Leaving Las Vegas

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Overview

John O'Brien's books have established him as a writer who communicated the voice of the loner with blistering realness and unmistakable force. In Leaving Las Vegas, he wove a love story of incredible passion among two lost souls. In The Assault on Tony's, he unfolded a psychological drama among five drunks who spend their last days barricaded in a bar. Stripper Lessons is perhaps O'Brien's most interior and intense book, a powerful story of a man's obsessive search to belong.

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Leaving Las Vegas

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Overview

John O'Brien's books have established him as a writer who communicated the voice of the loner with blistering realness and unmistakable force. In Leaving Las Vegas, he wove a love story of incredible passion among two lost souls. In The Assault on Tony's, he unfolded a psychological drama among five drunks who spend their last days barricaded in a bar. Stripper Lessons is perhaps O'Brien's most interior and intense book, a powerful story of a man's obsessive search to belong.

In Stripper Lessons, O'Brien details the dark and simple life of Carroll, a middle-aged, unmarried, friendless man whose only joy is watching beautiful women dance. Terribly shy and unable to socially: with the people around him, Carroll's fascination with the women at his favorite club is totally innocent; his desire for them is the desire to be connected. There, he finds solace in the routine, the rules, and the predictability of the action; inside, a dollar or two will win him affection. But when his desire for a particular dancer takes him one step too far, his entire life threatens to crumble.

As he did in Leaving Las Vegas O'Brien has given life to the outcast and captured the hope and truthfulness that even the most simple lives are built on.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
O'Brien's first novel, which uses a present-tense format for immediacy and heavy-handed irony to call attention to its characters' delusions and false optimism, explores a merciless world ruled by sex and booze. Sera, a surprisingly well-paid hooker from L.A., finds making a living in the squalid streets and casinos of Las Vegas fairly simple, provided that injuries from abusive tricks do not leave permanent scars; trouble starts when Al, her former pimp, tracks her down to reassert his authority. Her initial fear of Al's notorious cruelty turns to pity, however, and she frees herself of the self-destructive love she once felt for him to begin a gentler yet equally destructive relationship with Ben, a Southern Californian who has decided that Las Vegas's perpetually open bars are the perfect place to drink himself to death. Sera cares for Ben, and her compassion elicits the reader's sympathy and hope despite Sera's dead-end occupation and Ben's steadily worsening condition. Fast-paced and violent, this saga is derivative of such chroniclers of dereliction as Charles Bukowski and Larry Brown. (May)
Library Journal
The focal character in this harsh look at the underside of Las Vegas, attractive prostitute Sera, endures much and survives. Financially astute and not displeased with life, Sera finds her equilibrium shattered after she is beaten and sodomized. Seeking solace, she falls into a real relationship with middle-aged, alcoholic Ben. While not transformed into a whore with the proverbial heart of gold, Sera finds that she does have the capacity to love. Neither morality tale nor titillating potboiler, this powerful first novel features solid character development, vivid sense of place, and much tough sex. Offering heightened or supercharged realism in the tradition of Hubert Selby Jr.'s classic Last Exit to Brooklyn ( LJ 10/15/64), it demands and deserves serious literary attention.-- James B. Hemesath, Adams State Coll. Lib., Alamosa, Col.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780922820122
  • Publisher: Watermark Press, Incorporated KS
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 5.79 (w) x 8.83 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing book

    Amazing book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2002

    O'Brien makes us care

    Never has a book or character so completely broken me down emotionally. I have never encountered a character who brought hope, sadness, sympathy, and anger all wrapped into one. O'Brien creates a character that lives in all of us, although we may not admit it, he gives us hope of acheving true love in the most dire circumstances. O'Brien's ability to creat such a beautiful love between two disenchanted and lost souls is a reminder that the world lost a truly great writer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2002

    As Good As The Movie

    The thing about Leaving Las Vegas is that it doesn't drift. Just as the lead character is set on drinking himself to death in Vegas, so the plot thickens with tastefulness until that last drink. And I say this although I am not an imbiber. Ranks right up there with Heinrich Boll's The Clown and Camus' The Fall.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2000

    Honest determination, honest love

    One of the most brilliant stories ever written. A saga of unqualified acceptence, and a magnificent character study of what is to be an alcholic. O'Brien captures perfectly the heart of what humanity's two strongest emotions are-love and determination. Beyond alcholism, the book uniquely reveals the gripping conflict between the integrity of oneself and love for another. It's a wonderful novel, and I cannot recommend it enough.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

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