Books by Lawrence Osborne

LAWRENCE OSBORNE has written for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and other publications, and is the author of four previous books. Born in England, he lives in New York.


ONLY TO SLEEP by Lawrence Osborne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 24, 2018

"While there are obvious perils in what Osborne attempts to do here, for the most part he succeeds in re-creating both a beloved character and a decadent ambience."
Philip Marlowe returns, albeit in a rather superannuated hard-boiled form, in this novel commissioned by the Raymond Chandler estate. Read full book review >
BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS by Lawrence Osborne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 18, 2017

"A rich, disturbing, and compelling read."
Beautifully crafted and psychologically astute, Osborne's (Hunters in the Dark, 2016, etc.) latest novel takes us on another journey through a heart of moral darkness. Read full book review >
HUNTERS IN THE DARK by Lawrence Osborne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Complex in plot yet simple and intense in style, Osborne's narrative takes us into an Asian heart of darkness."
A journey through contemporary Cambodia, where we encounter gambling, drugs, murder—and the mystery of human identity. Read full book review >
THE BALLAD OF A SMALL PLAYER by Lawrence Osborne
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 2014

"Osborne masterfully recreates the atmosphere of casinos as well as the psychology of baccarat players—and leaves readers eager to try their luck at the game."
The titular "small player" of Osborne's (The Forgiven, 2012, etc.) new novel gambles at the casinos in and around Macau—and exclusively plays the high stakes game of baccarat. Read full book review >
THE WET AND THE DRY by Lawrence Osborne
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 23, 2013

"For tipplers or teetotalers, an extended essay on drink in some precincts where it is welcome and others where it is criminal—rakish, rich and nicely served."
A cosmopolitan and prodigious drinker conducts a tour to selected locales where alcohol flows easily and to others where such spirits are strictly forbidden. Read full book review >
THE FORGIVEN by Lawrence Osborne
Released: Sept. 25, 2012

"A gripping read with moral ambiguity galore."
Violence and debauchery in the Moroccan desert lead to cultural misunderstandings...and to more violence and debauchery. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: March 1, 2004

"Personable and keen-minded."
A wide-ranging journalist/author takes to the oenophile road. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 25, 1993

A vivid but quirky survey of what Osborne (Paris Dreambook, 1991; Ania Malina, 1987) calls ``sexual pessimism''—the association between sexual pleasure and death—which he traces to the Gnostics, the pre-Christian sect that gave creative power to evil and held carnal pleasure in contempt. Osborne offers a series of archetypes that represent sexual pessimism, beginning with the ``Virgin.'' In discussing the Virgin, he offers a learned survey of medieval and ancient theories of female anatomy, and shows his command of medical history—a mastery that comes into play when he considers other archetypes such as the Leper, the Syphilitic, and Don Juan, whose sexual excess was usually attributed to his physical inadequacy. Osborne's chapter on the Witches considers their erotic associations and traces them to the Talmudic tradition, speculating on what need they answered in the society that called them into being and that then destroyed them. The Jew is also an archetype, Osborne says, with a special sexual burden as a predator, as the originator of onanism and homosexuality: an overcivilized neurasthenic who invented psychoanalysis to explain himself. The Noble Savage, here referring to the American Indian, is the very opposite—a representative of an ``apocalyptic counter-culture'' whose sexual practices were considered degenerate even as they represented lost Eden. The Oriental archetype refers to stereotypes relating to harems, the degradation of women, and a taste for violence. Osborne's final archetype is the Androgyne, including hermaphrodites. He concludes with a discussion of sexual optimism, the belief in the therapeutic value of sex—an attitude promoted by psychoanalysis and advocated in secular radical political that deromanticized sexuality and encouraged free love. An assertive, odd, reductive reading of a familiar and complex cultural phenomenon that the Greeks identified as eros and thanatos. Read full book review >