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Leaving Las Vegas Kindle Edition
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“Here is the rarest jewel, a really fine novel. It’s a magical piece of work, one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. John O’Brien has a very great talent.” —Larry Brown, author of Joe and Fay
“A tour de force—masterful and relentless. Leaving Las Vegas is the strongest and most extreme look at alcohol I’ve ever read.” —Ron Carlson, author of Return to Oakpine
“A brutal and unflinching portrait of the low life in the city of high rollers. . . . This is a beautiful and horrifying novel.” —Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City
- ASIN : B005FFPXHU
- Publisher : Grove Press; Reprint edition (December 1, 2007)
- Publication date : December 1, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 1284 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 210 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #143,888 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I expected the novel to be even more emotionally gripping and troubling than the movie was. Especially since you were reading O'Brien's actual account of his own demise. Something was missing, though. Both from the quality of the writing and the feel of his story. It felt more like reading the ramblings of a drunk that had been edited to sound sharp, and it just didn't read with the real-life emotion that I would've expected from someone in his situation. And the parenthetical interludes (which function as flashbacks) were somewhat hard to follow and often not timed in a way that made much sense.
It feels quite callous to posthumously criticizes someone's writing ability, especially a person who was already travelling well down a path of mental illness when he was writing. But I can't deny that I will continue to revisit the movie instead of the novel.
Then it goes to a California drunk, sharing his drunk drinking practices. He visits a men's club (drinking is not his ONLY interest and finds a gal. He drives to Las Vegas where he meets the 'working girl' whose stalker is her...manager.
They cohabidate until he calls some strange, she kicks him out. Nearly two weeks later he calls her, how can he see the numbers to make a phone call, or, remember her phone number? Unknown. Surreal.
Swearing, adult content.
Sera grows from a naive girl lost on the streets in Los Angeles to a smart, sexy, and increasingly independent woman working the streets in Las Vegas. I understand why Sera does what she does, and so does she.
I particularly like Ben. He is the guy you see stumbling through the shadows at 2 am. Ben is lost in the world he lives in, shunned by society, by everyone, but he is grounded in his own world. Ben has a plan and this is why his character is so powerful. His plan of drinking himself to death sounds bizarre, even downright insane, but he has every detail worked out perfectly. This is where Ben gets interesting. The fact that he donates his clothes, his furniture, his useless household items to real homeless and underprivileged people proves Ben's humility. He is a good person deep down and my moments with him in the story really make me empathize with him. One of my favorite passages is Ben's description of true love with a dancer performing at a strip club as he falls for her with her lingering kiss.
Although it may appear that the alcoholic and the prostitute are the weakest characters, the third person in the story, Sera's pimp, is actually the most troubled. Al hides behind his Mercedes, his fancy jewelry, and his false sense of control over Sera. While Sera and Ben are in the front seat of the car plummeting off the cliff with their eyes open, Al is in the backseat with his eyes closed.
John O'Brien was a wonderful author with a true ability to create living, breathing characters with his words. He died too young. I salute you. You live on through your words... -Jonathan Sturak 12/21/2011
Top reviews from other countries
LLV is told in 4 sections. Alternating between Sera, a content yet increasingly jaded hooker and Ben an alcoholic on one final bender. We also get to meet Al (unlike the movie) Sera's violent and broken former pimp who's hoping to reclaim what was his. I will admit to having a bit of trouble following the story in the beginning as I got used to O'Brien's style of writing. He tended to jump between the past and present in a pretentious manner that was very hard to keep track of. In these beginning chapters we watch Sera go about her daily routine and witness some of the harshest and most shocking moments in the book.
Section 2 traces Ben as he ties up the loose ends of his former life in California and prepares to drink himself to death in Las Vegas. Ben never makes excuses for being an alcoholic, the issue is completely irrelevant to him he just shows us what it takes to get through the day as one. With his alcoholism progressing Ben has become a time keeper; when do the bars open? When do they close? Which stores sell liquor? How much will he need to see him through the night? And how the hell did he get home? It's all quite exhausting and he knows he doesn`t have much time left. Ben now dreams of Las Vegas where he can pawn his watch because they never stop serving there. Through circumstance Ben and Sera meet in Vegas and immediately identify each other as kindred spirits. Each accepting the other for who they are and entering into a desperate and bleak relationship that you just know isn`t going to end well as neither is about to change.
This is one of those books that stays with you long after you've finished. I found myself captivated by Ben's world and all his tricks to remain as intoxicated as possible. His POV is awesome and I think Nicholas Cage was cast flawlessly in the movie as there are moments of harsh, sardonic humour that he captured perfectly.
I recently lost a dear friend to alcoholism (he was a funny, no excuses man too) and I read this book in an attempt to somehow understand why. Now that I'm finished I still don't understand why, Ben doesn't know why either, he just is. I suppose you have to admire someone who leaves this life on their own terms, however horrible they might be.