non ho capito perché fin quasi alla fine: mi piaceva, era intenso e pensieroso, problematico come piace a me. troppo, ecco. i pensieri di un capitolo concentrati in una frase per volta, compressi. per leggerlo veramente ci vuole la concentrazione di dieci pagine in ogni riga, e io così faccio fatica.come dopo aver letto troppo coupland, mi sono convinto che c'è qualcosa di malinconico, nel canada. un paese troppo grande per avere un'unica anima, con le città troppo concentrate intorno a centri storici ombelicali, riferiti a un'europa che non c'è più, con la fatica perenne di non sembrare americani, e un legame ombelicale alla matrigna europa. invidia e malinconia. aggiungi uno scrittore ebreo che ha perso la wiz ma ha tenuto l'animo errabondo, poeta e amante di donne perdute sul fronte del porto di montreal.suzanne takes you downto her place near the riveryou can hear the boats go byyou can spend the nigt beside herand you know that he's half crazybut that's why you want to be there

  • Ari
    2019-06-16 14:36

    "Overall a nice read"Hectic work commitment and schedule had pulled me away from enjoying a work of fiction for quite a long while. The Favourite Game was a great re-introduction to reading, my long time passion. The beautiful first chapter tasted like poetry, rich and delicate. A novel by a poet, I was impressed. Then the book took a different turn. It had become a coming of age story following the common journey of sexual exploration by the main character with indeterminate personality. Just when I was about to be disappointed, bringing to the forefront of my mind the negative reviews I read before, the story has thankfully transformed itself once again. Along with the plot of the central character's best friend leaving him to another place to work, in parallel, Leonard Cohen had all of a sudden allowed all his characters to be more concrete and with life. A much more gripping story until the end. It was overall a nice read. I was glad that I came across this nice work.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-08 20:21

    I understand this was the second of Leonard Cohen's pre fame(well at the level he would be known) and one I found in a charity shop quite recently.It is quite difficult reading a novel by someone known so much for another discipline without comparing the two but as Cohen's background was poetry and as a musician he still remained amongst our more literate performers this just feels like a welcome addition to the Canon of work he left.In style it is unmistakably Cohen inasmuch as it is a very personal type of fiction but intentionally or not (and every great artist would have some influences all the same) I was out in mind of Henry Miller's better works or to a degree Jack Kerouac.It's a story that shifts and incorporates friendships,muses, love and family and really a synopsis of the plot would make it seem pedestrian...but it's anything but given that it's so well written with biographical insights peppered throughout.All in all a book I'm glad I chanced upon.

  • John
    2019-06-15 17:15

    Oh my God I hated this book. It was so obnoxious. I picked it up because I am looking for novels set in Montreal, and I thought, hey, Leonard Cohen wrote a novel? I like Leonard Cohen. I had to remind myself a lot that I like Leonard Cohen. Pretty much the whole book I was thinking I hated Leonard Cohen, and then reminding myself that he was in his 20s, he was so young, he decided to concentrate on music, he made the right decision. The trouble is, the main character is clearly supposed to be Cohen. I mean, his name is Lawrence Breavman, and he's a poet. And he is just so incredibly obnoxious. All he does is wander around, feeling self important, and screwing over anybody who gets close to him. Seriously. It's worse than Philip Roth. In fact, now I'm wondering if Roth ripped off Cohen with Portnoy's Complaint and no one noticed because Americans don't read Canadian novels.

  • Jo
    2019-06-07 19:27

    Read this over the holiday weekend, which was good as I think it would have been a bit of a struggle without some dedicated time to allow me to keep the story alive. Not an easy read, about not very likeable characters. I was intrigued by the dust cover which described it as one of the 10 best Canadian novels of the 21st century...what are the other 9...

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-02 19:32

    This is on my bedside table because it was recommended by Alan, a bookseller at Waterstones in Islington, who seemed from his other picks to have good taste. And I've always had a soft spot for Leonard Cohen. Soft like a spreading bruise...

  • Juliano
    2019-06-14 17:21

    I love the structure of this book, with short chapters and strong ideas all over it.

  • Jann
    2019-06-05 14:30

    I read this more as an exercise as Leonard Cohen is one of my favourite singer/songwriters. The early section of the book was quite interesting but I found the latter portion was difficult. This may have been another of those books which was 'avant-garde' in 1971 but slightly passé now. It also may have appealed more to men than women.It also may be that the current climate with so many 'me too' revelations of men taking advantage of women has left me angry with the way some men treat women. Even if Lawrence Breavman, in the book, had willing partners, he treated them like objects to be used at his pleasure. The book's cover says this is a 'poetic, tender journey into manhood'. I did not see it that way at all.

  • Maria Hardie
    2019-06-06 17:20

    Little happens. One of many books with rich shallow character who can't make relationships. Just for a on about bodies. Rubbish. Like Leonard's music & voice though.