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Cult of Loretta

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  48 reviews
“Kevin Maloney alchemizes the allure of dicey friendships, hallucinatory sex and a drug so terrifying I’m heartbroken I’ll never get to try it. Cult of Loretta captures the manic fury of Richard Brautigan writing a sequel to The Outsiders during a ketamine binge.”

- Jim Ruland, author of Forest of Fortune

“I haven’t read a book this great, this funny, this original, this emo
Paperback, 146 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Lazy Fascist Press
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Janie C.
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will rake across your heart like a syringe digging for a vein. Lust, love and a profusion of drugs turn the search for warmth and marvel into a serrated instrument of pain, repeated until empty. Reclaiming the wayward past is forever impossible.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Often teetering on the precipice of self-indulgence, Cult of Loretta manages to eschew such a label by machine gunning us with profundity after profundity, both simple and complex, aimed right at the black heart of all existence. Love and friendship, growing up and death - in all of their nihilistic glory - analyzed and repurposed without any extra fluff. At 140 lean pages, this book never grows tiresome or repetitive (any longer at it might have). Perhaps I identify on a visceral level with the ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Holy cowhide! This is one fun and wild (and sometimes disturbing) ride. Cult of Loretta combines a likable sad-sack narrative with early 90s Portland grunge-drug culture and the pain of romantic hearts that can't be tamed or understood. I loved all the Portland references throughout and I'd say that the mood of the book makes it feel like a strangely historical read. If I were to ever make a list of best books set in Portland (especially books that truly capture the oddness of our city) this wou ...more
Vincenzo Bilof
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Here’s a novel that serves as an emotional time machine, and within its pages there is a “coming-of-age” tale that mirrors many of our own personal journeys. The “cult” in the title reminds of The End of the Affair, in which Graham Greene compared romantic love to a form of religious worship. If you mixed Graham Greene with Roberto Bolano’s “Savage Detectives,” you have a good idea what you might be getting into with this particular cult.
I never felt empathy for the protagonist or Loretta while
Andrew Stone
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is brilliant. I keep on thinking of weird scenarios, and I'm like, where did I see that? Only to realize I read it in this book. So yeah, I keep on thinking about it and have ever since I started reading it.
Tiffany Scandal
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cult Of Loretta is super fucking good. It haunts you. Anytime I had to put this book down, I would find myself itching to pick it up, wanting to know what happens to Loretta and the doomed men that keep falling in love with her. An otherwise ordinary girl who had the power to ruin even the best of friendships. A girl who makes Helen of Troy seem like a fucking amateur.

Maloney writes some damn good characters — broken people who accept that the world is awful and either embrace the path of slow s
Benoit Lelièvre
What an unexpected little gem. CULT OF LORETTA was sent to me by its publisher as a throw-in alongside another novel I had actually requested and now that I've read it I understand why. This little tome needs to be in more people's hands. It's a book that has a target audience of adult mean, I believe, because its a novel about how first love shapes a young man's live and how selfish young love can be.

CULT OF LORETTA is endearing because it's about a boy like I used to be (up to the part where t
Ryan Bradford
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful language + absurd Joseph Heller-isms + touches of The Virgin Suicides-esque obsession (my current literary obsession) = Cult of Loretta. But these are all jump-offs, cuz this book is wholly original. Unlike anything I've ever read, really. Blew through it in one sitting and lol'd on just about every page. Hard to imagine a book that will beat this as my favorite of 2015.
Chris Dankland
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books I've read this year -- when I finished reading it the first time, I flipped right back to the beginning and read it again. The sentences are expertly polished, visionary, and full of insane twists and black humor that will keep you flipping pages at a methamphetamine pace. This novel is crazy and dreamy and transgressive in the best possible way.
Brian Alan Ellis
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Crackling with powerful, Satanic energy, this book is a love story for the ages. It’s like Harry Met Sally except Harry listens to nu metal and Sally is possessed by Zuul from Ghostbusters, has an addiction to shitty speed, and may or may not be a juggalo. Maloney is dark, son.
Daniel Vlasaty
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I knew a girl like Loretta years and years and years ago.

I probably thought I loved her. But I was too young and dumb and fucked up to really know what that means.

She's most likely dead now.
Hatchet Mouth
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review is not a reflection on the personal character of the author, who I met and spoke with briefly. He was an agreeable guy. My thoughts on this book have to do with my growing disappointment that the types of characters represented in this work have come to represent an entire generation of losers, misfits of the worst variety who can't handle their drugs, can't handle their emotions, can't handle their jobs and can't handle their own reproductive and/or familial responsibilities. Lorett ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: transgressive

I used to really enjoy "Bizarro horror", the type of stuff I used to absolutely adore but I think I've kinda grown out. Actually, I know I've grown out of it, but everyone was telling me how great Cult of Loretta was fantastic so I decided to give it a try.

Sadly, Cult of Loretta get's a 1.5 from me. Thought the prose was boring, and Nelson's 'revelations' to be kinda fake-deep. The only part I did like was the bits about fatherhood, you can tell Maloney is a father himself, but that's really it.

Tanna TenHoopen Dolinsky
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced, and hallucinatory. An infatuation fueled roller coaster of a love and coming of age story.
George Billions
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazon has been recommending this book to me for a while now, but I just got around to reading it. Wow. I’d been missing out. Cult of Loretta is just incredible. The writing is beautiful, deceptively simple yet poetic. It reminded me of Bukowski, Denis Johnson or Justin Grimbol. The chapters are short and sweet, full of emotion, and always left me wanting to read another chapter or two or five.

The story itself revolves around the narrator’s love of the titular Loretta. She’s a real powderkeg. Th
Dave Newman
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So much of the literature that I fell in love with when I first started reading--Bukowski and Brautigan, especially--has fallen out of vogue in the last decade. Readers are seldom interested in stories of poor people who aren't saps but who do have artistic insights. Cult of Loretta is inspired by that tradition and mixes it well with nods to Denis Johnson and Arthur Bradford and Kevin Maloney's own weird and wonderful talent to make a darkly hilarious book about bad drugs, bad sex, and bad love ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So beautifully brilliant. I've been overly sentimental lately anyway, and Kevin Maloney made me even worse by reminding me what it was like to live in Portland in the nineties. I fucking loved this book.
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh... my god.

This little book floored me.

Not sure what else to say. It hurt. In the best way.
Mark Enderle
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was well on my way to giving this 5 stars, but the last 20 pages were a little unsatisfying. The ending seemed a little hurried, and lacking some of the uncomfortable humor that had me laughing out loud earlier.
RaeDawn Drenning
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly recommend this crazy trip.
Jo Quenell
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'Cult of Loretta' reads like a tribute to both the Northwest and lost love. There were several times I chuckled out loud, only then to think 'fuck, that's dark!' Maloney has a storyteller's voice, much in the same way as Joe Lansdale. This is stunning.
Matt Lewis
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tiny, sharp, and beautiful, like a paring knife inlaid with the golden words of a one-eyed madman who's really into Alice in Chains. Filled with comedic absurdity, transcendent sentences and the pacing of Palahniuk novel in a stolen Ford Bronco fleeing the scene. Centering around the titular Loretta and a narrator who knows better but can't stop himself, the reader is flung along with every purely physical desire fulfilled at the cost of health, wealth, and sanity. Framed with familiar tinges of ...more
Audrey Ruth
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Months later, an image of Loretta haunts you, even if the story is horrible. I bought this not knowing it was smut. My purchase was based on the praises for the writing, so I stuck with it because of that. I wish the title character was more developed. It was well-written and the opening was engaging, but we never get a strong motivation for the way Loretta is. We know about her home life, but it's not a nuanced look, so she becomes the stereotypical manic pixie to be lusted after no matter what ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant novel--it blew me away. Terrifying, fast-paced, erudite, gleefully scatalogical, with a genuine voice. It alters your consciousness like a drug. I could not put it down--I bought it and started it the same day and read the last half at breakneck speed parked in the parking lot at Burgerville in Centralia, WA. It would be a dark book except it's constantly hilarious. Just when you think Maloney will preach or take the easy way out, things get ambivalent and unpredictable. It left me fee ...more
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a punch in the throat of my nostalgia for the mid 90s in Portland. The only thing it was missing was watching Tommy break up a fight between methed out bicycle messengers at the Vern. It also has the best sentence that sums up the way I've felt about Pdx's popularity since forever. Watching Elliot Smith perform at the Oscars the protagonist says, "I think that's the guy from Heatmiser." That feeling of shock, discomfort, and dislocation is what I feel life's been like ever since.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
The writing is frenetic and interesting, but I don't think this will stick with me. I've nearly forgotten it already. Quick read if you're looking for that.
J. Osborne
Apr 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book three times! Incredible.
Mckenzie Ragan
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cult of Loretta is a bummer, but I can’t really knock realism that neither will go easy on you nor totally abandon you to hopelessness. This book punches you in the teeth, but then it gives you a hug. There’s not much plot, but then there’s plenty of plot in the lack of plot – another nod to its realism. And not to get stuck on that word, but so often when the word ‘realism’ is used in talking about literature it’s in terms of the gritty, the shocking, or the catastrophic on both personal and gl ...more
Justin Freeman
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heavy, man. Heavy.

Not sure where to even begin. I found myself laughing, sad, angsty, and a bunch of other emotions that I can't even begin to explain while I read this book. The Cult of Loretta was a quick read and a page turner at that, and I'm still trying to figure out how Maloney smashed so much into so few pages, 139 to be exact.

The book is narrated by Nelson, a deeply conflicted and drug addled teenager/young adult that has fallen in love with the freckled and troubled Loretta, like every
Kurt Kroeber
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book deserves all the good reviews.

It's as if Kevin Maloney were speaking directly to me but that can't be the case. I'm drunk right now as I'm finishing this book and I can't help but think on some level that's entirely fitting.
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Kevin Maloney was born in Portland, Oregon in 1976. He lived for a time in Vermont but currently resides in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland. At times a TJ Maxx associate, grocery clerk, outdoor school instructor, organic farmer, apprentice electrician, student teacher, and teddy bear salesman, he currently works as a web developer and writer. His debut novel Cult of Loretta was published by ...more

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“As she lay next to me on the scratchy gray fiber of the dirty carpet, smoking a cigarette, I started to understand why people cheat on each other. I didn’t forgive Loretta for what she’d done, but I respected it.” 0 likes
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