Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs

Synopsis - (from

Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on the work of authors like Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, and William Gibson, on the relationship of art and obscenity, and on the shape of music, film, and media generally, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. Reedited by Burroughs scholar Barry Miles and Burroughs's longtime editor James Grauerholz, Naked Lunch: The Restored Text includes many editorial corrections to errors present in previous editions, and incorporates Burroughs's notes on the text, several essays he wrote over the years about the book, and an appendix of 20 percent all-new material and alternate drafts from the original manuscript, which predates the first published version. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume is a valuable and fresh experience of this classic of our culture.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Genre: Classic, American Literature, Contemporary

This book is not for very many people. It is very confusing and it jumps around in a lunatic-type way. If you are into thinking and being talked to by a book, this is your book. If you are looking for a story, this is a never-read.

I read about 15 pages of this book and had a look of extreme confusion on my face the entire time. It went from one crazy story to another. One story had nothing to do with the previous story then it jumped back into a previous story with additions. Are you dizzy yet?

I went online to read reviews of this book to see if I could be enlightened as to what the heck was going on and if I was missing something. I had to read A LOT of reviews. Even the reviews were a swirling mass of confusion...sort of like Alice in Wonderland but ten times as screwy! I found a review that told it like it was.

It stated, and I'm paraphrasing here, that there is no order to this book. You must read this book with an open mind and simply let each section process on its own. This means that one story is not a continuation of another. They are separate delusions not meant to be shared with the other delusions. A reader can open the book in the middle and begin there without missing anything. There is absolutely no order to this book.

As a first time read, I would read the articles in the back (Naked Lunch: The Restored Text Edition) FIRST, to understand what is happening in the beginning, if that is where one would start.

I understood the book and was able to see the brilliance of the book after reading the various articles at the end. It may seem like a bunch of babbling nonsense.....but it is not supposed to make sense. He is a junkie, telling stories/delusions of a junkie. If you have ever known a junkie, majority of what they say while high makes no sense most of the time. This is a great example and looking-glass into how some drug abusers may see the world while high.

This is a very difficult read especially for those of you who are expecting a story-type book. This is not a's brilliant babble.

I would have to say that I hated to read this book but I love this book. It makes you think and it makes you crazy. I am so glad I did not stop reading this book. Accepting the chaos allowed for me to open my mind even further than it already was.

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