A never before published work by Leonard Cohen called “A Ballet of Lepers” will finally be put into print. The novel was written by Cohen almost 70 years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of the musician. The book will be officially released on October 11, 2022.
The Leonard Cohen novel is 91 pages long. And the book also comes with 15 short stories that the singer also wrote. The collection was assembled by Cohen scholar Alexandra Pleshoyano.
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Robert Kory, trustee of the Leonard Cohen family trust, told the Guardian, “Leonard said before his death that his life’s true masterwork was his archive, which he kept meticulously for the benefit of fans and scholars one day to discover. I’m pleased that, with this book, his readers and listeners can begin that rich journey.”
Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82 in November 2016. He was a true lover of Israel and the Jewish people. “It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” read a statement on his Facebook page at the time. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.” The cause of death was not released but it said a memorial was planned in Los Angeles, where Cohen had lived for many years.
Leonard Cohen never relented in his support of the Jewish State, even when so many liberal Jewish celebrities attacked it. He actually performed in Israel at the height of the Yom Kipur War in 1973 when Israelis feared the worst.
From the publisher:
Before Leonard Cohen’s worldwide fame expanded to fourteen studio albums, Grammy awards, and late-career global tours, he yearned for literary stardom. The Canadian songwriter of iconic hits like “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” and “Famous Blue Raincoat” first ventured into writing in his early twenties, and in A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Other Stories, readers will discover that the magic that animated Cohen’s unforgettable body of work was present from the very beginning of his career.
The pieces in this collection, written between 1956 and 1961 and including short fiction, a radio play, and a stunning early novel, offer startling insights into Cohen’s imagination and creative process. Leonard Cohen explores themes that would permeate his later work, from shame and unworthiness to sexual desire in all its sacred and profane dimensions to longing, whether for love, family, freedom, or transcendence. The titular novel, A Ballet of Lepers—one he later remarked was “probably a better novel” than his celebrated book The Favourite Game—is a haunting examination of these elements in tandem, focusing on toxic relationships and the lengths one will go to maintain them, while the fifteen stories, as well as the playscript, probe the inner demons of his characters, many of whom could function as stand-ins for the author himself. Cohen’s work is meditative and surprising, offering playful, provocative, and penetrating glimpses into the world-weary lives of his characters, and a window into the early art of a storytelling master.