Tough Poets Press

The Self-Devoted Friend

50th-anniversary edition of Marvin Cohen’s debut fiction
June 1, 2017 / 166 pages / $12.95

Reviews:

“When I was an unpublished writer 55 years ago, I lived in the same crummy tenement as Marvin Cohen in New York, and got to know him and his extraordinary writing. To me he was the Beckett of Avenue B — funnier, more accessible, but just as determined to show us the world in a new way. Cohen is the chronicler of frustration, and The Self-Devoted Friend is just one of his masterpieces.”
— Paul Theroux

“Marvin Cohen’s wacky humor has something of Thurber, something of Steinberg, Buster Keaton, the surrealists, the pataphysicians. The Self-Devoted Friend is a book that should be read immediately by all who gladly recognize themselves to be half crazy.”
— Thomas Merton

“It is rare these days — perhaps, any days — to come across a work that not only reveals a striking, fresh talent, but stands outside current literary preoccupations. What Mr. Cohen has is his own: a joy in language, and an eye, at once innocent and shrewd, for the paradoxes inherent in the human condition. He puts both language and people through their paces, stands them on their heads, and hugs them to his heart in what amounts as a tour de force of serio-comedy, a sort of superb clowning in which pathos and absurdity intertwine as they do in a Charlie Chaplin film.”
— The New York Times Book Review

“Cohen surrealistically juxtaposes ideas, seeks irrational and fantastic links, but for the high purposes of verbal comedy and linguistic entertainment.”
— The New Statesman (London)

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