Thursday, May 13, 2010

Requiem for a Dream

Another book that was made into a movie that I have not seen. "Requiem for a Dream" was published in 1978 and written by Hubert Selby Jr. From the back of the book:

"In Coney Island, Brooklyn, Sara Goldfarb, a lonely widow, wants nothing more than to lose weight and appear on a television game show. She becomes addicted to diet pills in her obsessive quest, while her junkie son, Harry, along with his girlfriend, Marion, and his best friend, Tyrone, have devised an illicit shortcut to wealth and leisure by scoring a pound of uncut heroin. Entranced by the gleaming visions of their futures, these four convince themselves that unexpected setbacks are only temporary. Even as their lives slowly deteriorate around them, they cling to their delusions and become utterly consumed in the spiral of drugs and addiction, refusing to see that they have instead created their own worst nightmares."

There's not a lot I can add to the description above without giving too much of the book away. Selby's stream of consciousness style and lack of punctuation or breaks between the character's dialogue did take some getting used to, but after figuring out the distinct style in which each character spoke, it wasn't too much of a problem. The narrative is gritty and descriptive. At times I found myself deeply disturbed by the graphic nature and in depth detail that was given to the use of drugs, particularly heroin through needle use. I wasn't sure I was going to finish at one point with just about ten pages left to go!

The story is powerful and tragic. As the characters sank deeper from their pursuit of their dreams by their increasing self destructive behaviour, I couldn't help but feel that I was falling with them. A very emotional and real read. Highly recommended. Stay away if you're looking for a feel good book or a happy ending.

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