Midnight Cowboy

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Overview

Midnight Cowboy is the powerful and unforgettable novel of the compelling need of human beings for one another -- a wrenching story of pain and loss.

Freewheeling loser Joe Buck arrives in New York City and embarks on a quest to live the American dream. Along the way he meets street hustler and petty criminal Ratso Rizzo. Together, the two form an extraordinary relationship full of heartbreak and hope, resulting in a compelling American novel ...

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Overview

Midnight Cowboy is the powerful and unforgettable novel of the compelling need of human beings for one another -- a wrenching story of pain and loss.

Freewheeling loser Joe Buck arrives in New York City and embarks on a quest to live the American dream. Along the way he meets street hustler and petty criminal Ratso Rizzo. Together, the two form an extraordinary relationship full of heartbreak and hope, resulting in a compelling American novel about the bonds of friendship.

This classic novel, originally published in 1965, was the source of the Oscar®-winning film starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380005765
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/1985
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback

Meet the Author

James Leo Herlihy was born in 1927 in Detroit, Michigan to a working class family. After serving in World War II, Herlihy studied art, literature, and music at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, whose faculty had boasted such luminaries as William De Kooning and John Cage. After a professor told Herlihy that he had no future as a writer, the disillusioned Herlihy turned his attention to theater, where he met with considerable success and found acting roles in more than fifty plays over the span of several years.

But Herlihy continued writing fiction despite the discouragement he had received and in 1960 he published All Fall Down, a largely critically acclaimed work which was later adapted for film. In 1965 he published Midnight Cowboy, which cemented his reputation as a serious writer.

After the success of Midnight Cowboy, Herlihy retreated from the public eye and turned his attention to teaching. He took creative writing posts at the City College of New York, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Southern California. Herlihy died in Los Angeles in 1993 from an overdose of sleeping medication.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 15, 2011

    Gritty Classic

    Out of all the new literary efforts that revolutionized publishing in the 1960s, "Midnight Cowboy," in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above them all. It's a classic "hooker with a heart of gold" tale, except the hooker is a guy and he doesn't realize he has a heart of gold until after he practically kills a man for boring him half to death. The novel is full of so many great monologues, one featuring the aforementioned almost-murdered man is a masterpiece of personal illumination, and Herlihy captures the underbelly of 1960s New York with a precision that says "I've been there." He has an authentic voice, his characters are immortal, and for me the ending of the book was especially touching. It was about the same as in the movie, but more moving on the printed page. Joe Buck has experienced unconditional love for another person, and he is astonished with himself. Five stars. Great Read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Yo ratso

    I saw the movie when it came out. Wonderful movie made you think. Glad its a movie and not a true story. Sad funny you cant go wrong Dustin Hoffman Jon Voit good stuff. Always wanted to see if the book was as good.

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  • Posted June 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Wow What An Eye-Opener!

    Poor Joe, it seems like he never had a chance in life having been raised by prostitutes and then a grandmother like figure who took no time to raise him with love or caring concern. Joe is one of those individuals that life just happens to. Clearly not educated to a level needed to thrive in such a large city environment like New York, Joe just manages to survive on the fringes of society. When he finally makes a friend of Rizzo, his fortune begins to change and Joe's life starts to take on new significance. As Joe works to get his friend Rizzo out of New York, there is a new purpose to his actions and thinking. The responsibility of taking care of his friend Rizzo helps point Joe in new and meaningful directions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    American disillusionment

    This work delves into the dark side of American urban life and failure in the pursuit of the American dream by the disadvantaged among us.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    Great read!

    I enjoyed this book,and haveing never seen the movie...i came to it with an open mind. I was not disappointed! I highly recommend it!

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