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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s teaser is from a book I’ve had on my shelf for many weeks even though I’ve been dying to read it. Hailed as one of America’s best authors, Hubert Selby Jr. is not that widely read anymore. ‘The Room’, was described by the Times Literary Supplement as his best book and even Selby was astonished by the glowing reviews. Not even his more popular works ‘Requiem For A Dream’ (a major motion picture dealing with the perils of drugs) and ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn’ gathered as much attention as ‘The Room’. But the reviews disappeared just as quickly as they came, and the book itself disappeared from favour.

It appears that this still stands today, as it took me quite a while to locate a copy from my library. It’s a difficult text, and not for the faint-hearted. Selby isn’t one to mince his words. In fact, I had trouble finding two sentences that DIDN’T include expletives.  This segment describes children playing cowboys and indians in the streets.

The Room

“Hiding behind the tree or bush and using the rifle you slipped from the saddle holster as you slipped from your horse and shooting at your pursuer and missing an occasional shot and the bullet kachanging off a rock and the other rider slides from his horse and returns the fire  and soon everyone is crawling, running, hiding, shooting.

And everyday, before the game started everyone yelled Im a bad guy – Im a good guy, and, somehow, in a matter of seconds there were two sides and they were running, riding and shooting.”

So there it is. I wish I could put up something that was more juicy, but I don’t want to offend people. Suffice it to say that if you enjoyed the likes of ‘American Psycho’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ then you’ll definitely like this. Selby pushes the boundaries of language in many ways, without destroying the fabric of the story. Recommended for the brave!

Note: I reproduced the text as it is, because Selby had a very particular way of writing. He wasn’t keen on sticking to grammar, so any mistakes are totally intentional.

NOTE: Just realised, he’s writing in second person narrative. That’s very rare!

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