Hubert Selby Jr, author of Requiem for a Dream, Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Demon, The Room, The Willow Tree, and Song of the Silent Snow published Waiting Period in 2002 through Marion Boyars Publishers, adding another provocative novel to his repertoire of amazing literary achievements.
Although the book is quite good, and a very fast read, (something like five hours after I bought it I was finished) it doesn't quite live up to the profoundness of some of his earlier accomplishments. The central character in the book remains unnamed throughout the story, much like the main character in Fight Club. This actually adds to the dramatic elements of the story, as the man could be someone any of us know, yet never give a second thought to; He is the man you see everyday in your local coffee shop, or the man you accidentally bump into in line at the county fair.
The story is that of a man who is about to kill himself, but is forced to postpone his suicide when he is unable to buy a gun due to a computer glitch. While he is waiting for the glitch to be fixed he has an epiphany, instead of killing himself, he will exact revenge on the people who have caused him to want to end his life.

I don"t want to throw out any spoilers, because that would ruin a great book, instead I"ll focus on why I don"t think it was up to par with Selby"s past works. The story is told through a stream of conscious that takes you through the emotional ups and downs of someone who is suicidal, and eventually becomes a murderer. It is an inspired story, keeping with Selby"s tendency to look on the dark side of human life, but it never quite reaches the raw emotional level of Requiem for a Dream, or even Last Exit to Brooklyn, both novels that really had no main character in the traditional sense.
The character in Waiting Period rants and raves about the people he thinks should be dead, and the reader will probably agree with the drawn conclusion that the world would be better without them. The reader however never fully identifies with the man himself, which results in the aforementioned lack of emotional power. Perhaps it is the fact that this man is so deranged that keeps us from identifying, but I don"t buy that. In the past Selby has warmed our hearts with everything from heroin addicts to transvestites, so a depressed serial killer should be a piece of cake.

Besides the problem with identification, the book gets started like a coal train, only really speeding up in the last quarter of the book. Then once the story starts picking up momentum and drawing the reader into the murder plot, Selby begins skipping around, leaving out details, which the first three-quarters of the book were filled with. Many of the gaps in the timeline I can understand as being necessary, but it just seems off to write one way for 150 pages and then suddenly switch up near the end, even if the reader is ready for the change of pace.
This, however, by no means makes the book bad.

All in all the book is a must read for any fan of Selby, and is a great point to start from if you"ve never read any of Selby"s work before. Even though this was last endeavor in Selby"s long history of publication, I liken the differences between it and his other works to the differences between William S Burroughs first novel Junky and his other 'cut-up' works.
Waiting Period comes highly recommended, just be warned of what you are (or aren"t) getting into. 8/10

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