The Room (novel)

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The Room
The Room (Hubert Selby Jr novel) 1st edition cover.jpg
First edition
Author Hubert Selby, Jr.
Country United States
Language English
Genre Modern tragedy
Publisher Grove Press
Publication date
Media type Print
Preceded by Last Exit to Brooklyn
Followed by The Demon

The Room is the second novel by Hubert Selby, Jr., first published in 1971.[1]


The novel centers on a nameless petty criminal locked in a remand cell, and explores his feelings of impotence, hatred and rage, and fantasies of revenge.[1]


Selby described the critical reception of the book as "the greatest reviews I've ever read in my life", although in reality it was not well received.[1][2] The novel was regarded by Selby as the most disturbing book ever written, and Selby stated that he himself was unable to read it again for 20 years.[2] At least one reviewer has expressed similar feelings, with claims that reading the novel made him physically sick.[3] It has been described as "a terrifying journey into the darkest corners of the psyche."[4]

In popular culture

A section of The Room is used in Richard Linklater's Waking Life, where a red-faced man in a jail cell describes in vivid detail the abuse he intends to inflict once he is released.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "World on the fringes of writer Selby", BBC
  2. ^ a b Guttridge, Peter (2004) "Obituaries: Hubert Selby Jnr", The Independent
  3. ^ Mitchell, Chris "Hubert Selby: The Movie and The Room", Splinter Magazine
  4. ^ O'Neill, Tony (2007) "A genuinely frightening American Psycho", The Guardian
  5. ^ Selby, Hubert (1971) The Room

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