Fat Phil can't lose at dice, even when his friends turn nasty and he's trying his hardest; a salesman finds success comes from fortune cookie mottoes, but panics when these mottoes turn against him; a date goes so perfectly a man talks himself out of ever seeing the woman again; a commuter finds himself obsessed with a plain young woman on his train, at the expense of his marriage. In this collection of short stories, Hubert Selby Jr. plunges the reader into the violent, passionate worlds of his protagonists and captures perfectly the delicate balance between joy and despair.
Hubert Selby, Jr. was born in Brooklyn in 1928. At the age of 15, he dropped out of school and went to sea with the merchant marines. While at sea he was diagnosed with lung disease. With no other way to make a living, he decided to try writing: 'I knew the alphabet. Maybe I could be a writer.' In 1964 he completed his first book, Last Exit to Brooklyn, which has since become a cult classic. In 1966, it was the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. His other books include The Room, The Demon, Requiem for a Dream, Song of the Silent Snow, The Willow Tree and Waiting Period. In 2000, Requiem for a Dream starred Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn and was directed by Darren Aronofsky. Hubert Selby Jr died in Highland Park, Los Angeles, California in April 2004.