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Waiting Period

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  933 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
"I love the book because it transcends fashion and style. . . . It’s fantastic."—Paul Morley, BBC 2 TV Newsnight Review

A man pulls back from the brink of suicide when his application to buy a gun with which to shoot himself is -delayed. Instead of throwing his life away, he decides to spend all his time and effort disposing of those who he feels deserve to die. With a rene
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (first published 2002)
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Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys fiction of revenge, madness, obsession, hubert selby
Even if you haven't read any of Selby, Jr.'s previous works, you should know you are reading one of the true masters of contemporary (20th century) fiction. Selby has always been uncompromising, since Last Exit to Brooklyn, his very first novel, caused such notoriety, outrage and impact.

Waiting Period focuses on the huge frustration and anger that we all feel about the "forces" in our life (read: bureaucracy, institutions, conventional thinking, endless forms to fill in, a demanded subservience
MJ Nicholls
Cubby’s swansong is a blackly comedic novel about a suicidal nerd who decides to off the bureaucrat that wronged him instead of taking his own life. By manipulating a strain of E-coli bacteria and furtively inserting it into his victim’s coke, he succeeds in his plan to dispense with the faceless desk vulture, and decides to increase his repertoire of sly E-coli murders like a nerdier Charles Bronson until the novel ends on a morally ambiguous note. Not unlike B.S. Johnson’s Christie Malry’s Own ...more
Rob Richards
Oct 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Waiting Period is the story of a severely depressed and angry man who decides to ragequit life by eating a gun. When he goes to buy one a computer glitch forces him to wait a few days, during which time he decides his time would be better spent killing others, namely those he blames for everything that is wrong in the world.

Written in the stream of consciousness style that is Selby's signature, this is by far the weakest of his works I have ever read. I am very glad that I read Requiem for a Dre
I've read most of Hubert Selby's novels but I hadn't read his last one, Waiting Period. After a quick glance at the opening lines it looks promising - the narrator is contemplating various methods of suicide, he's weighing up the pros and cons of different methods such as sleeping pills or slitting his wrists but it's not long before he decides to opt for the all-American way out with a gun. Hari Kiri just seems too crazy a way to kill oneself. Ok, so the method has been decided, now to get a gu ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, hubert-selby-jr, own
What I love about Selby is his purposeful in-accuracy of the English punctuation and grammar rule-bending. It truly makes his style unique and his own.

Selby has a way with writing characters who are so real, raw, and his writing is "in your face," blunt, and holds no punches. Waiting Period is no different.

Waiting Period fell short for me, surprisingly, only because I expected a bit more from Selby. I guess I was looking for more in the ending, but unsure of what. Maybe more closure.

There wer
Feb 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
Wow, I'm shocked at how bad this book is. I couldn't even finish it and normally I wouldn't bother writing a review for something I had to put down, but I've read three other Selby novels which were all outstanding, so I feel like I have the right. In fact, I've even gone so far as to proclaim him a top ten favorite author of mine because of the impact Last Exit, The Demon and Requiem had on me. This on the other hand, is just ridiculous and a complete waste of time.

I understand where he was goi
Amy Adams
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I originally rated this book four stars. Then I read a bunch of the reviews people posted--lots of one and two star reviews at the top. This made me rethink my rating, and I realized just how much I enjoyed the book. If you can sit down and read it in one straight shot, that'd be best. I'm the kind of reader who, once she begins reading, the characters take shape in her mind, she goes into a different dimension. This is definitely one of those dimensional books. It is sometimes difficult to pop ...more
In his very last novel Selby once again explores the depths and abysses of the human mind. Although uncompromising and honest, this read proved way tougher than his masterpiece Requiem for a Dream.
Jeff Swesky
It hurts me to give Selby such a low rating, but I couldn't even finish "Waiting Period." It's not up to his standard at all. It's a stream of conscious, first person story told from the mind of a sick, mentally disturbed man, who is looking to possibly kill (or at least make severely sick) a VA employee who apparently wronged the protagonist. There are a lot (mostly) sentence fragments. No true narrative, other then the character telling the story (if you can call it that--mainly grumblings abo ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little bit of ultraviolence in this suicide gone homicide tale. There is a certain neon light-like ambience to this psychotic episode.
Nick Pappas
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: the depressed
not bad, not his best. Part one is better the part two. I would love to turn this into a movie. More cinimatic then anything.
Nicola Carter
3.5 stars really, I just wasn't blown away by this which is weird because Hubert Selby Jr is one of my favourite authors, It just felt like he was trying to hard but ended up half arsed.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Harry decides to blow his goddamn brains out the goddamn system makes him wait 3 days before he can get a goddamn gun. (Krist, what madness.) So Harry decides to whip up some homemade E coli and turns his high strung neurotic frustration into some good ol fashioned American revenge.

This was classic Selby downward spiral with some grey humor and irony mixed in. Not meant for sunny dispositions.

Jun 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Laatste roman van de in 2004 overleden cultauteur, schepper van het weergaloze Last Exit To Brooklyn, het verfilmde Requiem For A Dream en nog een en ander dat zeker een inspiratie moet geweest zijn voor Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Cooper, Henry Rollins (die een paar spoken word-releases van Selby uitbracht en in de 80s regelmatig de hort op trok met de veteraan) en een hele resem andere auteurs die niet te hoog oplopen met mens en maatschappij en van etterende portretten vol existentiële waanzin hu ...more
Kevin Hinman
May 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
First, let me start out by saying that there are aspects of Waiting Period that are definitely admirable, even if, all in all, the novel doesn't quite work. Selby Jr. is a master at creating characters whose heads you can get right into, and who can likewise get back into yours. When the narrator of Waiting Period is paranoid, you feel paranoid, when he's depressed, you struggle to even turn the page, because what's the point? You're with him, truly, and from page one, it's go for broke.

Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, disturbing, holidays
We know very little about the narrator. He is a paranoid loner who works with computers from his home. He is a war veteran. The novel begins with him contemplating the best way to kill himself. He worries that he will back out of the decision in the last second and end up either paralysed or at 'the funny farm'. A gun is the best way to do it, he decides. However, there is a glitch with the computer system at the gun shop, and our narrator is forced to wait a few days before he can receive the f ...more
Julian Meynell
A powerful novella that does not quite reach the heights of some of Selby's other works although I understand what he was trying to do. It is written in Selby's typical style, although the power of the prose does not reach the same heights as Last Exit to Brooklyn or Requiem for a Dream.

It is about an ordinary person driven to the brink of suicide by the injustices of society. In particular, the narrator is a veteran who has been poorly treated by the VA. Deciding to buy a gun to end his own lif
John Defrog
Selby’s final novel about a suicidal war veteran who tries to buy a gun to kill himself. A computer glitch delays approval of the purchase for a few days, during which he has a revelation: why kill himself when he could be killing people who deserve it – starting with the VA clerk who denied him his benefits? The story is told in the psychotic stream-of-consciousness internal dialogue that Selby does so well (with intermittent commentary from a mystery character who watches and approves of his d ...more
Lauren Shelton
Jul 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
After six years of attempting to read this book, I have finally made myself do it. I could not stand the character. People stated in their reviews that it's because he's crazy that his stream-of-consciousness is the way it is. However, his thoughts didn't seem all that crazy and that's not what bothered me. He was boring. Plain and simple. It took almost half the book for him to pull off his first kill and it wasn't an interesting kill. It was literally like waiting for someone to die from food ...more
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-dutch
Nice enough read if you are into Selby. But gets a bit boring after 100 pages or so when you get the message.

The theme is very nice: a guy wants to commit suicide because he is fed up wit the sick world surrounding. But because of a computer failure, he has to wait for his gun to be delivered so he cannot immediately shoot himself. During that waiting period he figures out that by killing himself he doesn't actually change the sickness of the world. So he decides to not kill himself but the peop
Gerard  Perry
Nov 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: morbidity
Reading this was a chore. I finished the first 300 pages of Les Miserables more quickly than the first 30 pages of this novel, which is excruciatingly tedious. I suppose the narration mirrors the solipsism and pointlessness of the protagonist's life by design, but that doesn't make this book any more appealing. Selby took a concept that should be fascinating, i.e. a suicidal, non-ideological, methodical urban terrorist for the modern era, and turned out a plodding dirge.

It's not so much that th
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
The one occasion so far when Selby's method of narration does not work. This book would need to step a little outside the narrator's head and into other perspectives (eg, when he attempts to buy the gun, you'd need to see him from the gunshop dealer's point of view, get a physical description of this twitchy paranoid customer, etc, rather than just dialogue and stream of consciousness.) Also there seemed a lack of specifics in his dislike of the world, not enough going over specific incidents in ...more
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Waiting Period is about a man who wants to commit suicide but his actions are delayed to purchase a handgun with a glitch in the store's computer system. Instead he goes on a secret killing spree of former co-workers by injecting an ecoli virus into their food.
This book completely creeps you out because it's told entirely from the man's point of view and it makes you realize what crazy people we have in this world.
Does he get away at the end of the story with what he's done? You'll have to find
Jul 29, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Selby's editor
For 5 years, Anne Tyler's Breathing Lessons was the standard of bad writing against which I measured all works of fiction.

This novel did not merely best Tyler's work. This novel ripped the crown right off Tyler's head.

I read this book because Nick Tosches (whose work I like and respect) made such a big deal of Selby.

It has now been almost four years - and probably 200 novels - since I read Waiting Period, and it still holds up. This is the worst novel I have ever read.
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The very first Selby I read and I must say, I was blown away. I devoured this book in a single sitting and I strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading from a mentally disturbed characters point of view. It's entirely in this man's mind and to watch his disintegration into madness is hypnotic. The writing is captivating and it really does feel as though you are inside this man's mind. The book starts to move at an incredibly rapid pace toward the later part but you never feel lost. Selby ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Wonder upon wonder. The man is not only without fault, he is with virtue. His nobility brightens the night sky. Oh my son, my son, what joy you awaken in me and thus the world." I don't know how this book got published in a post-9/11 world, but it's fantastic. The twisted inner monologues, like a Notes From Underground that I can actually appreciate. A man, fed up with the system and all its bullshit, contemplates suicide. But chance intervenes, and he finds catharsis through almost ritual bout ...more
Dan Bell
Jan 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A very entertaining read about a man's decision to not take his own life, but to take the lives of others to improve the world, Waiting Period is the second book I've read by Hubert Selby, Jr. After a slow start as I readjusted to Selby's style of writing, the story held me with a certain perverse fascination as the protagonist begins his murder spree. All in all, I found it an enjoyable read, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Selby or other authors like him.
Dani Kass
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I liked this book, because it's Selby and he's impossible not to love and the story was interesting enough.

But compared to his other work, it was a huge letdown. The narration was a less sick version of The Room, with a plot taken from a subdued Demon (except more faux-vigilante than boredom).

I'd recommend it as a quick read, but don't expect as much from him as in his earlier novels.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering that one of Hubert Selby's earlier works revolutionised the way I looked at literature, I found myself disappointed with Waiting Period. It felt disjointed and muddled, and as much as the first-person narrative was meant to engage me, there was a lack of fire that made me feel rather detached.

Perhaps need to revert to some of his older stuff.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only one star because I can't rate it a zero! I absolutely could not suffer through it any longer. I like some of Selby's other work, most notably Requiem for a Dream, but WOW! This was not good at all. Too bad.
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Hubert Selby, Jr. was born in Brooklyn and went to sea as a merchant marine while still in his teens. Laid low by lung disease, he was, after a decade of hospitalizations, written off as a goner and sent home to die. Deciding instead to live, but having no way to make a living, he came to a realization that would change the course of literature: "I knew the alphabet. Maybe I could be a writer." Dr ...more
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“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Help me. Please, help me. If you really exist, you skinny jew bastard, help me kill myself.” 2 likes
“The natives knew better than to screw around with Tarzan. He was one bad dude. Lions, rhinos, just him and his knife. Great penthouse and elevator. Wouldnt last long in Brooklyn. Busted for indecent exposure. Me Tarzan you Judge. That is absolutely correct, and you are going to do sixty days. Try dressing as Beau Brummel the next time. Next case!” 2 likes
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