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Waiting Period Paperback – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714530905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714530901
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Selby's latest offers a chilling look into the mind of a killer, as the author of Last Exit to Brooklyn uses stream-of-consciousness first-person narration to slowly transform his anonymous male narrator from a paranoid, disaffected war veteran into a deranged murderer. The catalytic event that initiates the transformation is the narrator's attempt to purchase a gun to commit suicide, but when a brief waiting period ensues, he decides instead to get even with his various tormentors. The first target is the bureaucrat at the Veterans Administration who has been denying the narrator his benefits, an alleged injustice he remedies by slipping the man a lethal dose of E. coli bacteria. The narrator goes through a brief period of killer's remorse, during which he almost confesses to a newsstand operator, but once his jitters pass, he targets a local TV celebrity for another dose of lethal bacteria. From there he goes completely over the edge, building a homemade crossbow as he explores the feasibility of using explosives to facilitate similar attacks in various cities around the country. Selby's style is relentless, harrowing and frighteningly effective, albeit somewhat monotonous and tough to read; this might have been a better novel if Selby had introduced some secondary characters and broken up the first-person narrative into chapters built around each incident. Still, in a world in which the reach of terrorism seems to grow on a daily basis, this story is a disturbing reminder of how vulnerable we are to attacks from the discontented and deranged, regardless of their location or nationality.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Here, Selby (Last Exit to Brooklyn, Requiem for a Dream) again documents obsession, this time that of a disgruntled veteran who stops short of suicide after being faced with a five-day waiting period on his handgun order. In this time, he decides that rather than sacrificing himself he will validate his existence by killing those he deems despicable. Armed with Internet-given E. Coli recipes and pipe bomb instructions, he sets out to eliminate, among others, his boss at the Veterans Administration and Big Jim Kinsley, a Southern racist wrongfully acquitted in the murder of two black doctors. Like Requiem, Waiting Period shows Selby's deftness at employing innovative punctuation and creative spelling in service to his particular narrative voice. Except for random interjections from God, this novel is narrated entirely in stream-of-consciousness first person. Since the novel's voice belongs to a somewhat whiny and paranoid murderer, it does get exhausting after a while, and some lines seem too crafted to spout spontaneously from the brain of a homicidal maniac, albeit a sensitive one. In addition, as only one perspective is presented in this novel, it lacks the lively intermingling of different voices and the seamless transitions between them that Selby exhibits so well in his other work. However, the narrative can be appreciated for its schizophrenic word association games and the narrator's ideas on checking out of the status quo. Fans of vernacular wordsmiths like Irvine Welsh and of Selby's earlier work will want to take a look. Julia LoFaso, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

This book was so flat, so completely devoid of substance.
Chris Cesary
There is action except in the mind of the narrator, a character who has about as much charisma as a putrifying egg.
Grady Harp
Honestly, I found myself looking at the spine of the book to make sure that this was really written by Selby.
Angry Mofo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Angry Mofo on February 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was critical towards The Willow Tree, Selby's 1998 comeback, but compared to Waiting Period, it reads like Requiem For A Dream. After all, The Willow Tree still not only retained some of Selby's Naturalism, but also magnified the compassion that was always present in his work but was often somewhat difficult to see. And upon having read it, I thought that, its perceived weaknesses aside, perhaps Selby mark II, having spent twenty years in literary silence, would develop this kinder side further, that he hadn't lost the plot but merely changed it. Then I saw a blurb describing Waiting Period, learned that it tells the tale of a deranged veteran whose depression leads him to become a serial murderer, and became somewhat apprehensive, to say the least. Then I actually read the thing. Unfortunately, my fears were confirmed. Waiting Period is by far Selby's worst book. Crime And Punishment it definitely ain't.
Selby's style has not changed at all since Last Exit To Brooklyn came out in the sixties. That lack of quotation marks and that abundance of run-on sentences that made Requiem For A Dream seem so feverishly vital are now just motions to go through. Waiting Period's only accomplishment is to dilute it to a stream of broken thought fragments, depriving it of any power it still had. Selby even plagiarizes himself at times - that "cops and robbers" bit on page 185 is lifted straight from Selby's 1971 novel The Room, word for word, and those depressed rants at the beginning are mighty similar to some of the ones in the aforementioned novel. Except The Room, difficult and often vicious as it was, _never_, _ever_ demanded that the reader approve of its character - on the contrary, it was a portrait of self-abasement of the lowest kind, and made sure to underscore it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Cesary on January 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book had the makings of something, at the absolute least, interesting:

Suicide, paranoid delusions, rednecks, improvised explosives, revenge killings, mafioso, religious grandiosity, TV dinners, existential crisis, firearms, and lots of misplaced self-hatred.

This book was so flat, so completely devoid of substance. There's absolutely nothing here. I have never walked away from a novel so completely unaffected (and I've read some real trash, trust me). Could this possibly be from the same guy that wrote Last Exit to Brooklyn, Requiem for a Dream, and The Room? I loved all of those, especially The Room, which shares numerous stylistic parallels with Waiting Period (although the Room was a million times more interesting and engaging than this). How Selby could create something so dead and uninspiring escapes me.

I won't go into an in-depth review of the book... go elsewhere for that - I can barely string 2 sentences together, let alone a coherent dissection of the literally merits of this book. But I'll say this: if you're a Selby fan and read over the brief description of Waiting Period and it seems interesting, don't fall for it. Skip this one.

Really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lydia Hazelwood on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't get me wrong the general idea is very good, its a great topic. But the whole book is clearly a rant. At the begining i really enjoyed it but as i went on, the ranting never stopped. The story line is enjoyable. But the on and on and on and on and on rant-style of the book
gets a little old.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "yourbudbuddha" on July 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Hubert Selby Jr. is easily one of my favorite authors, yet his latest offering, The Waiting Period, seems to lack the potency of his previous works. What made me a fan of Selby in the first place was his ability to create characters and stories that affected a change in me--writing that made me step back in emotional exhaustion, hardcore material the way only Selby could write it. In The Waiting Period I find almost none of the dark zest that permeates and saturates such Selby masterpieces as The Demon and Requiem for a Dream--in its stead have been placed the stagnant and annoying bickerings of a bitter old man.
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Format: Paperback
"Waiting Period," Selby's final novel after his comeback, and new-found enthusiasm with a new generation of readers looking in on outsider fiction, is an uninspired, flat, and short-plodding piece of fiction. Having read "Requiem..." , "Last Exit to Brooklyn," and the short stories collection "Song of the Silent Snow," I was pretty enthused to read "Waiting Period." Figuring it to be a rather quick and exhilarating read into another character's maddening state of paranoia, depression, and all things gruesomely-Selby, I dove in with an ecstatic fervor that wore out rather quickly.

At it's core, "Waiting Period" is sounds like somewhat of Stephen King short story, with a Chuck Palahnuik witty cynicism. Instead of killing yourself, why not take your revenge on those that drove you to it? Based on the nightmarish mirth and mayhem that Selby was able to deliver, so brutally and precisely in his previous novels, I couldn't wait for the horrific twists, and bold prose of "Waiting Period."

Inside, however, I found none of this. Long draw out scenes of contemplation. Dull rambling thoughts from a character Selby fails to build up into anyone we should care about or believe in. Strange scenes of pointless violence, either imagined or real pop up out of nowhere. "Waiting Perid" is a flat-out disappointment that doesn't really go anywhere. Unlike his other works I've read, getting through this short novel was a never-ending chore, that failed to pick up. Avoid at all costs.
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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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