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The Willow Tree (Advance Reading Copy)

Hubert Selby

580 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0714531391 / ISBN 13: 9780714531397
Published by Marion Boyers, New York City, 1998
Used Condition: Fine Soft cover
From Rob Warren Books (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

Unusual format. Wraps in the published hard cover dust wrapper. Bookseller Inventory # 001086

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Willow Tree (Advance Reading Copy)

Publisher: Marion Boyers, New York City

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Wrappers

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title


“A major American novelist of a stature with William Burroughs and Joseph Heller.”—Los Angeles Times

Bobby is young and black. Barely a teenager, he is old beyond his years. The best thing in Bobby’s life is Maria, his Hispanic girlfriend.

However, their lives are irrevocably shattered when a vicious Hispanic street gang attack the couple. When Bobby’s bruised and bloodied body is discovered by Moishe, an aged concentration camp survivor, an unlikely friendship begins. As Moishe slowly, painfully reveals his own tragic story, Bobby struggles angrily with his desperate need for revenge.

From Kirkus Reviews:

The first novel in 12 years from the once-notorious author of Last Exit to Brooklyn is an embarrassingly cartoonish amalgam of West Side Story, Edward Lewis Wallant's The Pawnbroker, and--I kid you not--Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It's the story, told in Selby's characteristic long, claustrophobic paragraphs filled with unpunctuated run-on sentences, of a young black teenager rescued from the murderous hatred that threatens his own life by a lonely concentration camp survivor. Bobby and his Hispanic girlfriend Maria are savagely beaten by a gang of spic muthahfuckahs and left in the street to die. Maria does not survive, but Bobby is rescued by an elderly widowed handyman, Werner Schultz (who for obscure reasons calls himself ``Moishe''), who restores him to health, then tries to dissuade the anguished kid from seeking revenge. As Bobby regains his strength, Moishe gradually reveals the details of his family's imprisonment, their liberation from the camp and new life in America, and the loss of Moishe's only son to the Vietnam War. Bobby subsequently tracks down Maria's murderer, but, at the crucial moment, is unable to kill him. This simplistic novel's flaws are too numerous for brief summary. Suffice it to say that glaring improbabilities (Moishe's basement apartment contains, among other wonders, a workout room and Jacuzzi) and unrelenting sentimentality make it impossible to believe in the reality of Selby's characters, much less feel anything for them. Brief glimpses of Bobby's fatherless family and Maria's grieving women relatives are only token attempts to vary a sluggish narrative that resorts to such bathetic effects as a cleansing snowstorm that briefly obliterates the city's grime and Moishe's makeshift Christmas celebration, which presumably dries up the last remaining flecks of Bobby's ``righteous'' anger. Almost 40 years ago, Selby produced a white-hot vision of America's mean streets that remains a classic illustration of realistic fiction at its most brutally eloquent. It's becoming increasingly apparent that he's fated to be remembered as a one-book wonder. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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