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Requiem for a Dream: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Hubert Selby Jr. , Darren Aronofsky , Richard Price
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An evocative, poignant saga of four people trapped—and ultimately destroyed—by their addictions

Sara Goldfarb is devastated by the death of her husband. She spends her days watching game shows and obsessing over appearing on television as a contestant—and her prescription diet pills only accelerate her mania. Her son, Harry, is living in the streets with his friend Tyrone and girlfriend Marion, where they spend their days selling drugs and dreaming of escape. When their heroin supply dries up, all three descend into an abyss of dependence and despair, their lives, like Sara’s, doomed by the destructive power of drugs.
Tragic and captivating, Requiem for a Dream is one of Selby’s most powerful works, and an indelible portrait of the ravages of addiction.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Hubert Selby Jr. including rare photos from the author’s estate.

Editorial Reviews


“One of the greatest novels of the century.” —The Nation
“A major American author of a stature with William Burroughs and Joseph Heller.” —Los Angeles Times
”Selby's place is in the front rank of American novelists . . . to understand his work is to understand the anguish of America.” —The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Hubert Selby Jr. (1928–2004) was a celebrated author of nine novels, including the classic bestseller Last Exit to Brooklyn. His other novels include Requiem for a Dream, The Room, and The Demon. Selby’s fiction, which was championed by writers such as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was noted for its gritty portrayal of addiction and urban despair, and has influenced generations of authors, artists, and musicians. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Selby died in Los Angeles in 2004.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2599 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (December 13, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006D23DBW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
226 of 236 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense and Heartrending June 3, 2003
Hubert Selby's 1978 novel "Requiem for a Dream" must certainly rank as one of the most effective depictions of addiction ever written. A critically acclaimed film of the same name, released in 2000 and directed by Darren Aronofsky, has brought more attention to the novel. Although I have yet to see the film, I decided to read the book before watching the movie because I wanted to know what dark visions await me when I finally slide that DVD into the player. If the story is any indication, the film promises a devastating experience. This is not a sunshine and smiles book. It is an unflinching look at addiction and its consequences.
There are four central characters in "Requiem for a Dream." There is Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow who spends her days watching television, eating chocolate covered cherries, and pining for her late husband Seymour. Harry Goldfarb, Sara's black sheep of a son, is another main character. Harry's circle of acquaintances includes his girlfriend Marion, an intelligent, attractive young girl with a talent for painting but paralyzed with defeatist and self-loathing feelings. Harry's best friend is Tyrone C. Love, a young black man who grew up poor in Harlem but would like to escape from the harsh realities of the street. While minor characters come and go during the course of the story, Selby focuses on these four in an attempt to show the trajectory of doom associated with addiction.
Things do not seem to go very wrong throughout the first part of the book. It is summer in New York City and time for fun and sun. Harry, Tyrone, and Marion spend their time partying with their friends, listening to music, and enjoying each other's company. Sara watches her television shows and eats her candy in blissful peace, only occasionally worrying about what her son Harry is up to.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How low can you go? November 1, 2000
I've read several books, and seen several movies regarding drug addiction. But none of them compare to "Requiem for a Dream," by far the most accurate and frightening works on the subject. Selby not only gets into the mind of Sara, Harry, Marion and Tyrone, but into the monster itself: addiction. Like a cancer, addiction eats away at ones' soul and dignity.
From the beginning the characters are already in a pretty sad state - but they all have dreams. And their dreams are what keep the vicious cycle going.
Sara's story made me the saddest. She's so oblivious and so lonely; it's heartbreaking to read. I found Sara's descent so frightening in that she honestly has no clue what's happening to her. Towards the end, I would cringe when a "Sara paragraph" came up as her agony became unbearable for me.
Not to discount the others' plights. What made their stories disturbing to me was how they would constantly set new guidelines and restrictions just to keep their habits going. Their decline is so rapid and at times, hard to read. But then again, I was also facinated ("addicted"??) and couldn't put the book down.
I saw the movie first before reading the book. That being said, the actors certainly did their homework in understanding their characters. Superb performances by all four, especially Ellen Burnstyn. Hoping Hollywood will ignore the NC-17 rating a recognize those who really deserve an Oscar nod.
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a shattering story on delusions of grandeur April 1, 1999
By A Customer
Even though, on the face of it, this book may appear excessive and brutal in the latter stages, the true worth of this novel comes from its subtlety. The reader stands in the foothills of hope and glory for all 3 characters at the start, expectations high, their hope feeding into us as we watch there small lives unfold. The book has a pivot that lasts for a very short time as we see them at the pinnacle of their hopes and we are drawn into thinking it all could happen.
But with a Selby novel, you know that things will not work out the way you think. What happens is a set of events whereby with each downfall we wonder how the character got there but know that the reasons are imperceptible from the last event.
On a downward spiral, this book shows human determination in the extreme. Each person, with only one thing in mind, do anything to sustain the dream, deceiving each other and themselves.
I almost wanted to cry after reading this book, coupled with the fact that I have read most of Selby's books, I feel as if I have read the best set of books ever written about human nature, and I am hollow in the knowledge that I will not find anything quite the same
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will make your soul cry February 4, 2005
Every now and then a book will come along that will move you in ways that are indescribable, uplifting you to the zenith of joy or dropping you into the pits of emotional hell. `Requiem' takes you to hell, slowly descending the steps as you feel life and hope and love failing, falling away from you like strips of rotting flesh.

In Darren Aronofsky's forward (Director of the movie) he mentions that the hero of this story is Addiction, and the more you read, the more you grasp the truth of these words. This really isn't a story of Sara or Harry or Marion or Tyrone, but about Addiction and how it changes their lives forever, triumphing over the good that they once held in their hearts.

Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow, receives a phone call telling her that she has one a chance to be a contestant on a television show. With television already her constant companion, Sara becomes extremely excited and vows to loose weight so that she can fit into her red dress for the show. But loneliness and diets don't work well together, so Sara goes to a doctor and gets diet pills.

Sara's son Harry is a junkie, and when he and his friend Tyrone Love come across some `dyn-o-mite' heroin, they hatch plans to score a pound of pure, dreaming that this will be their ticket to the easier life they long for. Harry's girlfriend Marion is a wanna-be artist who is waiting for life to happen to her, and she believes she has found what she had been seeking with Harry.

Their addictions grow, eating alive everything important to our four characters, their dreams, their hopes, their love, their friendships, their health, and their souls. This is the story of a savage beast running rampant through their lives, devouring humanity without regard or regret.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read
Usually the book is better than the movie, but not in this case. The style it is written in is hard to read. There are run on sentences, a lack of paragraphs. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Tonya Chapin
3.0 out of 5 stars Filthy, but....
Filthy book but accurate in its' portrayal of drug and alcohol addiction. Hard to read, Selby does not use a lot of punctuation. Makes conversations difficult to follow. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Paul C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, unless you only like "easy" reads
This book is different. If you like your book to be structured properly then this is not for you. I actually enjoy the challenge. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Bryan Mackey
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Troubling But Incredible
From page one this book wouldn't let me go. Mostly I feel terrible for the world these people have fallen into. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Reviewing My Stuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and thought provoking
I loved this books ability to transform the way I think about addiction and the people trapped in their constant need for consumption, whether it be drugs or tv or food etc. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Nankivell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A depressing book but interesting.
Published 2 months ago by ron
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Very disturbing! Loved it!
Published 2 months ago by Rachel Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything that I had expected, and more!
Published 2 months ago by Grant W. Doan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
This book is a must read for anyone wanting a better understanding of drug culture. The authors writing style brings the characters to life.
Published 3 months ago by Book Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 3 months ago by N. Lee
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More About the Author

Hubert Selby Jr. (1928-2004), was a celebrated author of nine novels, including the classic bestseller Last Exit to Brooklyn. His other novels include Requiem for a Dream, The Room, and The Demon. Selby's fiction, which was championed by writers such as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was noted for its gritty portrayal of addiction and urban despair, and has influenced generations of authors, artists, and musicians. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Selby died in Los Angeles in 2004.

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