Hubert Selby Jr., an American writer, did not forgive God for abandoning his people. Maybe that’s why, as he wrote one morning in a very furious Psalm he understood better the demons in his country. They could have tails or horns, but they were trapped and tormented by an inner voice, which was a reflection their world. A world that humiliated and tore their souls and joy to pieces with every passing day. Maybe that is why he was so concerned about “comforting his friends”, with helping them “find all their detached, tortured” selfs”, washing their wounds on their knees, and helping them maintain dignity.
Selby Jr. has a beautiful and metaphorical title that he manages to gather under. This phrase also serves as the title of one of the most important stories in the book. It is this feeling of helplessness mixed with fragile hope that the characters in this wonderful collection of stories have of Selby Jr., which Hermida Editores published in a unique way in Spain this year. These stories were written between the sixties to the eighties of last century, when Hubert Selby Jr. was a cult author in the United States.
What does the silent song of snow sound like? It is a silent song that you have probably heard. It is a mystery to me and I don’t know what it means. Perhaps this is why these melancholic, deep and obsessive stories will stick with me for a long while. Sometimes I believe it is about the comfort of living, and being alive despite everything. Simple joy. Hope, do you know? Or the one that makes us stand. Selby Jr. may be telling us something more serious, something darker, and it is something that can’t be ignored. Are we being tortured by our inevitable fate? The uncertain future? Fear or is it? A terrible premonition, perhaps? It could be deathThe Dead, Joyce’s prediction as she watches the snow falling (silent, cold and eternal) from her window overlooking the green fields of Dublin.
Today, or maybe as I write this review today, I feel it should be about both. That is why I am so overwhelmed by these simple stories. Poor Phil, who is being mistreated by his friends. Or the tramp, who clings to his rotten clothes like his own rotten existence. That one about the two poor, drunken bastards who end-up at the movies as buckets. What about the salesman who is distraught and relies on the famous cookie packages for his fortune? Wow!
These fifteen stories have Harry as the protagonists. They are not real people and you and I can be them. All of them, or nearly all, cling to a burning nails because it is the only one that actually exists. Everybody, or nearly everyone, burns their hands trying live with dignity and to find peace or happiness in every corner of America. Everyone, absolutely everyone hears the sound of falling snow. Hubert Selby Jr.’s third chapter is The song of the silent Snow. It is one of the most enjoyable short stories you will ever read. This book is very deep, but also full of sadness and obsessions. This is a gem of North American short literature. You can listen to it, keeping your ears close, and the noise of life crushing all around you.
We will be at the end of our first mini-journey through this story’s world when we next meet. A fitting end that can be understood as a tribute to all the writers who, even if anonymous, have kept the short story genre alive in Spain.
This, however, is a different story, as the one would suggest.
Hi, my name is Julie.
I am a certified bookworm and have been buried in stories ever since I learned to read at a fairly early age of 3 years old.
Reading is my passion and I find that writing a review about a book I have read to be a great hobby.
I hope you enjoy my reviewsMore Info