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 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. "From the Paperback edition.