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Comment: Book is in very good condition. There is no writing or highlighting, spine is tight and the pages are uncreased. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Book of Longing Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 9, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Renowned singer-songwriter Cohen also boasts a reputation as a writer for the printed page, especially in his native Canada. This capacious collection (his first since 1993's Stranger Music) compiles musings, jottings, quatrains, brief lyrics, prose meditations and offhand epigrams, along with Cohen's ink drawings and work in his own handwriting. The melancholy Cohen displays both a surface humility and an underlying self-confidence as he reflects on women (as when recalling his seduction of "the most beautiful girl/ on the religious left"), Zen doctrine, his own advancing age (Cohen turned 70 two years ago) and the legacy of the '60s. Many poems feel like his song lyrics: "Sometimes just a list/ Of my events/ Is holier than the Bill of Rights/ And more intense." The volume will get a boost from Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a documentary scheduled for theatrical release. (May)
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Review

“Book of Longing has exceptional range. It is clear yet steamy, cosmic yet private, both playful and profound.” (New York Times)

“. . .alive and contradictory. . . you should read the whole volume. . .” (LA Weekly)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006112558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061125584
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
These are just some of the themes explored by Leonard Cohen in this very excellent volume of verse.

But hold on - how do cigarettes qualify as a theme? Well perhaps they don't quite make it to the thematic level, but they do put in enough appearances to be seen as noteworthy.

Here is an excerpt from a poem entitled "The Cigarette Issue":

But what is exactly the same
is the promise, the beauty
and the salvation
of cigarettes
the little Parthenon
of an unopened pack of cigarettes

and Mumbai, like the Athens
of forty years ago
is a city to smoke in

Cohen manages to weave a smoke into his deft handling of the tension and attraction of opposites in "What Did It", which follows in its entirety...

An acquaintance told me
that the great sage
Nisargadatta Maharaj
Once offered him a cigarette,
"Thank you, sir, but I don't smoke."
"Don't smoke?" said the master,
"What's life for?"

And so it goes, dealing with life and death, love and lust, spirit and truth, and the path the author has walked in his quest for God, or G-d, as he chooses reverentially to refer to him.

While Cohen's wry humor and self deprecating detachment are at times in evidence, some verses are almost terrifying in their seriousness and immediacy. The following is from "By the Rivers Dark" which makes up the lyrics of a song by the same name on the excellent CD "Ten New Songs"...

then he struck my heart
with a deadly force
and he said, "This heart
it is not yours.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Leonard Cohen. You get tongue-in-cheek self portraits dispersed amongst words that are sometimes funny, sometimes shocking, sometimes brilliant observations and sometimes self depricating honesty that reveals the always human-ness and always unique voice of this living legend of a song writer, writer and poet, Mr. Leonard Cohen.

This guy is Interesting with a capital "I." Reason enough to check out his long awaited book of poems, drawings and essays. Another reason is that unlike most books of poetry it is 'entertaining' without sacrificing intelligence. His wry humour is laugh out loud funny in the the short essay, "The Luckiest Man in the World" and poems such as, "Never Once."

He speaks of things that matter to him: his teacher, Roshi, pine trees, G-d, women, sex, laughter, mists, women and most of all from what I see the unending mystery of "self" (and women). When that self is Leonard Cohen it is worth stopping what you are doing and reading what he has to say.

Then, if you are not familiar with Cohen's music, you are missing some of the best written lyrics and music, ever.

Enjoy,

Laurie
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone who loves Leonard Cohen's music, this book is a wonderful collection of poems, drawings, images, rants, recollections and celebrations. Some of the material is in the film called Leonard Cohen/I'm Your Man, and like the songs, the book speaks of love and loss, pain and sorrow in his inimitable, elliptical style. Fun to read and easy to pick up and put down at any point.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Leonard Cohen's Book of Longing

Aside from being a creative genius in a multitude of artistic disciplines, Leonard Cohen is an old man. And with age comes wisdom. Take for example, this stanza from "Better."

better than art
is repulsive art
which demonstrates
better than scripture
the tiny measure
of your improvement

No dummy, this guy. But then, you knew that already.

Twenty years in the making, Book of Longing [Ecco/HarperCollins]was written on southern California's Mount Baldy and in Los Angeles, Montreal and Mumbai. The author of twelve books and seventeen albums of music, this collection of poems follows his highly acclaimed 1984 publication, Book of Mercy. Containing his own wonderful, playful and provocative line drawings, Book of Longing is a celebration of one of contemporary times' best and truest flesh-and-blood examples of unlimited artistic expression.

Leonard Cohen's poetry is loaded with Bukowski's truth and simple statements, but without the ugliness. There are tons of love poems, reflections on drinking and God (oops, I mean "G-d"--he's Jewish, you know), loneliness, philosophy, aging, friendships, food, sober highs, celebrations of the body and sex, sex, sex. But it's all done with manners--a classiness Bukowski never knew-- a masculine sensitivity that's never maudlin, and a ripe, heavy, juice-laden life that few words in print have ever had the strength to carry.
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