Last exit to financial security

OK, so this is à propos nothing at all, but it was too funny not to share.

A few days ago, my partner bought a secondhand British paperback of Hubert Selby Jr.’s famously contentious novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, an edition dating from 1971. A prior ban on the book had been overturned by a British court in 1968.

But…what is this strange interloper between pages 174 and 175? It’s an ad. For life insurance. This isn’t actually the first time I’ve seen such an insertion in a paperback of this era, but the placement is really quite something. As the happy pair recto are busy loving life, knowing that their finances are in good hands, Selby’s characters Harry and Mary couple, cuss and wrangle verso. I think it is safe to assume that Harry and Mary are not loving life. I think we can further conjecture that their retirement plans are rudimentary at best.

The cut-out-and-send-in section is also a delight: “Without committing myself in any way, I should like to have details of your Endowment Assurance policies.” I imagine a good number of respondents pencilled in “if it’s not too much trouble”, just to be sure.


  1. “Strike” was the perfect place to put it! This is hilarious.

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