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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  265 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Paris in the 1920s – dizzy and decadent. Where a young man can make a fortune with his wits … unless he is led into temptation. Cocaine’s dandified hero Tito Arnaudi invents lurid scandals and gruesome deaths, and sells these stories to the newspapers. But his own life becomes even more outrageous than his press reports when he acquires three demanding mistresses. Elegant, ...more
Published February 1st 1974 by And/Or Pr (first published 1922)
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Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A new translation of the Pitigrilli classic

A welcome new publishing house on the scene is New Vessel Press whose mission in the literary field is to offer translations of foreign literature into English. Their choice of books is a fascinating one - they have the courage to bring to us in the 21st century some books that have been condemned in the 20th century (the present book COCAINE is an example), while uncovering authors of quality to place before the English reading public.

A bit about the a
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was für ein Buch! In den Zwanziger Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts (das Buch wurde 1922 veröffentlicht) flüchtet ein junger Mann aus Liebeskummer nach Paris. Dort wird er mehr oder weniger zufällig Journalist und verfällt dem Kokain ebenso wie zwei Frauen, zwischen denen er hin- und hergerissen ist: Seine alte Liebe von einst, früher Maddalena, jetzt Maud, 'hatte die ganze Skala einfacher Liebe durchschritten, um sich auf die Suche nach dem Laster zu machen.' Und Kalantan, die bildschöne Armenie ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satire
Dino Segre wrote a brilliant nihilistic and cynical satire, wonderfully capturing much of the state of post WWI Europe with all it's hypocrisy, bigotry, and deceit.
Since every good satire requires extremely sharp wit it is no surprise that Segre's intelligence manifests throughout the book in abundant sharp observations, many of which are sadly as relevant today as they were in the 1920s when Segre wrote this novel.
Segre's primary topic is the relationship between men and women but along the nov
Stacy Cook
This book was a really different read for me. Maybe it was just the time period in which it was written or the fact that the author was foreign and it was translated. I'm not sure. I don't really know how to describe what I'm trying to say. It's almost as if it was a more intellectual read then what I'm used to. Regardless, it was a great book. I didn't like that I couldn't understand some of the language that was used (b/c it wasn't translated) in some of the conversations but I didn't feel lik ...more
Gregory Baer
Don't fall in love with the world's most enthusiastic prostitute or become a cocaine addict, or at least not both at the same time. That is what I learned.
This reads a bit like Isherwood's THE BERLIN STORIES meets THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY though not as good as either. It's an interesting book from an interesting time. Worth the read. Parts are very enjoyable. Ultimately I think it needed to be fleshed out a bit more.
Glad I read it.
Ana Lago-Barber
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real page turner. Very modern and funny. Loved it!
Light on plot but very enjoyable for its numerous cynical asides. The central character, Tito Arnaudi, spends most of the novel shuttling between 2 women, the wealthy Armenian widow Kalantan and the not-very-talented music-hall dancer Maud. We first meet Tito when he moves from Turin to Paris to become a journalist, a profession at which he excels, except that he is more apt at inventing the news than at covering them. While in Kalantan's circle, he develops an addiction to cocaine. Eventually, ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While funny at times, Cocaine just grinds on and on. While Pitigrilli does a fine job exploring and ridiculing the drug culture of the upper classes in 1920s Europe, the characters are so bland that I can't even remember their names.

The narrator's irreverent humor does somewhat redeem the lackluster plot though, with an especially memorable scene where the protagonist, a horrible journalist and wannabe playboy, makes up a sensational story about an execution because he's too lazy to get out of
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Written in 1920's France, this book was banned due to the sex and drugs it portrays.

A young American arrives in France and needing income decides to use family connections to get a newspaper job. His great idea is to do an expose on the use of cocaine. He is hired and starts his newspaper career. The book follows the choices he makes and the repercussions in his life due to them. There is social commentary and even some morality lessons
Harry Rutherford
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe
This has a cynical, brittle, world-weary tone that seems very typical of the 20s and 30s. The obvious explanation would be that it was the psychological impact of the Great War… which seems plausible. It’s a fairly dark view of human nature: lustful, jealous, manipulative, untrustworthy, superficial, pleasure-seeking; but it makes for an entertaining read. All the sex and drugs must have been rather shocking at the time, and the Catholic Church apparently put the book on its banned list, but it’ ...more
Procyon Lotor
Con una sniffata della famosa polverina, (1921) una siffatta opera con gli amorazzi di un libertino (coi sensi di colpa sic!) e una ballerina. Utilissimo per spatinare la quasi totalit� dei belli e dannati che ancora sostengono il bisinissi, ricordiamo loro che gi� Baudelaire aveva spesso portato i capelli verdi e che pippavano dei dinamici travet nei caf�-chantant. Nulla come la bianca signora fa credere di essere brillanti, ruffiana chimica, sicofante sintetica e adulatrice organica trasforma ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The viciousness of the narrator and the protagonist are worth the price of admission. What a romp! A picaresque, highly comical social novel (ugh, what does that even mean?) that refuses to see the good in the world, only the absurd - but minus the heavy, dark, existential part one generally has with that attitude. The ending almost seems to satirise Madame Bovary, which is already satirising the romantic heroine demise. Read!
Ulrike Gerold
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich kannte den Autoren nicht und entdeckte das Buch beim Stöbern in der lokalen Buchhandlung. Zuerst las es sich etwas zäh, bis man sich an den Stil des Autoren gewöhnt hatte, aber dann muss ich sagen- es überraschte mich enorm! Eine wirklich gute Story, wenn auch sehr fies und hart. Auch, wenn das Kokain gar nicht so die sehr tragende Rolle spielte- es ging mehr um den Hauptcharakter Tito und seine Geliebte- aber ohne Spoileralarm- lasst Euch drauf ein! Absoluter Klassiker!
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

I'm astonished this book doesn't have more notoriety in the US. Not until the end of the book, in the 'Afterward', did I realize that it was a translation from the 1921. Though considered pornography at the time throughout Europe, and especially in Italy, it reads as a mix between Gatsby and Fear and Loathing. I will definitely recommend it to friends and it would be a mistake not to re-read Cocaine in the future.
Joyce Yanney
Novel published in the 20s' in Paris, Italy. A modern love story. Cynical at times with a comic touch. Because of description of sex and drugs churches put it on list of forbidden books to read. Writing is excellent and entertaining.
Paul Degrande
Voor al het jonge volk dat graag wilt experimenteren met het bedwelmend goedje. Intrigerend en anti-gedateerd inkijkje in de wereld van koningin cocaïne.
Eeuh...hoe lang blijft die roes hier aanhouden?
Sep 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: give-up
I tried my best and got passed the first 100 pages but this story hasn't a story but just a bunch of dribble thrown together...nothing makes sense and its hard to have a story when not one character has a life or plot of their waste of paper and ink
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You would think this was written during the 21st century seeing that many of the ideals about women and drugs haven't budged. A fun read.
Robbert Voges
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fin-de-siecle
Underrated decadent and languid tale ...There is a fabulous butterfly scene. Not very well executed, but for scenes, photography, atmosphere the book gets thousands of gold stars.
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah this is great
Jun 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually has very little to do with the title. I tried to finish it, but I just couldn't. This book is dumb and a waste of time.
A very intriguing novel. Loved the historical fiction aspect and kept my attention the whole time I was reading. Would definitely recommend to my friends. Received as an ARC.
autori italiani / letteratura italiana / romanzo / in biblioteca
Sep 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cocaine" is the perfect name for this book. A salty tale of the dangers of vices.
rated it liked it
Nov 15, 2015
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Pitigrilli was the pseudonym for Dino Segre (9 May 1893 - 8 May 1975), an Italian writer who made his living as a journalist and novelist. His most noted novel was Cocaïne (1921), published under his pseudonym and placed on the "forbidden books" list by the Catholic Church because of his treatment of drug use and sex. It has been translated into several languages and re-issued in several editions. ...more
More about Pitigrilli

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“Life is a mere waiting room in which we spend time before entering into the void.” 7 likes
“Jealousy is a fever that arises from a stupid, baseless excitement in our unthinking brain.
Jealousy is a phenomenon of auto-suggestion.
The woman you love has gone to bed with X. You hate X, you hate her, and you have perpetually before your eyes the vision of your loved one and X embracing in an act that fills you with horror.
But you too in your time have deceived the woman you love and have done with Y what X did in bed with woman you love.
Well, what remains in your skin ,your mind of Mrs Y? Nothing whatever. No more than X left with your woman.
In other words, auto suggestion. Do you want evidence of that? Well, then, if you don't know the man, you imagine him to be hateful, offensive, repulsive, and you feel that if you met him you'd kill him.
But, if you happen to see his photograph, you begin to realize that it's possible to look at him without horror; and believe me, if you were actually introduced to him you'd approach him with a cordial smile on your lips, look him in the eye without trembling and, if you have reached my degree of perfection, you'd actually be capable of cheerfully patting him on the back and telling him he's a good chap.
In a not too distant future, reason and education will have driven home the lesson of the futility of jealousy.”
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