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27/01/2005

Toshes sur Selby

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"To begin to define Selby's brilliance and power, you have to go back to the rhythms of Homer, Hesiod, and Sappho; back to the dark and light and beauty of Dante; and back to what lay beyond and beneath that sign on the Belt Parkway from which he took the title of his first novel. Everything that Herman Melville, that other great ex-seaman, and no stranger to Brooklyn, is held up to be in the pantheon of American literature, Hubert Selby, Jr., is. What Moby Dick was to Melville's century, Last Exit to Brooklyn is to ours, and between the two, Selby's is the better book. If that be called heresy, know that it be called so only by those of the same dead mind as they who allowed Melville to die unknown. There are only a few American writers who are in Selby's league, and in a wholly different way: Peter Matthiessen at his best; Philip Roth, maybe, when he takes off his yarmulke. And if you want to talk about living fucking legends, when it comes to writers, Selby is the only game in town. I mean, this guy should be wearing fucking laurel leaves and pulling down a million a year."                                                                         (Nick Toshes)

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