The Rough Guide to Cult Fiction discussion

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Hubert Selby, Jr.

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message 1: by Stefani (new)

Stefani | 18 comments I think Mr. Selby is one of the most fascinating authors that I have read in recent years. Not simply because his writing is infused with a rawness not unlike a gaping wound after the scab has been ripped off. There's this idea that his characters, despite their gut-wrenching poverty and depressing life circumstances, are survivors, although their spirits are broken, and have been downtrodden by years of hard living, drug use, and prostitution. I think it's an interesting commentary on a segment of society that is typically overlooked and ignored. Does anyone else have an opinion on this?


message 2: by David (new)

David Scott (davidscott) | 2 comments I do love his work as well. Very powerful stuff, and not for readers that like easily digested pieces of fiction.

I see his characters more like sinking ships than survivors. He ends the stories when his characters realize they hit bottom, and you are left to wonder how much more their lives will spiral downward. I guess everyone has a different perspective on society, so they take different things away from Selby's work. The hardest thing to me about reading his books is realizing that I relate to his characters more than I would like to admit.


message 3: by Stefani (new)

Stefani | 18 comments I guess I see them as survivors because the alternative is too depressing. In some instances, I think his characters are oblivious, like the mother in Requiem for a Dream.


message 4: by David (last edited Jul 20, 2010 10:44AM) (new)

David Scott (davidscott) | 2 comments I understand where you're coming from, and I can see a bit of survivor in each of them, but I'm judging them from the rate of descent they're at when their stories end. Perhaps Selby imagined these characters as finding salvation after hitting bottom, but left it up to the reader to decide which direction their lives would go after the last page is turned.


message 5: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh | 8 comments Do you recommend starting with requiem for a dream? Im not familiar with Hubert Selby Jr's work so I need a starting point.


message 6: by Stefani (new)

Stefani | 18 comments Not sure...I started with Last Exit to Brooklyn and couldn't put it down. I think it helps that there are multiple narratives going on simultaneously so you don't feel so overwhelmed with one storyline.


message 7: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh | 8 comments Okay I will check them both out and see which I feel would be best. Thanks.


message 8: by Stefani (new)

Stefani | 18 comments I liked Waiting Period as well and I feel that it's been overlooked in comparison to other Selby novels.


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