One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, Beautiful Losers is Cohen's most defiant and uninhibited work.
As imagined by Cohen, hell is an apartment in Montreal, where a bereaved and lust-tormented narrator reconstructs his relations with the dead. In that hell, two men and a woman twine impossibly and betray one another again and again. Memory blurs into blasphemous sexual fantasy—and redemption takes the form of an Iroquois saint and virgin who has been dead for three hundred years but still has the power to save even the most degraded of her suitors.
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.