Sunday, March 12, 2006


Last Exit to Brooklyn

So A few days ago I finished Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby. A really interesting book. The voice is intense, like a non-stop verbal barrage of word clumps like whydoncha shuddup, thinks of that sort, some page long sentences, SOME ENTIRE SECTIONS IN CAPS. It was five major sections, if I remember right, with some intersecting characters, all in Brooklyn, most Italians. There was no overarching narrative connection between them all, except the place and the voice, and some of the characters. Each section could go and go, and Selby could really stretch a scene out until you were sure he couldn’t go anymore. How long can you read about transvestites on a Benzedrine run? Fifty pages? Sixty? Eighty? Well, he really pushes it and makes it work.

The section called Tralala was the best, if the most horrific. It follows her on a three week run from robbing sailors to just using them for money in exchange for sex. As time goes by, one week, two, she gets worse and worse, and by the end she comes back to Brooklyn to the bar she started, gets drunk drunk drunk and starts stripping and things break down and they carry her out behind the bar, and she's screaming and egging them on and then they line her up in a burned out car. It's a brutal scene which is all told in one excruciating sentence or so. Quite unreal.

Very intense, but by the time the book was done, I was done, I don't think I could have read a lot more of it.

Now I’m reading The Road to Los Angeles by John Fante, and loving it so far. Bandini again!

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