Leonard Cohen: A Ballet of Lepers Set to Release in October

The singer/song writer, novelist, and poet, Leonard Cohen, incarnates in a new novel. His early novel will be released in a collection of his best work.

Art and Music Fiction Lifestyle New Release Pop Culture Recommendations

Although most widely known for his music career, Leonard Cohen’s fiction work steps back into the spotlight with the release of an early novel from 1965. According to The Guardian, his previously unpublished work of fiction, A Ballet of Lepers, is set to be released with short stories and a radio play script in early October of 2022. Earlier on, two publishing houses rejected the novel. However, Canongate has finally picked up the story for a new life. The book will also be published by McClelland and Stewart in Canada and Grove in the US.

Cohen’s long interest in archives has made his posthumous career more than possible. For example, his last known posthumous published work was the collection of poems, The Flame, in 2018. The next year, his album, Thanks for the Dance, hit stores with music recordings made before his death in 2016. Cohen has a habit of making his way back into life through timeless art. He is the master of archives.

The New Release

A revised edition of this collection will also contain 15 short stories, reported by The Guardian. The book will consist of Cohen’s early works written between 1956 and 1961. Alexandra Pleshoyano, a Cohen scholar, has put the esteemed collection together. She has also written an afterword. While there are no concrete details about the novel itself, we can assume from Cohen’s own words that it’s “probably a better novel” than The Favorite Game, reported by Rolling Stone. It’s important to bear in mind that The Favorite Game received praise in reviews and is a fan favorite.

A Ballet of Lepers will be another volume of Cohen’s most dynamic works. According to Cohen’s biographer, Ira Nadel, the story follows a 35-year-old sales clerk who takes in his violent, elderly grandfather in a small boarding house. It starts with a dark endearing scene, “My grandfather came to live with me. There was nowhere else for him to go. What had happened to all his children? Death, decay, exile – I hardly know.” From that introduction alone, I am captivated by the intensity. The novel displays a sense of Jewish history and tragedy. Cohen’s fiction work, much like his poetry, takes a deep dive into dark reality without the worry of the risk.


Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore

― Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers

A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories will hit sores in the UK in October 2022. It will be available in hardcover, electronic, and audio formats.