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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly intense and disturbing novel
This is a well written and powerful novel. However it is extremely disturbing in places and is neither an easy nor a pleasant read.
I found it difficult at first to have any understanding or empathy with the central character as his sickeningly sadistic revenge fantasies are exposed. However, it becomes obvious that in reality he is an ineffectual man who is allowing...
Published on 27 Sep 2001 by Amazon Customer

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3.0 out of 5 stars The (Disturbed) Room
This was a hard book to read. It doesn't flow as much as splurge the material on the page in front of you.
It deals with a man imprisoned in a cell and his feelings and fantasies on how things are and how things could be.
It's written in a way that makes it quite hard to follow which is real and which is made up (well some of it is quite clear!) but it swings...
Published on 11 Aug 2011 by Gav1377


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly intense and disturbing novel, 27 Sep 2001
This review is from: The Room (Paperback)
This is a well written and powerful novel. However it is extremely disturbing in places and is neither an easy nor a pleasant read.
I found it difficult at first to have any understanding or empathy with the central character as his sickeningly sadistic revenge fantasies are exposed. However, it becomes obvious that in reality he is an ineffectual man who is allowing his obsessions to destroy him both physically and mentally.
I was glad that I forced myself to finish this novel, but will not be re-visiting it in a hurry. I would recommend readers new to this author to start with 'The Demon', which is equally effective in delivering its messages but is a more mature and less intense tale.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An opera of destructive rage, 1 Jun 2010
By 
S. Singh (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Room (Paperback)
This novel is about one man locked up in a prison cell, who spends a considerable amount of time fantasising about what he would like to do to the police officers who he blames for incarcerating him. The prisoner's sadistic fantasies about the treatment he would mete out to those police officers are so extreme and unrealistic that they are relatively less disturbing than other parts of the novel, although they are important because they offer an insight into how deluded the human mind can become when it is so warped with anger and rage.

There is an episode in the novel, about a dozen pages long, which is the single most disturbing piece of writing I have ever read. It is when the prisoner fantasises about the police officers abducting, raping and torturing an innocent female motorist. Selby writes with skill and detail to lay bare the officers' abuse of power and cruelty, and the effect their actions have on their victim. Whilst the rape is simply a product of the prisoner's imagination, the air of authenticity it has leaves the reader feeling great compassion for the victim, and feeling sick at the behaviour of the officers. It is an extremely powerful piece of writing. The episode is also important within the novel, as the prisoner uses it as the basis for subsequent fantasies about cross-examining the officers in court.

The gap between the prisoner's imagined cross-examination of the officers and the manner of his actual cross-examination, which crumbles in the face of the court's procedures, highlights the central theme of this novel, which is the gap between fantasy and reality. There is a glaring disparity between the prisoner's fantasies of power and glory, and the reality of his powerless position in a prison cell at the mercy of the state. This gap between fantasy and reality makes the prisoner suffer even more, and we can empathise with him, as we are all subject to the suffering that injustice, anger and delusion can bring.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tormented, 27 Dec 2009
By 
T. H. Osman "fatman" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Room (Paperback)
No one does psychological torment like Hubert Selby Jr....in fact from my experience no one does it ANYTHING LIKE Hubert Selby Jr. I came to this book having already read "Last Exit..." and "The Demon" and since have also read "The Willow Tree". Every one of these works is a magnificent insight into the human condition. If you are going to read Selby-and if you are interested in the expression of emotion in all its primal immediacy-you really should, then don't make this your first port of call, but make sure that some way down the line you do take the plunge because this is a work of perfectly realised pain and fury like nothing else you are likely to ever come across. Not everything in Selby's work is bleak and desolate, "The Willow Tree" for instance contains such clear feelings of love within its pages that the horror and ugliness displayed is somewhat counterbalanced-from this the scale of Selby's appreciation of the human condition can be better understood.

"The Room" on the other hand is ugly as ugly can be. Presented entirely as the internal workings of one wholy unsympathetic character, this book is a claustrophobic nightmare of dirt and malice. There is no love, there is no hope and there is no beauty within these pages. What there is is a spiraling tornado of twisted, malignant fantasies that spin further and further out of control. The power of this extreme internal outpouring is even greater because it occurs within such a banal external reality. The whole story is set within one small prison cell, the room of the title. From such a simple setting Selby realises and presents a psychological perception so totally extreme and yet utterly convincing as to be almost overwhelming.

Selby employs a very simple use of language in his writing. There is no outlet for sophisticated and convoluted prose. All the more impressive then that he should be able to present so clearly and powerfully the state of the human condition. Hubert Selby Jr was an artist of the heart and a master within the realms of storytelling and characterisation. Many would no doubt never wish to be shown how ugly a mind can be, but for those who do this book will show you such a world and will leave you in no doubt as to its authenticity.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bile spews from every page, 17 Mar 2014
By 
High Seas Drifter (On the road in Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Room (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Last Exit To Brooklyn is a masterpiece. The Room, clearly, is not.

The premise is interesting enough: a man locked in a cell fantasises about the revenge he would take on the two officers he believes wrongly arrested him and led to his incarceration. The story jumps back and forth to bis unhappy childhood, and we gain an insight into why this man has so much hate for the world.

The rape and torture fantasies are grim. Truly grim. If you've read American Psycho, these fantasies are up there with the depravity in that novel.

I felt like I needed a shower after reading this book. In bleach.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A deeply disturbing novel. Read with caution., 26 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Room (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Selby's books are renowned for their unique style, explicit content, and disturbing content. The Room is a prime example of this. In the novel, Selby delves into the darkest corners of the human mind with moments that are so hypnotically harrowing that it is almost impossible to tear your eyes from the page. You will find this book difficult to put down, but will immediately regret turning the first page.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The (Disturbed) Room, 11 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Room (Paperback)
This was a hard book to read. It doesn't flow as much as splurge the material on the page in front of you.
It deals with a man imprisoned in a cell and his feelings and fantasies on how things are and how things could be.
It's written in a way that makes it quite hard to follow which is real and which is made up (well some of it is quite clear!) but it swings from his deluded dreams of bringing the corrupt system to justice, with himself as champion, to his desires for retribution on the unfortunate police officers who, apparently, arrested him.
His tirade on the things he would do to these officers is often disgusting and far reaching (I don't believe there is a low he wouldn't stoop to), but this is probably best left to be read.
All in all I didn't find this book enjoyable or even very interesting in the way that American Psycho is and it kind of whimpered over the line for me
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3.0 out of 5 stars No-one but H Selby could have written this!, 14 May 2011
By 
F Drew (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Room (Paperback)
The only other novel I have read by Hubert Selby and while it doesn't have the same power and grip over you that 'Last Exit..' has, it is still a very original book. It is an insane story, a sadistic revenge fantasy of an incarcerated man.
The full depth of human depravity is pretty much explored here, as the main character, in the confines of his prison cell, dreams of all the hideous, revolting things he can do to those who have wronged him. Despite this, H Selby still manages to let both the humanity of the protaganist and that within the whole story to come through, proving that he really was one of the best writers of his time.

There are, without doubt, many extremely sick passages in the story, not without humour at times, but which will make almost everyone feel, to varying degrees, queasy and disturbed.

This novel isn't as important as 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' but I think is worth exploring if you are curious about Selby's work, and the very provocative role he clearly had in modern, American writing.
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The Room (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Room (Penguin Modern Classics) by Hubert Selby Jr. (Paperback - 25 Aug 2011)
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