Ever since I first read The Demon I have been hooked on Hubert Selby Jr. His style and unique ability to tap into the dark side of humanity is unbelievable. He has this strange talent at making you care for every single character, whether or not they are criminals, murderers, or just trapped souls. Hubert Selby Jr. will no doubt go down as one of the greatest American writers ever.
This story revolves around the lives of four people, all of which become entangled in addiction. Harry, Marion and Tyrone are three druggie friends living the dream of the 70's who come across a way to get lots of cash through drug dealing. They plan on copping and cutting heroine then selling at high price to prime buyers in order to start up a coffee shop.
Sara Goldfarb, Harry's mother, receives a call from a man who says she has been picked to be on television. Her whole life mainly revolves around the TV so she is more than just excited. But, the dress she wants to wear doesn't fit her any more. So, she gets prescribed diet pills and becomes addicted for she is unaware that they are actually speed pills.
Selby's characterization is probably the best you'll ever see. He makes each character somehow familiar to you after only a chapter. Each one of the four main characters has a unique personality, different dialect, and a different dream. Sara Goldfarb, for instance, is one of the most colorful and interesting characters I've ever come across. She is somewhat estranged, not knowing exactly what is going on all of the time and also having strange conversations with her arch nemesis: the refrigerator. But, she is also charming, as each person she encounters comes to enjoy her company, as does the reader.
The fact of the matter is, Selby makes you care about the people in this book. You feel the strangest empathy for them and share their feelings and anguish. But, just when the book is at a high point, it becomes cold and bitter. The characters start to decay inside and so do you. Everything you'd want to happen to these people does, but at a very high price. It was so devastating at the end that I nearly broke down and cried. For there was no end in these people's lives. The brutal truth is that there would be no end for them. They would have to continue on their downward spiral in the current situation. This bitter and original twist makes this book all the more enjoyable to read.
Although most people won't be able to stand Selby's graphically descriptive style, most will tolerate it. And, Selby has this different style of writing that might get confusing for some. He doesn't punctuate correctly, not using quotes for the speaking parts which gets confusing as to who is currently talking. Most will think him lazy. But I simply think of him as brilliant, as will most. Because he doesn't need to use the proper writing format to get his point across. So, though most will be somewhat disgusted by the outcome of the book, it is a very unique reading experience indeed. In the end, would I recommend that people buy this book? If you're the type of unconventional reader I am, I would say yes, pick up a copy. In addition to this book, let me recommend another great new title I picked up off Amazon called "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, a very special book, both funny and sad - one I can't stop thinking about.