Skip to main content
To get started with Facebook or create a free account. Otherwise login here.

About time we had another Hubert Selby Jr thread

I like this guy. Last Exit to Brooklyn was good, but Requiem for a Dream is great. After watching the movie several times over the years, I decided to give the novel a go last week. It's fantastic.

Selby is one of those people who easily might not have made it as a novelist despite their talent. No dialogue attribution, almost no descriptions, paragraphs that go on for pages, extreme brutality, etc, all this stuff doesn't sit well with many readers. His prose is a bit awkward sometimes, when he's not writing his wonderful dialogue. But Christ, he ticks all the right boxes for me. Nothing really happens in Requiem for a Dream, plotwise, but the way he creates these blocks of internal monologues that sprawl for pages and consider dozens of little things you hadn't though about; or the way he manages not to make his dialogue confusing no matter how many voices are being used at once; or the way you can almost see the creative outpour happening in front of your eyes decades after he wrote the books — it astounds me.

Even at his clumsiest, he's not boring, he doesn't make you roll your eyes, and he appears completely earnest. He catalogues so much suffering that it can be pretty harsh on his readers, but even the ugliness is worth looking at here. I need to get my hands on more.