'It is quite an experience to be locked up all by yourself in any size room' says the anonymous narrator of Hubert Selby Jr.'s second novel. What follows is a startling series of recollections and fantasies that illuminate the workings of a prisoner's unhinged mind. He yearns for his violent childhood, rages against obscure authorities, and imagines enacting horrible revenge on those who imprisoned him. The prisoner's remand cell becomes the scene of a surreal mental torture. Disorienting, nightmarish and structurally inventive, "The Room" is a shocking examination of the suffering humans can inflict on each other.
Hubert Selby, Jr. was born in Brooklyn in 1928. At the age of 15, he dropped out of school and went to sea with the merchant marines. While at sea he was diagnosed with lung disease. With no other way to make a living, he decided to try writing: 'I knew the alphabet. Maybe I could be a writer.' In 1964 he completed his first book, Last Exit to Brooklyn, which has since become a cult classic. In 1966, it was the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. His other books include The Room, The Demon, Requiem for a Dream, Song of the Silent Snow, The Willow Tree and Waiting Period. In 2000, Requiem for a Dream starred Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn and was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Hubert Selby Jr died in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California in April 2004.
Selby's best book The TLS A terrifying journey into the darkest corners of the psyche Guardian Selby deploys street slang, common speech, argot and scatology to create a high poetic art...it seems to derive from the greatest American poetry--Whitman, Pound, Williams, and Olson The Nation One must be grateful to Selby for his fatal vision and strong, original talent Newsweek 'Selby's place is in the front rank of American novelists ... to understand his work is to understand the anguish of America.' New York Times Book Review It's absolutely horrific ... but just about the most powerful novel I've ever read The Times
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ROOM BY HUBERT SELBY JR
Penguin Modern Classics