BOOKS

Leaving Las Vegas

John O'Brien

RRP: £8.99

6 July 2017

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611855210

RRP: £6.99

6 July 2017

Published by Grove Press

ISBN: 9781611859508

Leaving Las Vegas, the first novel by John O’Brien, is the disturbing and emotionally wrenching story of a woman who embraces life and a man who rejects it.

Sera is a prostitute, content with the independence and routine she has carved out for herself in a city defined by recklessness. But she is haunted by a spectre in a yellow Mercedes, a man from her past who is committed to taking control of her life again.

Ben is an alcoholic intent on drinking his way towards an early death. Newly arrived from Los Angeles, he survived the four-hour intoxicated drive across the desert with his entire savings in his wallet and nothing else left to lose.

Looking to satisfy hungers both material and existential, Ben and Sera stumble together on the strip and discover in each other a respite from their unforgiving lives.

A testimony to the raw talent of its young author, Leaving Las Vegas is a compelling story of unconditional love between two disenfranchised and lost souls – an overlooked American classic.

REVIEWS

A brutal and unflinching portrait of the low life in the city of high rollers, Leaving Las Vegas is both shocking and curiously exhilarating. John O'Brien was a stunningly talented writer who created poetry from the most squalid materials. This is a beautiful and horrifying novel.Jay McInerney

There is not a false note in the novel . . . [O'Brien] achieves real power in his writing. You seldom encounter it anymore, but when you do you know you've been properly whacked by a real talent.
New York Daily News

[An] immense writing talent . . . John O'Brien's life ended with a gunshot. Leaving Las Vegas, for its intensity, its bravado, and its legacy - an American tragedy that would pave the way for many more - only begins to understand why.
Esquire

The book's unique power resides in this awareness; and it allows O'Brien to breathe new life into two of the most familiar and overused archetypes of popular fiction: the drunk and the whore . . . Ben's impulse to destroy himself is so psychologically unspecific as to be sublime.
Boston Review

This book is not only dark and dire, it is crushing. How can a novel so absolutely devoid of hope be so gripping? The portrait of Sera and Ben is a tour de force - masterful and relentless. Leaving Las Vegas is the strongest and most extreme look at alcohol I've ever read. This book moved and bothered me and weeks later it is still in my mind. I think O'Brien is simply terrific.Ron Carlson

Here is that 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