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Waiting Period (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 26 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141195681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141195681
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

When Selby decides to attack, it is with the shock of a practised mugger and with the speed and economy of a poet (The Los Angeles Times )

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 )

About the Author

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.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lomesa on 27 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Selby's last book is a comparative easy read in his output.

In no way as complex as his other works, it nonetheless raises familiar questions on action, redemption and consequence, maintaining a level of immediacy and freshness through its brevity.

We don't recognise the protagonist, we affiliate with his thoughts and (twisted) logic.

Perfectly paced, this is a final meditation on familiar themes; a fitting swan song.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bobbygw on 29 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Selby is one of the true masters of contemporary (20th century) fiction. He has always been uncompromising, since his very first novel that caused such outrage and impact (Last Exit to Brooklyn).

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 to authority).

There are several powerful reasons to read this novel: one, is that it speaks up for thsoe who are most often made silent - the vast majority of the wasted, used, exploited, unemployed, unknown. The narrator of the story speaks directly to you, which is powerful enough in itself. But then you find through his narration that he is one of the many neglected, ignored underclass - he has served the government, he has done his duty - and all he is left with is the endless arbitrage with dealing with government bureaucracy as a war veteran. Ultimately, being ignored over too much time, and feeling, in conclusion, desperately suicidal, he decides to buy a gun and kill himself. But there's a glitch in the computer system, and the few days it takes for him to get the gun, makes him completely re-interpret his purpose and - well, r'aison d'etre.

There are many powerful elements in this novel: not least, that you are drawn in, as a reader, from the outset to the end, to the narrator's own viewpoint; you have no other. He decides, instead of killing himself, he should kill at least the principal figure who controls the finances of the government administration and who, automatically, continues to deny him his rightful claims to support.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hubert Selby Jr.'s world is one of violence and hatred, in one word, of `homo homini lupus' (e.g., Last Exit to Brooklyn, the Pusher trilogy). It is a world for loners.

In this book, the main character, a rather simple mind, is confronted with a hostile bureaucracy (a `system to frustrate us so we'll stop trying to get the benefits we deserve'), fanatic and murderous religions (`These holy men of god kill millions and millions of people in the name of god, but you can't take your own life.'), greedy corporations ('What do the lives of a few million people mean if they get in the way of the Bottom Line.') or war (`Millions starving, hundreds of thousands massacred women and children hacked and burned.')
Seeing no solution for the world's evils coming from others and after rejecting suicide during `a waiting period', the innocent mind chooses the path of the `faultless warrior': `The problem is once you start thinking of slime-balls in the world the list is endless. Well, I have plenty of time, a lifetime actually.'
He believes strongly that he has a mission of revenge against the cost cutters, the butchers of the unbelievers, the warmongers and the bureaucrats. His law is `an eye for an eye' and he takes this law in his own hands.

`Waiting Period' is a schizophrenic text, driven by associations. An interior monologue alternates with `objective' interventions of a Guardian Angel, who comments, admires or gives advice to his brother, the 'Angel of Wrath'.
`Waiting Period' is a brutal text without any compromise. Only for the aficionados.
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