Last Exit to Brooklyn

Last Exit to Brooklyn Few novels have caused as much debate as Hubert Selby Jr s notorious masterpiece Last Exit to Brooklyn and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Irvine Welsh author of Tr

  • Title: Last Exit to Brooklyn
  • Author: Hubert Selby Jr. Gilbert Sorrentino
  • ISBN: 9780747549925
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • Few novels have caused as much debate as Hubert Selby Jr s notorious masterpiece, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting.Described by various reviewers as hellish and obscene, Last Exit to Brooklyn tells the stories of New Yorkers who at every turn confront the worst excesses in humFew novels have caused as much debate as Hubert Selby Jr s notorious masterpiece, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting.Described by various reviewers as hellish and obscene, Last Exit to Brooklyn tells the stories of New Yorkers who at every turn confront the worst excesses in human nature Yet there are moments of exquisite tenderness in these troubled lives Georgette, the transvestite who falls in love with a callous hoodlum Tralala, the conniving prostitute who plumbs the depths of sexual degradation and Harry, the strike leader who hides his true desires behind a boorish masculinity, are unforgettable creations Last Exit to Brooklyn was banned by British courts in 1967, a decision that was reversed the following year with the help of a number of writers and critics including Anthony Burgess and Frank Kermode.Hubert Selby, Jr 1928 2004 was born in Brooklyn, New York 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

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    About "Hubert Selby Jr. Gilbert Sorrentino"

    1. Hubert Selby Jr. Gilbert Sorrentino

      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 Drawing from the soul of his Brooklyn neighborhood, he began writing something called The Queen Is Dead, which evolved, after six years, into his first novel, Last Exit to Brooklyn 1964 , a book that Allen Ginsberg predicted would explode like a rusty hellish bombshell over America and still be eagerly read in a hundred years Selby s second novel, The Room 1971 , considered by some to be his masterpiece, received, as Selby said, the greatest reviews I ve ever read in my life, then rapidly vanished leaving barely a trace of its existence Over the years, however, especially in Europe, The Room has come to be recognized as what Selby himself perceives it to be the most disturbing book ever written, a book that he himself was unable to read again for twenty years after writing it A man obsessed is a man possessed by a demon Thus the defining epigraph of The Demon 1976 , a novel that, like The Room, has been better understood and widely embraced abroad than at home.If The Room is Selby s own favorite among his books, Requiem for a Dream 1978 contains his favorite opening line Harry locked his mother in the closet It is perhaps the truest and most horrific tale of heroin addiction ever written Song of the Silent Snow 1986 brought together fifteen stories whose writing spanned than twenty years.Selby continued to write short fiction, screenplays and teleplays at his apartment in West Hollywood His work appeared in many journals, including Yugen, Black Mountain Review, Evergreen Review, Provincetown Review, Kulchur, New Directions Annual, Swank and Open City For the last 20 years of his life, Selby taught creative writing as an adjunct professor in the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California Selby often wryly noted that The New York Times would not review his books when they were published, but he predicted that they d print his obituary.The movie Last Exit to Brooklyn, Directed by Uli Edel, was made in 1989 and his 1978 novel Requiem for a Dream was made into a film that was released in 2000 Selby himself had a small role as a prison guard In the 1980s, Selby made the acquaintance of rock singer Henry Rollins, who had long admired Selby s works and publicly championed them Rollins not only helped broaden Selby s readership, but also arranged recording sessions and reading tours for Selby Rollins issued original recordings through his own 2.13.61 publications, and distributed Selby s other works.During the last years of his life, Selby suffered from depression and fits of rage, but was always a caring father and grandfather The last month of his life Selby spent in and out of the hospital He died in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California of chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease Selby was survived by his wife of 35 years, Suzanne four children and 11 grandchildren.

    597 thoughts on “Last Exit to Brooklyn”

    1. Harrowing portraits of men hating women, mothers hating children, and the truly devastating absence of love A phenomenal work of art that s raw, revolting, insidious Owes a large debt to the dementedness of M d Sade, though the prose as stark and jarring, as opaque, as a broken shard of obsidian is just damn Beautiful.I can suddenly hear from my window some kind of requiem coming on


    2. This novel was like a car packed with high explosives and driven into the middle of American literature and left there to explode in a fireball of nitroglycerine sentences containing jagged ugly words which could shear your mind in two I can t believe how powerful it still is, I read it years ago and it seared my thoughts and turned me inside out, and it practically did the same again even though a lot of cruelty and evil violence and scenes of underclass horror have flowed from other writers of [...]


    3. I read Last Exit to Brooklyn a few years ago, when I actually lived in the titular city and tried to run a regular drinking session where my friends and I discussed incest book club I chose this book for its reputation, a trusted friend s personal recommendation, and because Hubert Selby Jr also wrote Requiem for a Dream never read, love the movie Though I generally have a sunny disposition, I also have a penchant for sad songs, movies about addiction, and slutty women It is a reflection of a co [...]


    4. Rare is the book that leaves me so disoriented and raw nerved When I finished this I sat slack jawed for a minute letting my cigarette burn out and trying to fix my mind on something anything This is an excruciatingly penetrating vision of the total dregs a narrative of self delusion, rough trade, addiction and thanatos thanatos thanatos Selby, Jr never seems to slant toward exploitation or pulp and strangely enough, in spite of the godawful hopeless hate filled suckers that populate his writing [...]


    5. Had I read this at the time of release in 1964 it would have seemed like being struck by a lightning bolt from hell where one was made to feel sick, disgusted and appalled by it s graphic depiction of pretty much the worst that human behaviour has to offer Fast forward to 2015 and nothing has changed, this is a shocking, gut wrenching read which creates a vision of hell on earth for a bunch of New Yorkers who are just about as far away from the american dream as possible Selby Jr was a genius in [...]


    6. Good God, this is a brutal book The writing style s brilliant, but the stories are so vivid that the pain of the characters is visceral It s not a novel so much as it s a series of short stories that tie together to portray the hell hole that was 1950 s Brooklyn There was a whole obscenity case about this book when it was published in the early 1960 s the story that received the most attention for being obscene, however, was not the one I found most painful The most infamous story was Tralala , [...]


    7. A searing sift through the slurried slums of post war Brooklyn The only book that uses shock, violence and vulgarity to depict a world of tragic isolation that truly pierces the heart, gets you so deeply you feel you are THERE, in this boneyard of brittle bones and broken bodies, crying and fighting and fucking and SHOUTING AT YER FREAKIN KIDS TA SHUT THERE TRAPS Selby s editor on this book was Gilbert Sorrentino, who helped Selby refine his extraordinarily precise style, his pitch perfect dialo [...]


    8. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION Grabbed this from my stash Saturday evening and started blazing through it, rapt Could not put it down Finished SundayUncompromising portrait of petty slothfulness and violence in grim Brooklyn in the 1950s The 1989 Jennifer Jason Leigh film was fine and disturbing, but it can t capture the earnest immediacy of this book and the machine gun style of expression of the colloquialisms and the stream of consciousness This is masterly, it seems to have flowed off Selby s finger [...]


    9. My second Selby and I was just as amazed My first one of him was his 1978 published book, Requiem for a Dream 4 stars also Hubert Selby, Jr 1928 2004 wrote like no other or maybe I have not encountered those others yet I have encountered Saramago s and Garcia Marquez s novels with practically no punctuation marks Selby s had some but he substituted apostrophes with forward slashes According to Wiki, Selby s reason for this was the symbol s proximity to his typewriter, thus allowing uninterrupted [...]


    10. The high ratings and high praise for this book put me in mind of the following scenario a group of people stand around a display at a gallery simply, a pile of shit upon a table The idiots surrounding the table do not dare to let the others know their hidden truth they don t don t get it, it looks like shit to them No one wants to be the first and possibly look the fool, so they begin to ascribe to it those catch phrase buzzwords they ve heard others use in similar situations Brutal Truth Avant [...]


    11. Hubert Selby s travelogue brings you deep into an exotic land you ve never visited before I mean, technically Sunset Park in Brooklyn is like ten minutes away on foot, but Brooklyn s come a long way in forty years and I don t know anyone like anyone in this book, which is great for me because there is an awful lot of rape going on.And the thing is that Selby is such a terrific observer of people, and he has this wonderful sympathy for them, so he gets you inside even the most loathsome of charac [...]


    12. It is wrong that Last Exit to Brooklyn didn t shock me as much with its events as its insight I don t mean to sound all rough and tough, I grew up in a working class Chicago neighborhood, but I knew people a couple steps removed from Selby s characters Maybe people feel better when they frame the Last Exit to Brooklyn universe as far away from home, but the novel s power s in the transposition of the darkness to the every day I mean, there are people feel the same as these characters all around, [...]



    13. I d previously thought that recent authors chronicling amoral and desperate lives in blunt direct terms say, Bret Easton Ellis and Irvine Welsh owed a lot to Bukowski in particular But Last Exit to Brooklyn both predates Bukowski s first novel and points most directly ahead to the likes of Trainspotting Except this is obliteratingly bitter, deathly demoralizing Selby s vision is positively apocalyptic, but only in the most frighteningly believable terms.


    14. I can picture this book being read in college literature classes I am sure that it deserves its place in modern American Literature and I am also sure that this book and Selby have their fans I won t dispute his genius My rating is not based on the merit of the book, but on whether I liked it and the truth is that I found this book to be repulsive and nauseating I think that I was expecting it to be sort of like Kennedy s Iron Weed which I liked but much darker but Last Exit isn t dark it is li [...]


    15. One of the best books I have ever read, hands down I discovered it at a time where I was aching to find the style that best suited me as a reader, the genre above all others that roped me in and never let go Selby helped me find it After reading the inside of the box for the film, Requiem for a Dream , I was compelled to find this book that Darren Aronofsky, the director, adored so much He was from Brooklyn, and the Brooklyn that is described here, so it certainly has much meaning for him But a [...]


    16. Before I write the review can I say that the only thing that kept me going was the SMELL of this book lol what s better than the smell of a new book is actually the smell of a veryyy old one Unfortunately this book wasn t what I excepted it to be, I usually like old books written in the 50s or 60s I like to read them to see how life was back then, picking this up I expected to get a perspective of how it was like to be transgender gay drug addict prostitute in New York during the 50s but what Se [...]


    17. I m very confused about this book It s supposed to be a literary classic, which is how I think it ended up on our work book club list, but I don t understand why The only conclusion I come to is that it s purely because of the time it was written and how obscene it is In the 21st century, I probably watch edgy stuff regularly on TV Hannibal and True Detective spring to mind , so perhaps the shock factor is gone for me But I really can t think of anything I liked about it Found the structure puz [...]


    18. Just reread this for my book group, having first read it umpteen years ago Still a powerful and disturbing experience, though time has reduced the impact of its graphic tales of drugs, street violence, gang rape, homosexuality, transvestism and domestic violence As I was rereading I was struck by the parallels with Trainspotting, both in the depiction of street life and the extensive use of an unpunctuated vernacular What Last Exit to Brooklyn lacks in comparison with Trainspotting is any humour [...]


    19. An truly unsettling read, as all of the Selby I ve read to date has been Nauseating at some points.One thing I remember about this book was that the explicit spelling out of gruff, blue collar, New Yawk accents kind of like the NYC equivalent to the way that Mark Twain captured thick southern accents in Huck Finn, etc was so grating and constant that I literally was hallucinating mildly that everyone around me in northeast Illinois was speaking with these accents after setting down the book whil [...]


    20. This book is brutal, but fantastic There are no likeable characters here, but you can t help but feel sorry for the desperate situations they are in at times A portrayal of the nastiest, lowest forms of character amongst us A much cruder version of the human conditions that Emile Zola wrote about almost a century previous to this I m wondering why I ve not read this before now Looking forward to reading of his work.


    21. Last Exit to Brooklyn is a book you will argue about with friends and family You ll either spend hours days, weeks explaining why it s a brilliant masterwork or spend an equal amount of time lecturing people on why it is terrible Having spent the last few weeks arguing with people about this book I have come to the conclusion that everyone experiences art individually The creation of art is a totally individual experience and everyone will experience that book, movie, song or painting in a wholl [...]


    22. This book turned me into a transparent, impalpable entity and sent me back in time to the harsh, ruthless but incredibly alive quarter of Brooklyn in the 1950 s letting me observe a number of local souls going about their daily life, struggling to survive, trying to grasp pleasure and avoid pain whenever they can, dealing with their internal demons while the world around them continues its eternal assault There is no pity, no forgiveness, no respect to be expected where weakness is shown, instea [...]


    23. My first book by Shelby Jr And definitely not the last I need to read Requiem for a dream by him after this, as it is one of my favourite movies and I have come to love his style of writing This book provides ample glimpse of the obsessive and the Underground that is prominently featured in Requiem for a dream.The book is structured into parts that are introduced with a verse from the Bible and the contents are anything but moral in a way they are, as it showcases the frailty of mortality and th [...]


    24. This book was chosen for my book club It didn t sound like my cup of tea, but I thought I d give it a try you can t like ALL the books you read for a book club, can you To say I did not enjoy this book would be a vast understatement I detested the writing style The dialogue was not separated and quite difficult to follow This presupposes that I actually wanted to know who was speaking anyway The subject matter was utterly bereft of anything good The characters were mean spirited, lazy, overindul [...]


    25. seriously there were actually a couple of times I had to put this down because it was so brutal it was scaring me, it literally made my heart race, but not in a spooky scary, it was in a wow this actually is happening somewhere in the world , it has such an air of truth about it that it gave me shivers on multiple occasions absolutely amazing book.


    26. There are two books that every wholesome American boy and girl should read The Grapes of Wrath and The Last Exit to Brooklyn This is quintessential Americana mixed with broken hearts and broken teeth.


    27. Controversy has always surrounded Selby, Jr s writing From the start, with Last Exit being his first novel , his original UK publisher Calder and Boyers faced government prosecution in 1967, under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act It was a major trial, especially as it was originally found guilty of being obscene , and because, importantly, the Appeal in 1968 overturned that decision and paved the way for a much open minded interpretation of literature as to merit.In some interviews, and in on [...]


    28. I grew up in Brooklyn, and I live here now so people are sometimes impressed by the length of my tenure and my selection of back in the early 1980s stories At least until they realize that I m from Park Slope, which is like being from the Upper West Side of Manhattan sure, it probably had its rough spots, but no one is ever going to give you credit for surviving the rough streets of Riverside Drive This is particularly true when you run into someone else who grew up in Brooklyn, and play the so [...]


    29. Easily one of the most scarring books I ve ever had the fortune yes, you read that right to read This book is like a brief trip to hell It s full of the absolute worst humans imaginable cruel, brutish, stupid, common, empty meat suits and yet you get no pleasure from their screams In fact, their lack of humanity makes their horrifying lives even worse, because they don t even seem to know how appalling their circumstances are This book combines the drawn out frustration of Kafka s Castle with th [...]


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