Book blog

1000 before 30 #24: Requiem for a dream – Hubert Selby Jr.

A beautiful high followed by a crashing, gut-wrenching low.

requiem for a dreamThere’s no sitting on the wall with ‘Requiem for a dream’. It is one of the most spectacular, stick-a-knife-in-your-ribs kind of story where the characters speak with such personality and strength that it is genuinely hard to digest all at once.

Tv-stealing casual junkie Harry and his girlfriend Marion’s relationship spirals into drug-infuelled darkness, while Tyrone C. Love and Harry scour for their next high on the broken and violent streets of New York.

Although the dialogue between the characters above is exceptional, I believe that Harry’s mother Sara Goldfarb is the true star of this story. Seldom has my heart gone out to a character so innocent, so ignorant of the dangers of cutting corners. While going on an extreme diet before appearing on a promised television show, she proves just how hard not eating can be without mother’s little helpers.

Her yakking at the fridge, the ‘trainspotting’ style television show apparitions and her simple conviction that all would be right at the end and that her son would do well is both fascinating and simply heartbreaking. The way she was treated at the end angered me more than I could have believed possible.

But what is the foursome willing to sacrifice to achieve their individual dreams?

This is one of my favourite reads so far this year. The storyline flows brilliantly, and Selby provides a masterpiece of bleak and broken proportions.

To clarify, I haven’t watched the film version of the story, but for those of you who do, the book is still well worth the time.

Creative commons image courtesy of Alana Veitch

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