The four page sentence: Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn

Katie Lola

Written in a vernacular, beat-influenced, run-on style — closer to Allen Ginsberg than to Jack Kerouac or William S. Burroughs, “Tralala” relates the brutal career of a hooker named Tralala in a single unbroken paragraph. The story is a catalog of cruelties — cruelties that are initially inflicted by the heroine (who rolls drunk soldiers and seamen or sets them up to be rolled) and at the end are inflicted upon her. We know nothing about her family or her psychology (apart from her nihilistic avarice and her pride in her “big tits”), and, to Selby’s credit, there is no pseudomoralistic implication that her own eventual suffering represents comeuppance. In a single sentence that extends for about four pages, Tralala is gang-raped, tortured, mutilated, and possibly killed in a vacant lot; four of her acquaintances look at her broken body and roar with laughter.

“I will rise now…

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One response to “The four page sentence: Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn

  1. Thank you! And I love your poems – so beautiful! All the best.

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