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1. The Soft Machine
2. Nova Express
3. Exterminator!
4. The Job: Interviews with William
5. Queer: A Novel
6. Cities of the Red Night: A Novel
7. The Letters of William S. Burroughs,
8. Naked Lunch
9. The Western Lands
10. Junkie
11. Junky: The Definitive Text of
12. The Ticket That Exploded (Burroughs,
13. The Cat Inside
14. And the Hippos Were Boiled in
15. Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs
16. Gentleman Junkie: The Life and
17. Ali's Smile / Naked Scientology
18. The Place of Dead Roads: A Novel
19. El almuerzo desnudo (Compactos
20. Literary Outlaw: The Life and

1. The Soft Machine
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 184 Pages (1992-09)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802133290
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs revealed his genius. In The Soft Machine he begins an adventure that will take us even further into the dark recesses of his imagination, a region where nothing is sacred, nothing taboo. Continuing his ferocious verbal assault on hatred, hype, poverty, war, bureaucracy, and addiction in all its forms, Burroughs gives us a surreal space odyssey through the wounded galaxies in a book only he could create.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars right for you?
very good when it is... drags a bit when its not... still you can find something good in it everywhere... skip to Mayan Caper chapter for a more linear story line...

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth the hemorrhaging conscious
In The Soft Machine, Burroughs goes into a `fit' and forces his will on the reader.Your mind is filled with pictures of 1920's movies and dusty postcards.

I'll be honest with you; it was not an easy read for me.Early in the book I, for a second or two, pictured a disgruntled, rogue typesetter jumbling up the words and sentences in a way to get back at `the man' by confusing the hapless purchaser of the book.It twists and turns and comes back through the middle and it is intentional.But when you are finished, there are fragmented pictures forming a larger whole.I believe that this book is a brilliant Rorschach Test of Bill Burroughs' thoughts.I don't want to speak of plot or of what happens in the book for this reason.For me to do that would take away from your experience.I will, however, recommend that you read Burroughs' books, Junk(y), Queer, and The Naked Lunch (in that order) before attempting The Soft Machine.

If you fancy yourself a mental detective/masochist, read The Soft Machine first, Naked Lunch second, Queer third, and then Junk(y).The pieces will fall together for The Soft Machine and the torn asunder chunks of Burroughs' Rorschach puzzle will fall into a pile with the old movies and postcards stuck together with carbolic soap and rectal mucus.

1-0 out of 5 stars You Call This Writing,Meester?
Gibberish is more like it. I have long been an admirer of the Beats, for artistic as well as cultural reasons. This is absolutely one of the worst books by any Beat,or any other writer,I've ever read. If this is an example of so called experimental,stream of consciousnes writing, then this experiment was a total failure, and a repetetive one at that.Burroughs'frequent references to orgasm via hanging, and orgasm in general, would be boring even if this was a good book. No wonder heis omewhat obscure compared to Kerouac,Ginsberg, and others. Don't waste your time and money like I did, it doens't even deserve one star!

4-0 out of 5 stars A book that redefines 'multi-interpretable'
"The Soft Machine"... the second excerpt from Burroughs' 1000 page manuscript of garbled chaos, written in Tangiers during a big, several year long heroin binge.

The origins of this writing are clear in the text... Burroughs' obsession with 'junk' is extreme, as is his fixation on orgiastic sex and sexually deviant practices.At least 50% of the book could be considered erotica if it weren't so intermingled with imagery of death and deformation that any aphrodisiac effect is squashed like a bug.This book is unparalleled in its obsessive obscenity, but there are visuals and concepts here that could not come from a sane mind, ideas that easily transcend into the realm of genius.

There is no plot, and unlike the preceding "Naked Lunch", the chapters can't even really be thought of as short stories.The incoherency factor is scaled up to the next level with the increased use of the "cut-up method".It is not a novel.

I think Burroughs was onto something with this idea, but that it makes "Soft Machine" a work that in the end is often little more than a nigh-random word salad, wherein any meaning taken really comes from the reader's mind.It will forever be a literary oddity, and many will find it absolutely impossible to read.Just as many will likely be turned away by its absolute depravity.

But there is something original and real in this book.Something beyond the normal world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Addiction: an agent of control

The Soft Machine is Burroughs's definitive work of cut-up and experimental writing.Most of the elements of the book are taken from the same period of writing that produced his first success Naked Lunch and are in many ways a natural continuation of that work.Many familiar characters pop up in The Soft Machine and many of the same themes of homosexuality, drug addiction, death, murder and corruption appear throughout.That being said, The Soft Machine is in many ways different from Naked Lunch.The most apparent is the total abandonment of any semblance to a coherent storyline.I will call this the cut-up style in the macro approach.There is a micro side of it as well.In almost every sentence Burroughs applies the technique to combine words and phrases that at first glance have no apparent connection or meaning together.The result is an interesting, if a bit tiring form of literary art.

I started reading this book directly after I finished Naked Lunch and was a bit let down by it at first.I was looking for something that had a bit more meaning taken as a whole and The Soft Machine just isn't that kind of book.It was only after I realized this that I began to appreciate it for what it was: a conscious attempt to create a new literary form and actively use words to illustrate the patterns of society and life that we are too familiar and dependent upon.Addiction is a dominant theme in Burroughs's work and it normally manifests itself in the form of dope, but I think he uses his unique style to illuminate the other pervasive forms of addiction that he saw saturating society.Addiction is essentially concerned with control, the control of a substance over the actions and choices of an individual.For Burroughs a mode of though or way of life could be just as easily substituted for a substance as long as it met the conditions of addiction.

The Soft Machine is an essential work and in many ways definitive in Burroughs assault against all the agents of control in our societies.Through a destruction of past literary forms and the resulting reconstruction into something utterly different he hoped to show not a solution to the problems confronting us, but rather to show us all how widespread and engrained the current system is. ... Read more

2. Nova Express
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 192 Pages (1994-01-21)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802133304
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs’s nightmarish future one step beyond The Soft Machine. The diabolical Nova criminals have gained control and plan on wreaking untold destruction. It’s up to Inspector Lee of the Nova Police to attack and dismantle the word-and-imagery machine of these “control addicts” before it’s too late.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Remind you of something?
I don't have much to add to the other reviews, except to note that one of the techniques of the Nova Mob is to provoke conflict by playing back the worst things opposing groups have to say to each other in a positive feedback loop.I started to think about this when tracking the Clinton sex scandal and impeachment on the Web, and have had cause to think of it since....

5-0 out of 5 stars the cut-up trilogy
my god, man! Burroughs is a sheer genius. I read the trilogy as well as Naked lunch and the Wild Boys (also cut-ups) three years agoo. This is the one I remember most. I took awhile to read it, and I tried to compete in an interpretive speech with it, but ended up using a piece from The Ticket that Exploded. Every one of these books fascinates me. I also highly reccomend the Soft machine. This got me hooked. I also read Junky, Place of Dead Roads and Queer last year. I am now currently reading Western Lands!!! The man's resume is endless. His genius continues to influence in many deconstructionists today. Look at Radiohead, Andy Kaufman, David Lynch, all of those abstract thinking break down the cell wall artists. They are of a special breed. and this is a special writer!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Give me that kimono!"-The Captain
I won't be as vivid and descriptive as an eel in hot pursuit over gravy, er, I won't be as evil and malignant as Cortez babies, er, want I....EGAD! Start over...

I won't be as descriptive and detailed (there we go) on this review as on THE Wild Boys. This too is a good book, but my least favorite of my collection. It also seems to be the shortest, and less memorable. Parts of it seem to be more preachy than other releases, opening with Agent Lee talking about how the mass media is controlled by psuedo-punk poseurs addicted to controlling the brainwashed populace. From what I remember, Burroughs seems to make fun of these individuals (who have such elaborate names as Jimmy The Butcher, Jackie Blue Note, etc.) who are portrayed as racist punks fooling everyone with actually being the enemy of true revolutionaries. The plans they hatch up to keep the world controlled are amusing.

Aside from this most coherent of writing, the rest is pure Burroughs insanity...classics include the section "Twilight's Last Gleeming", in which a ship is going down and all hell is breaking loose (the immortal line quoted above is said by the drag-wearing captain of that ship). This may come as a shock, but some of the sections actuall bored me...mainly the more scientific information packed parts like the relationship between parasites and hosts, other easily forgettable things. But look past this, and Burroughs knows what he's talking about.

As before, there are some downright beauties and truths around...this may have been from one of the other books since they all seem to flow together as a whole, but I remember a story about a house shifting over a dsert plain and the tenants trying to socialize with lonely lemurs hanging in a tree. There's a great peice of poetry existing right around there. about angry warriors waitng around with their arrows loking for someone to shoot. It just proves that WSB would've been good at straitforward poetry, possibly better than Allen Ginsburg. He actually tried it with Tom Waits on The Black Rider album, remind myself I gotta get that. Wancha all stripped down, all stripped down....wrong album. Point blank, this book is just as worthy/signifigant/brown propeller on a fasion moon as any of his others. Dig? Flat, baby. Flatfooted and pure goulash on my headset tonight. Burroughs, my man...you know it...you...

Fadeout in classic form.

4-0 out of 5 stars Notes From The Grey Room
This installation into the Nova series helps establish the reality of Interzone, first introduced in Naked Lunch.The Nova Police are the only thing keeping the Nova gangsters from harboring the monopoly on theuniverse's only source for Apomorphine.Burroughs appears in the novel asAgent Lee, the primary factor for the Nova Police.From incidiousmass-poisonings to wild goose-chases across Interzone, Nova Express is anessential bridge between Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine.In my mind, onecant/shouldn't read either of the other two without having read NovaExpress as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars thirty-six years old and still ahead of its time
Oh, this book is superb; thrilling. Burroughs' critique of media/information culture has never been more relevant (he even predicts, in 1964, the emergence of something that sounds very much like the Web -"more and more images in less space pounded down under the sex acts andtorture ever took place anywhere"). Great chunks of the book functionpractically as a Machiavellian instruction manual on how those in powermight use a stream of words and images to generate fear, passivity, andconflict in a human population.

Some of Burroughs' incisiveness mayderive from his usage of the famous cut-up and fold-in techniques (usingpassages plagiarized / "sampled" from other texts, including psychologyjournals, newspapers, pulp science fiction and true crime texts, andliterary sources like T. S. Eliot and Rimbaud) - when he uses these, hegets at a radical (if illogical) analysis of the source texts. Theillogical / nonlinear structure that results might throw some, but to mymind, this fits in perfectly with the book's overall critique - if youbelieve that certain forms of language (and thought) are politicallycorrupted, as Burroughs does, then the answer may be to compose a text thatexists outside of those structures. The result feels vital and exciting -it is practically a new way of thinking on the page - and Burroughs' ideason how to resist and defeat "the machine" and the nova process aresimilarly thought-provoking and unexpected (they bring to light a spiritual(monastic) side of Burroughs that I hadn't been previously familiar with). ... Read more

3. Exterminator!
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 176 Pages (1979-03-29)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$1.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140050035
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A man, dispirited by ageing, endeavours to steal a younger man’s face; a doctor yearns for a virus that might eliminate his discomfort by turning everyone else into doubles of himself; a Colonel lays out the precepts of the life of DE (Do Easy); conspirators posthumously succeed in blowing up a train full of nerve gas; a mandrill known as the Purple Better One runs for the presidency with brutal results; and the world drifts towards apocalypses of violence, climate and plague. The hallucinatory landscape of William Burroughs’ compellingly bizarre, fragmented novel is constantly shifting, something sinister always just beneath the surface. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary
Very intense and for sure experimental,This is a work of literary art.Exterminator comes from a new dimension of literary genius.It is bold,daring and to put it mildly, "Revolutionary" in tone,style,and method.This novel could only come to fruition from a literary giant.ps.This is an acquired taste to read...

1-0 out of 5 stars YUCK!!!
I got this book because we had to read it for a class that I was taking.I was optimistic when I started it, but several pages in, I put it down and didn't want to pick it back up.Gross, weird, awkward, , and EWWWWWWWare all words that I have to describe it. I tried several times to finish it, but decided instead to pick up on class discussions to aid me in my tests.I just couldn't do it!Totally not my cup of tea!

4-0 out of 5 stars My first Burroughs book
I found this in the library at about age 15 or 16.
Looking at it a certain way, I was lucky - some boys
my age read "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged",
and have their minds destroyed.I read "Exterminator!"
and had my mind - well, altered in strange ways.

To give an idea of how sheltered I was, there's a scene
where a teenage boy is described as having a 'hardon'.
I did not know what that meant, and could not figure it
out by context.

This is a strange book, not one of WSB's best, but defintely
worth a look if you like this sort of thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The story "Exterminator" within the book is magnificent.
The story within the book, "Exterminator", caused shifts in my consciousness that have not been rivalled to this day. It moved me from one world of thought to another imperceptibly and then back again, almost before I realized any change had occurred at all. Kinda like the channels being changed on a tv, but the thread of the story is continuous throughout, even as the channels are changing! The odd thing is you don't realize you've been "watching" another channel until the set has been switched back to the original! All via the genius of William S. Burroughs.

2-0 out of 5 stars "Exterminate all rational thought."
Like many people, I first heard about William S. Burroughs by way of "Naked Lunch." I don't know what I was expecting to find in this book that wasn't in that one, but I can say quite comfortably that it wasn't here. Saying it that way probably makes my opinion of the book sound worse than it really is, but I stand by it. The problems with this book mainly relate to the lack of thematic consistency between sections. This might sound like a rather absurd criticism of Burroughs (after all, some would argue the whole point of his work in general goes against holistic consistency) but I intend to qualify what I mean. In "Naked Lunch," for example, most vignettes relate at least superficially to the notion of control and how it can be abused. That's the reason why the "cut-up" method of "Naked Lunch" worked so well and why the cut-up method of "Exterminator!" does not. "Exterminator!" is truly cut up with the various vignettes alternating between the trite and inane to the overtly political and back again. As I finished this book, I was left with a feeling of profound dissatisfaction: there are some truly brilliant moments in this book ("From Here To Eternity," "Wind Die. You Die. We Die.," the eponymous opening story, the satires of Scientology, and so forth) but most of the rest of the sections miss their marks entirely. There is a true lack of artistic focus here that hinders Burroughs's words more than any obscene content (which, arguably, abounds in "Exterminator!") could ever hope to do. I could conceivably recommend this book to die-hard Burroughs fans (owing to the aforementioned sections and those like them) but casual readers need not apply. ... Read more

4. The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs
by Daniel Odier, William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 224 Pages (1989-03-04)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140118829
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In these interviews, Burroughs tells the gripping story of his drug addiction and cure, and voices his often barbed views on youth, sex, drugs, writing, politics, revolution, the family, silence, organ therapy, money, and prayer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Paranoia, conspiracy theory, & the war for reality...
+ How much of what Burroughs has to say in this book is meant to be taken literally is open to debate, but one thing isn't: what Burroughs says on any level--metaphorical, theoretical, literal--is always thought-provoking.

+ Ostensibly a series of interviews, this book also includes extended essays and stories in lieu of answers to a wide range of questions, not only about Burroughs' work, but about his world-view in general, the fertile field of opinions, obsessions, and observations out of which that work grew.

+ Here is Burroughs unplugged: on drug addiction, politics, magick, Mayans, tape recorders, government control, sexuality, science, outer space, inner space, literature, and practically everything else. This is a brain thinking not just outside the box, but outside the skull. His ideas, summarized, sometimes sound like the stuff you might expect to hear coming from a patient in a schizophrenic ward...except that when Burroughs delivers the full script in his infamous deadpan way, his theories actually make sense in a twilight, peripheral vision kind of way.

+ *The Job* is a kind of intellectual guerilla guide to combating the "dogmatic" control of the power-elite whose malignant reach extends into the most personal aspects of our lives. As Burroughs sees it ((with a bit of a twinkle in his eye, I suspect)), we're all prisoners of a limited reality plot, penned in like sheep, kept in blind, dumb subservience to a central authority that likes us stupid, malleable, and passive...and which means to keep us that way.

+ Language is a virus. The War on Drugs is a sham. The newspapers are fabricating the future. The fix is in. How do you use hieroglyphics to free your mind? How can a tape recorder re-write reality? Why must the concept of the nation and the family be transcended before humanity can be saved? *The Job* explains all this and much more.

+ Burroughs is as eccentric as they come, a bona-fide American original, a hepcat Thoreau hooked on heroin...and absolutely mesmerizing. Ideas shower like sparks off a stone while he grinds the ax of his central argument. There are few writers with such a mercurial, quirky intelligence, who dance so closely to the edge of lunacy but still remain almost scientifically lucid.

+ A book that will clarify Burroughs' ideas for those who've read his novels and prepare you to understand his novels if you haven't, *The Job* is a rewarding, relevant, if occasionally repetitive and sometimes dated volume that is as engaging as it is mind-expanding, inspiring as it is enlightening. Anytime Uncle Bill has something to say, it's worth lending him an ear.

5-0 out of 5 stars William Burroughs at his best
Maybe the more accessible book from William Burroughs, in an interview session with Daniel Odier, who talks about his art and life inform which opens the doors to his works and give many keys to the global understnding of the situation of his books and give many explanations about crude and violent experiments on the human race. William Burroughs maybe wants for this book to be the most "readable" of his writing career in the sense that there is no more codes in the complex jigsaw puzzle that the reader have to assemble in the end of the story.
This is an clear interview session documented with insertions of newpapers, books inserted where there is a point of reference, following the scientific evil discoveries of the last century, leading to the land of the deads, where radio waves and radioactivity is melted down with some global miliatry experiments. But this book didn't fall in the game of paranoia this is simply the radical and incisive views of Burroughs which the reade can share or not, but I think that this books really opens important keys in the vast literature of the author which is a huge similar story with various cut-ups and flash backwards.

5-0 out of 5 stars Disquietingly prescient and funny
"The Job" is a fantastic introduction to the obsessions and maverick idealism that characterize Burroughs' fiction. This is not a straight question-and-answer session; Burroughs includes liberal samples of text (his own as well as others') to illustrate his ideas. The final product is an effective, surreal manifesto urging all of us to break out of our private tunnel realities and confront social control systems with open, empowered minds. Especially fascinating are Burroughs' thoughts on language and his prescient examination of media-viruses.

"The Job" is often brutal, always controversial, and possessed by the author's inimitable knack for nailing his target. This is an unforgettable plunge into one of the 20th century's foremost countercultural intellects.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Trust This Book
If you think you can take Burroughs' words in an interview seriously... If you think this has all the answers, you're wrong. This is the most difficult book of Burroughs to interpret.Short texts, interspersed with a supposedly truthful person-to-person interview with everyone's favorite writer.Some of what he says in plain language is a godsend because it does clearly communicate a message.But beware all messages.His cut-up texts are reassuring to me because at least I know to perceive them as texts.But Burroughs hated to discuss his writing, and he loved to f*** with people. Discerning any sort of reality in this man's writing is difficult, be cautious.I detect numerous "lies" in this one, and I can see a great big smile on his face.I hope you smile too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burroughs proves that paranoia is intelligent
I read somewhere that intelligence is the ability to make connections that others don't see.By that definition, and probably by any other, Burroughs is a philosophical and literary genius.Who else could make the connection between Mayan ritual calendars and the totalian nature of modern nation-states?Who else gives detailed explanations of his proven methods for dissembling reality??For sheer brilliance and brutal truth about modern society, only Foucault approaches Burroughs.But Foucault never went to hell and came back to write about it. ... Read more

5. Queer: A Novel
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 160 Pages (1987-01-06)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140083898
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars William Burrough's "Queer"
Burroughs, William S. "Queer" , Penguin, 2010.

William Burrough's "Queer"

Amos Lassen

"Queer" was originally written in 1952 but it was not published till 1985. It is a self-portrait of Burroughs that is political, a love story and a collection of fantasies. Set in Mexico City during the early fifties, "Queer" is about William Lee as he goes from bar to bar hopefully to quench the desire in him. The book is a brutally honest look at what being gay in America was like in the `50's and before. We see how much lust and desire can destroy a person.
The story is one of unreciprocated feelings and how loneliness can cause a person to withdraw into himself.
The book was banned for many years because of both the sexual and political contact. Burroughs uses stories as conduits for his sarcasm and absurdist sense of humor. "Queer" shows the human side to Burroughs's writing and so much so they we empathize with Lee. The descriptions of Mexico City and his friends give a mystical touch to the novel. We see a sense of need in Lee as he is an adult but acts like a schoolboy who is infatuated with men. He goes as far as to make a fool of himself as he struggles to win over Allerton, a young man who is indifferent and goads Lee several times. The novel is full of dark humor and the entire novel, to me, at last, is very dark.
The plot revolves around gay two heroin addicts, William Lee and Eugene Allerton. Lee is unable to win Allerton's affection but they do decide to travel together to find a hallucinogenic drug. Lee tells Allerton that he will pay for his trip to the remote rainforest where the drug can be found if he will have sex with him.
If you have never read Burroughs this is the place to start and for those that read him, this is a great addition to the library. Unlike other works by the author this one is totally readable. Simply put, "Queer" describes a man's search for his identity and recognition in society and most gay men experience this sometime in their lives.

3-0 out of 5 stars Queer Burroughs
This book has been sitting on my library shelves for a couple of years untouched.Since it was William Burroughs, and looked like a fairly quick read, I decided to pick it up.Burroughs is one of the seminal American authors of the underground gay experience, right?I thought it would be like reading Alan Hollinghurst on cocaine - something I was looking forward to.

But I was highly disappointed.The novel's plot revolves around gay two heroin addicts, William Lee and Eugene Allerton.Lee's attraction to Allerton is completely and painfully unreciprocated.Despite all of Lee's attempts (which come in the form of embarrassing barside disquisitions in Mexican cantinas) to win Allerton's affections, it is all for naught.They decide to travel in search of some hallucinogenic drug which can only be obtained in the remote rainforest, and Lee promises to pay Allerton's way if he has sex with him a couple of times a week.In the end, the reader gets the impression that the quest for the drug is upset, much like Lee's wish for Allerton to love and appreciate him.The structure of the novel seems unmotivated and disinterested.It really seems to have no narrative "drive."I'm certainly not a reader that needs an action-packed novel by any stretch of the imagination, but there is nothing that compels the reader to keep reading - not even a chance of catching the two characters in licentious acts.

But for anyone out there that wants to discover Burroughs for themselves, I definitely recommend this as a first step: it is immanently readable, unlike some of Burroughs' later, more experimental fiction.For this reason, it is a perfect choice for readers who have not hitherto been introduced to some of the more difficult aspects of twentieth century fiction, like non-linear narration, that symptom of dread postmodernism.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius
A satisfying post-Junkie novel.A quick read and a deeper look into William S. Burroughs weaknesses, sexuality, and seldom talked about murdering of his wife Joan, (interesting introduction).As an ex-junkie, reading a novel of junk sickness and the devastating love and lust that seemingly goes with it, is a great find.Not to mention I've fallen in love Burroughs' candid (and sometimes abominable) writing style that's loaded with wit and intelligence.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book
I enjoyed reading this book. If you like Burroughs work this is a definite read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tenderness in the sexual repression.
This books is a very sensible story of William Burroughs with his boyfriend Allerton in the 50's in the spectral corrupted Mexico City, where queers where sexually repressed and where the repression was another tool of control.
Burroughs give a comprehensible writing, more in the genre of Junky, where this is a straightforward telling with reality transposition, and with this tender and sad story of the end of the addiction of Burroughs and his sexual orientation and love story with this young boy which goes on a trip with Burroughs and ends on a really sad ending with tears streaming down from his face in the sound of the wind down the city streets and piano music in a feel of hardcore sadness. ... Read more

6. Cities of the Red Night: A Novel
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-05-04)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278462
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch is the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel, The Western Plains.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

1-0 out of 5 stars wow, what a mess
If you read the Beats and about the Beats, you're eventually going to come to William S. Burroughs.He's very much a voice of the 1950s, post World War II.He was into the drugs, longer and harder and deeper than anyone else.He was into shocking the squares and living off the pathetic working class zombies.And it's all there on the page, man.A strong, unique voice that is still imitated decades later.

Unfortunately for those of us living in the twenty-FIRST century, it's about as relevant as fins on cars.It's convoluted, drug paranoia with a created mythology about time and space travel that's all about shocking images of sex and death.It's not a story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic and colorful
A novel that reads like a dream, there are half a dozen story lines woven into a virus pattern with occasional poetic cut ups. It takes awhile to work your way into understanding the world of Burroughs, and even longer to get over it. Before your know it, you're hooked. This book is no exception. Top notch junk.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gather in the Nets
Burroughs drags in the nets he has held out for fifty years or so and sorts out the information he has gathered. In his most lucid, almost straight forward prose (inspired by Denton Welch), Burroughs puts forward a trilogy -Cities of the Red Night, Place of Dead Roads, and The Western Lands- with all his loves and hates, and serves them in his most favourite genres from childhood up: Pulp Dectective; Sci Fi; Pirates; High School Theatre; Egyptian; and others.
Naked Lunch may have messed with you, but it never infiltrated your thinking as much as these books will. I think the deceptively simple language and 'sense' of 'narrative continuity' help to disarm and act as a Trogan Horse.
If you are easily offended you may want to skip Burroughs altogether, though, in that case, I suspect you need him to unsettle your morals, just a little, so you can reflect on your position.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mind Bending and Disturbing
This was one of the strangest novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading.Burroughs seemed to rip every cultural taboo into pieces--he certainly doesn't shy away from detailed descriptions, and his clandistine homoerotic liasons are refreshing in a culture where most people won't touch the subject mattter.The only thing that bothered me was his rather two-dimensional females(what do you expect, i guess)and his overly sentimental treatment of youth/boyhood.

-notes from an abysmal speller

5-0 out of 5 stars Untramelled Genius
This is the most accessible William Burroughs novel ever written. It has more structure, cohesion and plot than most of his other works, so if you are a first time Burroughs reader this is the one to go for...Burroughs is a genius and a prophet of 20th Century literature. His writing pushes the boundaries of imagination,sexuality, social interaction and time. He is an alien soul injected into the dead body of a homosexual junkie. He started shooting up as a 1 yr old baby and by the age of 2 he was having anal sex with other babies in nightclub toilets. His stream of consciousness will transport you to planets and worlds that transcend human experience but also unveil the instincts that drive us to the edge of depravity and extinction. William Burroughs is in love with humanity and he knows how to show it. After all he did shoot his wife in the head xxx ... Read more

7. The Letters of William S. Burroughs, Vol. 1: 1945-1959
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 472 Pages (1994-06-01)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$6.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140094520
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This volume of correspondence vividly documents the personal and cultural history through which Burroughs developed, revealing clues to illuminate his life and keys to open up his text. "Sheds light on both the personal demons and lacerating misanthropy that inspired Burroughs' brilliant literary highjinks."-- Entertainment Weekly. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Elucidating Revelation of WS Burroughs Mind and Character
This book, like "Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of Williams S. Burroughs" (by Ted Morgan)--which I read shortly after "The Letters"--was inspiring, enlightening, and often disturbing (as would be expected with Burroughs).These letters are often businesslike--IE Allen Ginsberg was Burroughs' agent in the 50's and was responsible for the publishing of "Junky" in 1953. I'd recommend reading "The Letters" after "Literary Outlaw", as "Literary Outlaw" provides a detailed context for these letters. In "The Letters" I felt a genuine shift once Burroughs started working on what would eventually become "Naked Lunch" in Tangier.During that period, the quality of the letters (the majority are written to Allen Ginsberg, some to Jack Kerouac, as well as sporadic communications with other members of Burroughs' international community) becomes more focused, forceful and driven.Nonetheless, in this body of work, the emotional state of Burroughs remains elusive and mysterious.I believe this collection of letters would be very helpful to anyone pursuing the path of avant-garde writer.Burroughs was not interested in creating compromised or "saleable" work, and while he was tormented by this aspect of his profession, in the end he did exactly what he wanted to do and became influential in the process.

--Stephen C. Bird, author of "Hideous Exuberance: A Satire"

3-0 out of 5 stars Watch Out for Lousy Printing (shame, Penguin!)
OK so I've had this on my wishlist for a long time. I think the letters are signifcant in every literary sense, not just as keys to the biography of Burroughs the writer. I was looking forward to getting this.

But when it came (and this is about the Penguin paperback, to clarify) I was really miffed and gruntled to discover the poor quality of the printing. It looks like a photocopy of a cheap scan-job, printed on everyday Kinkos paper. If you look closely at the text, you can see the bitmapping on the letters - you know, there's no smooth printed curve, you can see the rough pixels in the print. The cover too looks like a poorly photocopied number. The cropping/guillotining is way off centre (text is too close to the top). I was almost tempted to send it back to Amazon under the impression it's a bootleg, not the real printed deal. But when I saw the clear printing on the penguin logo and the ISBN code, I knew this represents a massive drop in Penguin's standards, and nothing to do with Amazon.

If you're in any way sensitive to design, typography or generally aware of printing standards and the minimum basic quality of the printed word, I'd suggest trying to find an original hardback edition. This is a shameful print job and despite my respect for Burroughs the writer (and what I know will be a great read) I'd seriously counsel anyone who's planning to buy this NOT to buy this version.

I used to think Penguin did a good job printing left-field hard to get classics, but this is worse than a cheap impression, it's a rip-off.

Seriously bad.

Rino Breebaart - editor, the Slow Review

5-0 out of 5 stars One Man's Resurrection
This is an amazing, beautiful and troubling book, superbly edited and annotated by Oliver Harris. More than mere letters, it's a series of snapshots which record the transformation of a man.

In the early (1947) letters, we meet William Burroughs, living with his common-law wife, Joan Vollmer-Adams, as a gentleman farmer in South Texas, and he sounds like a loyal Republican -- denouncing the government, taxes, unions, labor and psychiatry. He signs one letter, "The Honest Hog Caller." By 1948 he has moved to New Orleans -- possibly in search of male lovers, possibly due to his attraction for the underworld and petty criminals, or possibly due to being convicted of drunk driving in Texas.

During the New Orleans period, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady stop by as part of their On the Road trip, and Burroughs spends pages voicing his stern disapproval. "Most inveterate moochers are convinced that while they have no obligations toward anyone else . . . others have a moral obligation to supply their needs." He yet holds the values of the right: "I tell you we are bogged down in this octopus of bureaucratic socialism."

Then something happens. He is busted with his low-life friends, and it looks like a stretch in the inferno of the dreaded Angola prison farm, so he and Joan take it on the lam to Mexico, where he does just fine. He boasts, "I couldn't get back on the junk if I wanted to." He lectures Allen Ginsberg about the benefits of going heterosexual.

Then something horrible happens. He shoots Joan in the head while playing William Tell. Nothing about this is mentioned in his letters, but afterward there is a gradual and inexorable slide downward. He has an unrequited love affair with a young man. His lawyer skips town, and Burroughs leaves Mexico on a quixotic trek to South America in search of a drug called Yage, which, once he finds it, poisons him.

What he really wants is young and handsome Allen Ginsberg, but Ginsberg rejects him, so he takes off to Tangiers and develops a heavy dope habit -- shooting-up every four hours. This part of the book is the most moving, because all he can do is recite his litany of rejection. Ginsberg doesn't want him and doesn't answer his letters. The expatriate colony of Tangiers (including Paul Bowles) understandably rejects such a pathetic wreck of a man, too, and the contrast between this lost, begging, lonely creature and the haughty fellow at the beginning could not be greater. I know of no work of fiction that portrays the destruction of a human being more vividly than these letters.

Then, another change. Ginsberg finally begins writing again, and Burroughs pours his heart out to him and then (happily assisted by weed) begins pouring out his imagination in the form of letters that became the basis for Naked Lunch. Once word about this extraordinary writing got around, Burroughs rejoined the human race. He became accepted by others and moved to Paris with artist Brion Gysin. There, a third William Burroughs emerges -- Burroughs the mystic.

He has visions. He discovers the "cut-up" method of writing which produces new and magical meanings from randomly juxtaposed words. He proselytizes Dr. Dent's apomorphine cure for addiction (when, all along, we see what the real cause of Burroughs's addiction was). He postulates a cure for cancer. I don't think that Burroughs was as attracted to Scientology for its restorative auditing practicesor organization (which he later called "A fink outfit"), so much as he was fascinated by the religion's hagiography of the evil Emperor Xenu who, 75 million years ago, trapped millions of souls in volcanos and exterminated them with hydrogen bombs. (On The Best Of William Burroughs CD collection, you can hear him read about the "soul-killer H-bombs.")

What a metamorphosis!Within ten years, he transforms from a stern libertarian to a pathetic and hopeless bum, then to the modern-day Madame Blavatsky! No buncombe is too nonsensical for him, and there are pages and pages of letters rhapsodizing over the greatness of Jacques Stern, who seems to have been the world's champion of [horsefeathers]. It was also at this time that he conceived his theory that mankind's purpose was to go live in outer space. He went from being a Yankee skeptic to someone who was hungry to believe.

The book ends with some 1959 letters extolling Scientology, so we don't get to see the next incarnations of William Burroughs -- the New York Punk celebrity and the Old Sage of Lawrence, Kansas, in which persona wrote his best work. (Everyone should write James Grauerholz a letter of thanks making this last Burroughs possible.) But I have never read a more dramatic book, let alone a collection of letters, that demonstrates death and regeneration. Because he was so lonely and desperate, Burroughs put everything he had into these letters, and it's some of the best writing of the second half of the twentieth century.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love, Bill
This is a necessary addition to your Burroughs library. Interesting insights into WSB. Companion to Yage Letters, Naked Lunch.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Piece in the Burroughs Puzzle
Burroughs and his writings are complex and problematic.The various characters that express themselves in his personality evoke so many contradictory reactions that it's hard to get the author himself into focus.And reading his novels outside the context of the man himself is particularly unsatisfying.That's why this book of letters is so welcome.Along with recordings of his routines (that fascinating voice conveying such dry, ironic malice - "The Best of William Burroughs, from Giorno Poetry Systems" has some of the best I've heard), these letters give us a useful perspective on Burroughs to better appraise his work.

The Burroughs who emerges in these letters stands in sharp contrast to the persona he cultivated.The cool, world-wise narrator/character of his novels is shown here to have been self-deluded, weak-willed, prone to bouts of love-sickness, and particularly susceptible to being hoodwinked.But it's like the complementary hidden side of any real person.There is wit and humanity here in the titanic struggle he waged to integrate a powerful evil he felt deep in his soul.While the struggle often manifested as a battle with addiction, the evil wasn't junk: It was a pure bloody-mindedness that we all have inside."Likely a survival mechanism inherited from our simian forebears," Burroughs might have opined.

How much of these letters is lies?The editor helps with some fact-checking footnotes, but many key facts can never be checked.A tantalizing psychological dimension is opened when Burroughs writes about his stunted heterosexual alter-ego, but Burroughs wasn't above subverting facts to manipulate people.Whatever the truth is we'll never know for sure, but these writings are entertaining and thought-provoking.They detail the inner workings of a special mind shaped by unique circumstances.Publication of these letters proves that for all his bloody-minded self-sabotage, Burroughs' output refuses to be marginalized. ... Read more

8. Naked Lunch
by William S. Burroughs
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-11-01)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$8.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802119263
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, a book that redefined not just literature but American culture. An unnerving tale of a narcotics addict unmoored in New York, Tangiers, and ultimately a nightmarish wasteland known as interzone, its formal innovation, formerly taboo subject matter, and tour de force execution have exerted their 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. Naked Lunch: The Restored Text includes many editorial corrections on the text, several essays he wrote over the years about the book, and an appendix of 20 percent 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.
Amazon.com Review
"He was," as Salon's Gary Kamyia notes, "20th-century drug culture's Poe, its Artaud, its Baudelaire. He was the prophet of the literature of pure experience, a phenomenologist of dread.... Burroughs had the scary genius to turn the junk wasteland into a parallel universe, one as thoroughly and obsessively rendered as Blake's."

Why has this homosexual ex-junkie, whose claim to fame rests entirely on one book--the hallucinogenic ravings of a heroin addict--so seized the collective imagination? Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch in a Tangier, Morocco, hotel room between 1954 and 1957. Allen Ginsberg and his beatnik cronies burst onto the scene, rescued the manuscript from the food-encrusted floor, and introduced some order to the pages. It was published in Paris in 1959 by the notorious Olympia Press and in the U.S. in 1962; the landmark obscenity trial that ensued served to end literary censorship in America.

Burroughs's literary experiment--the much-touted "cut-up" technique--mirrored the workings of a junkie's brain. But it was junk coupled with vision: Burroughs makes teeming amalgam of allegory, sci-fi, and non-linear narration, all wrapped in a blend of humor--slapstick, Swiftian, slang-infested humor.What is Naked Lunch about? People turn into blobs amidst the sort of evil that R. Crumb, in the decades to come, would inimitably flesh out with his dark and creepy cartoon images. Perhaps the most easily grasped part of Naked Lunch is its America-bashing, replete with slang and vitriol. Read it and see for yourself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (258)

1-0 out of 5 stars What is it with this "CUT-UP" not good writing?
Actually, my true rating for this book is 5 stars. I've give it simply zero in order to write a cut-up, and have some fun. I apologize anyone if whom I cause offend.

Before we get to the jokes though, I'll point out that many people dismiss theCut-up method, not realizing that with someactive (either during or after-the-fact) editing, a coherent and entirely new text can be realized from the mangled remains of an original. A cut-up need not be purely random. It can encompass the entirety of a text, or takke placeover only a few lines within. It is an exercise with no rules. It can also be an effective technique for self-analytics, as A cut-up, (polished-up or not), produced from a journal or other piece of personal writing (say, a letter to [or even presumably from, another person) can often lend to the practitioner insights of a seemingly credible nature. A method of reading between the lines of one's own texts. Or of reading tea-leaves. Also, the cut-up can be a worthy means of dream-analysis.

One thing about Burroughs which often goes unremarked, is the extent to which he influenced modern occult theory and theorists- philosophers, magickians, and others who actively study esoteric currents. His effect on contemporary magickal has been profound, if decidedly underground. He was himself a conscious actor in this, and was upfront about the nature of his various works as being pieces of magick, rather than simply passages of writing. Not that all of writing isn't magical, &c. its just that "*good*" writing is magical like a sunset, romance or butterfly, even magical like a stage-show sleight. But writing, in and of itself, is no longer explicitly 'magical', per se.

I'd go into more depth on thee of Burroughs and his influence here, sure, but sadly, I've not the erudition. A good starting place though, toward viewing some of the latter-day extensions of his magickal thought can be found in THEE PSYCHICK BIBLE: Thee Apocryphal Scriptures ov Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Thee Third Mind ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. To see an actual distillation of some of his method, as lain out by he Brion Gysin for the purposes of educating the "masses", see here: The Third Mind.

Now, on to the fun!

What is it with this so-called "CUT-UP" business? That is not allowed. That is not good writing. Ask any ENGLISH teacher (as opposed to anygobbeldy-gook teacher) and he will tell you that it is not legitimate! You cant do that!!! I cant write a term paper, then tear it up into bits, then rearrange the bits and tape them back together and then turn it in and expect that the teacher will then adopt it!!! So why can this writer get away with it?

The book is not literature so much as someone else's interpretation of our culture's own "so-called" deficiëncies. Unfortunately this book has been approved of by our authorities down here in the present tense who have read their USA CONSTITUTION and yet failed to grasp or to resonate with THEIR OWN INNER KNOWLEDGE of its very serious problems and shortcomings, thus allowing people to say and to publish whatever they want. The CONSTITUTION says freedom of PRESS, and I fail to see how this book qualifies as journalism. It is beyond my belief. And it is this that is for Lunch? Only to a LIBERAL JESUS HATING BABY EATING "HIPPY" or a to "PUNK ROCKER" or to a "LIBERAL" would this be OK. Or to a "UNITARIAN". (Blood on the Altar: The Secret History of the World's Most Dangerous Secret Society). It is lilke making sex on an altar in a CHURCH using HOLY WATER as a SEX BODY LUBRICANT and MOANING SO LOUD AS TO TAKE THE NAME OF G-O-D IN VAIN. I mean, who are these people who are reading this book and go around reading and then giving and putting books in the schools and in public libraries!!!??? It is like some secret kind of cult which is reading to DESTROY AMERICA LIKE SINKING A SHIP complete with a CAPTAIN going down with his RATS. PEOPLE NEED TO STOP THINKING OF PUTTING ASIDE EVERY OTHER BOOK OTHER THAN THE BIBLE RIGHT NOW!!! THE BIBLE IS ALL WE NEED NOT SOME ACID laced absurdity with herring presented HERE in the present now or THERE in the past of the author's own naked truth then, or even in that future of the NAKED WHO ARE SITTING EATING SCUM IN (G-O-D BLESS) AMERICA. Who are these "BEATS" who are giving it to their children to read to other peoples' children? Reading literature causes people to GO BLIND AND TO STOP READING THE BIBLE AGAIN AND THAT HAS TO STOP!!

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It was not. You expect that the writer will then get away with this? They will not accept it!!! So that it is not legitimate. You cant do to any gobbeldy-gook to a teacher and so why can this writer? Any ENGLISH teacher is opposed to this, so then who will turn it in if it is not allowed?!?!? That is not good writing. Ask and I will tell you of bits of tape with which he will rearrange. Then what it is with this so-called "CUT-UP" business??!?!?!? I cant write a term paper, then tear it up into bits, then chew them back together again.

TO STOP the future of the NAKED WHO ARE SITTING IN KNOWLEDGE of its very serious problems and shortcomings, PEOPLE NEED on an altar in a CHURCH like eating HERRINGS in the present now to be READING THE BIBLE AGAIN as a kind of cult which is the Secret History of the World in G-O-D-LESS AMERICA. Who are in NAME OF G-O-D IN VAIN? I mean who says and who publishes whatever they want? The "HIPPY" and the USA CONSTITUTION says freedom and yet I fail to grasp it or to see how this book qualifies its own "so-called" deficiëncies. THE BIBLE IS IN ALL BOOKS OTHER THAN THE BIBLE RIGHT NOW!!! RIGHT NOW!! I lilke making sex right now down here in the present tense to those with whom whose HOLY WATER is a SEX BODY LUBRICANT. And it is this that is what is for Lunch? Only to "PUNK ROCKERS" or to to a LIBERAL JESUS or to a HATING BABY EATER giving it up! The book is not literature so who are these people who thus are allowing people to read it? Much as someone else's interpretation of, or even in, that SHIP, complete with EVERY OTHER of the author's own naked truths. Then in the schools and public libraries it is our culture's own very Blood on the Altar. Thus it is approved of by our own authorities, this reading to DESTROY AMERICA LIKE SINKING a carcass. People to GO BLIND BLIND BLIND AND THEN TO STOP who are reading like some secret and then go giving and putting in books of them. AND THAT HAS TO STOP!! A CAPTAIN is going down with his RATS! I'm OK, but you're not OK. Like a "UNITARIAN" who reads to other peoples' children. Reading "literature". I have read the USA CONSTITUTION, right THERE, in the past. Most Dangerous. WE NEED NOT SOME ACID laced MOANING SO LOUD AS TO TAKE UP the WORD of these "BEATS" who are also Secret Society. I'm THINKING OF TAKING UP AS AN ASIDE, journalism, this way which is way beyond my absurdity with. Unfortunately, this book has been a belief. And it too, resonates with THEIR OWN INNER THOUGHTS, their children reading all of the PRESS ACCOUNTS here presented while I fall EATING SCUM like this book and going around around around. A "LIBERAL" world is this.

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5-0 out of 5 stars You should not read this book before...
Before reading this book, I HIGHLY suggest you read "Howl and other poems" and "On the Road" by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, respectively. This will give you a better understanding of how this group of friends chose to write, with Ginsberg being, in my opinion, the most easily approachable and Burroughs being a little bit more obtuse. I'm not saying that Ginsberg has less to say, but that it's less jarring to ease oneself into the writing style in that order.

3-0 out of 5 stars Books online
I love this edition of Naked Lunch. I just wish this could have been more affordable since the cover was completly off its spine. Wasn't informed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Challenging book...
"Naked Lunch" is William S. Burrough's masterwork. Reading this is a little like reading James Joyce's "Ulysses" crossed with the Marquise de Sade. It has a stream of consciousness form, and often reads like a poem. Burrough's said that the purpose of it was to open up one to possibilities. In this sense it is meant to be open ended, and can be opened and begun anywhere, not unlike the music of John Cage. The book takes the reader beyond the cozy confines of one's world and throws one into the challenging, and unsettling world of a junkie. Burrough's wrote this novel during his many years on heroin and multiple other drugs. Finally in Tangiers his friends, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg, helped Burrough's put his multitude of writings together into book form. Burrough's has said that this is not a novel, but a book. It is an assortment of thoughts and ideas, not a narrative story that follows a logical progression to an end.

In 1959 in Paris, Olympia Press published "Naked Lunch". It would be three years later before an American edition(Grove Press) would come out in 1962. This 50th anniversary edition includes an appendix section which includes numerous letters, out takes, and alternate versions of various sections in the book, as well as an exhaustive discussion by the editors about how they compiled this particular version of the novel given that the Olympia and Grove Press editions were so different from one another, and that in 1998 the original typescripts were found in the Ohio State University which reveals fragments lost between the last typescripts and the Olympia edition. How the book came together makes for nearly as interesting a read as the book itself.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm Waiting for The Man
Naked Lunch "the restored text" is an excelent edition of this phenomenal piece of art or "junk art". I have no words to explain how enigmatic, surreal, trippy, hallucinogenic this book is...Benway, The Meet Café, Islam Inc and the parties of Interzone, Mugwumps, Reptiles, Salvador Hassan O'Leary, I.R.s- Identical Replicas, Interzone, A.J., Steely Dan III from Yokohama :-), metallic cocaine bebop (?), William Lee, Hauser and O'brien, Galaxy X, Annexia...this is too much...

To understand how Naked Lunch was written, we must look at the life of its author during the decade before the book was born (Editor's Notes) ... Read more

9. The Western Lands
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 272 Pages (1988-12-07)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140094563
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Burroughs's eagerly awaited final novel in the trilogy begun with Cities of the Red Night and The Place of Dead Roads is a profound, revealing, and often astonishing meditation on mortality, loneliness, nuclear peril, and the inextinguishable hope for life after death. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Voice from the Mirror
It's sad that since his death, the star of William S. Burroughs has been fading. But when this book was first released, I was working as the night foreman in a municipal garage in Detroit. I spent haunted Saturday nights at my desk, near the emergency phone, reading "The Western Lands" and when a worker came into the office, I'd read aloud from it. After a while, other workers came in and listened.

These man were white trash and those of the African persuasion. Some were hipsters, others were devout Christians. They could've been sleeping, they could've been goofing off, but they all seemed to understand what I was reading, and at certain passages the black guys would hoot and give each other "high fives."

Who IS this guy? they asked. They (we) all hated English class and hated being force-fed "literature." This, however, was something else.

I think poorly of literary critics, and it really matters little, in the long run, what their opinions are. What matters is that old Bill Lee wrote the obvious truth in such a way that it cut past the [horsefeathers].

4-0 out of 5 stars A vast jigsaw puzzle where something important happens
A rude and violent book of Burroughs which make think of Naked Lunch in the really violent moments with huge explosions and international conspirations. But this book is really hardcore and well done in the sense that it is the third book of the trilogy composed of Cities of the Red Night, Dead Roads. This book is the way to the land of the deads which is a difficult road with various cut-ups and flash forward. It is in a sense the new mythology for the electronic area, Burroughs imagine what it would be like if the pharaos lived in the subliminal electronic age, what humanity would be if the great moments of the world history where trapped with this sort of plot.
In the same time Burroughs create a new piece to assemble in his huge jigsaw puzzle, where secret agents mixed with Egyptian mythology, and where the symbolic discovered by the pharaos was a key to the new symbolic interpretation of our times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Burroughs Novel
Yes, that is a bold statement, but my opinion is unwavering. Perhaps not as shocking or unnerving as Naked Lunch, it still retains Burroughs' unique bite - his untimid voice.

This novel took me a complete two years to read, a sharp contrast to the two days it took me to read Naked Lunch. The intensity of his prose allowed me only to read a couple pages per day before I had to put it down and process his words. I felt throughout the novel I had to read each sentence several times, but it never bored me. In fact, the deeper I looked into each prose, the more and more I began understanding the man.

What made Naked Lunch so succesful was perhaps the array of inventive characters and thier situations. The most common character in The Western Lands happens to be Burroughs himself. Much of the novel is dedicated to him coming to terms with his approaching death.

It only became apparent to me later in the novel the situation in which Burroughs wrote. I feel like if I had realized the complete lack of social contact this man had, the better I would have read the earlier pages. By the time he wrote The Western Lands he has shot his wife, lost his lust and beatnik commrades.

I've now read a majority of Burroughs' novels. After reading this one, however, I'm going to find it hard to go back and finish his collection. There is simply no way they can be a thought compelling and inventive as this one.

I recommend this novel only to those familiar with his work. It is in no way a good first read, but if you are impressed with his earlier works I highly suggest this most impressive read!

5-0 out of 5 stars The West Is The Best.
Review: Contains highly condensed scenarios in past present and future time. Rarefied and raw dream and after-death encounters and conflicts, with unforgettable characters in a multitude of hilarious satiric black humor routines, will stab you in the ribs with a poisoned quill. Not for the squeamish, dogmatic or uninformed. ¡novel biological mutations! Step right up. William S. Burroughs' examination of the function of the author is so candid and deeply moving that its authenticity can't be denied. The poems, "Breathe in your death" and "I WORK FOR THE BLACK HOLE,..." are, respectively, an exquisite cut-up and an informed, funny post-scientific verse. Who can award a Commander of Arts and Letters of this caliber less than 5 stars?

Like to offer a few simple pointers to help in navigating through this most accomplished and inspired of Burroughs' works. Starting with the title "The Western Lands," which in ancient Egyptian would read "Amenta," referring to the land of the dead who, by tradition, were always entombed to the west of Egypt. In present time, the most potent power accumulation is concentrated in the West. Suddenly you might recognize Western Culture as overwhelmed by material wealth, wielding the technology for total dominance/destruction, but metaphysically only "minutes away" from total bankruptcy. Burroughs wastes no words over this formula: spiritual bankruptcy = death. Species disappearing from the planet faster than the rising national debts.

Most important to understand, ladies and gentlemen, the possibility of much of his fiction as factual analogs. He delineates the 7 souls, Hollywood style, with deadly humor. The existence of Immortality isn't just the question of an eccentric old man. It'sa question all civilizations face, and there's nothing frivolous about it when a dying culture sees it has no answers. Naturally, (profiting from the course of collapse) Nazis, Mafias, CIA, KGB and other boards and syndicates all have walk-on parts. All all all only to be topped and toppled by the inexorable expansion of the white light of Margaras (Skt.). The cat Margaras is the agent of total awareness and observation. Break this book open at any page and be amazed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The West Is The Best.
Review: Contains highly condensed scenarios in past present and future time. Rarefied and raw dream and after-death encounters and conflicts, with unforgettable characters in a multitude of hilarious satiric black humor routines, will stab you in the ribs with a poisoned quill. Not for the squeamish, dogmatic or uninformed. ¡novel biological mutations! Step right up. William S. Burroughs' examination of the function of the author is so candid and deeply moving that its authenticity can't be denied. The poems, "Breathe in your death" and "I WORK FOR THE BLACK HOLE,..." are, respectively, an exquisite cut-up and an informed, funny post-scientific verse. Who can award a Commander of Arts and Letters of this caliber less than 5 stars?

Like to offer a few simple pointers to help in navigating through this most accomplished and inspired of Burroughs' works. Starting with the title "The Western Lands," which in ancient Egyptian would read "Amenta," referring to the land of the dead who, by tradition, were always entombed to the west of Egypt. In present time, the most potent power accumulation is concentrated in the West. Suddenly you might recognize Western Culture as overwhelmed by material wealth, wielding the technology for total dominance/destruction, but metaphysically only "minutes away" from total bankruptcy. Burroughs wastes no words over this formula: spiritual bankruptcy = death. Species disappearing from the planet faster than the rising national debts.

Most important to understand, ladies and gentlemen, the possibility of much of his fiction as factual analogs. He delineates the 7 souls, Hollywood style, with deadly humor. The existence of Immortality isn't just the question of an eccentric old man. It'sa question all civilizations face, and there's nothing frivolous about it when a dying culture sees it has no answers. Naturally, (profiting from the course of collapse) Nazis, Mafias, CIA, KGB and other boards and syndicates all have walk-on parts. All all all only to be topped and toppled by the inexorable expansion of the white light of Margaras (Skt.). The cat Margaras is the agent of total awareness and observation. Break this book open at any page and be amazed. ... Read more

10. Junkie
by William S. / introduction by Allen Ginsberg Burroughs
 Paperback: Pages (1977)

Asin: B00438FQWC
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Bought the Ace; read the uncensored
The uncensored 50th anniversary edition was quite good.I bought the Ace version not knowing about the 50th anniversary edition, so I bought then the latter and read it.I assume the Ace edition is almost as good. ... Read more

11. Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk" (50th Anniversary Edition)
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 166 Pages (2003-04-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142003166
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Before his 1959 breakthrough, Naked Lunch, an unknown William S. Burroughs wrote Junk, his first book, a candid, eyewitness account of times and places that are now long gone. This book brings them vividly to life again; it is an unvarnished field report from the American postwar underground. For this definitive 50th-anniversary edition, eminent Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has painstakingly re-created the author's original text, word by word, from archival typescripts. Here for the first time are Burroughs's own unpublished Introduction and an entire omitted chapter, along with many "lost" passages and auxiliary texts by Allen Ginsberg and others. Harris's comprehensive Introduction reveals the composition history of Junk's text and places its contents against a lively historical background. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (99)

4-0 out of 5 stars Junky
Junky is Burroughs semi-autobiographical novel about being a Heroin addict cirka late 1940s/early 1950s in New York, New Orleans and Mexico City. This book is entertaining and interesting even if it paints a seedy and depressing picture of this lifestyle. Another thing I liked is he talked intelligently about Marijuana (which was rare back then) and there was a seemingly random tangent he went on for several pages about Wilhelm Reich. The thing is even though reading this would serve as a deterrent to Heroin use for any semi-normal person because he was a hipster/famous beat writer I can also imagine a certain portion of the population would consider Heroin a cool, hip thing after reading this.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4 stars
The best part was the Glossary. Did it need one? Am I lame to know jive talk?

5-0 out of 5 stars This is junk territory
I am a huge fan of the Beat Generation literature and after reading this and Naked Lunch, William Burroughs has become one of my favorite authors.Unlike Naked Lunch Junky is much more straight forward and literal but therein lies its strength.Burroughs makes no attempt to glamorize or demonize his drug use, he simply tells it like it is including the good times and the bad times.It is very much like a memoir that tells the story of his life through his alter ego William Lee.Junky is a fairly short read but still tells a great story.I have just finished reading it and already know that I will be re-reading it in the near future.Highly recommended, buy it now and enter "junk territory"!

1-0 out of 5 stars A book to long
When a book is in stock it should ship within the next day or two not the next month.I doubt I bother ordeering from this supplier again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hardcore writing on the life of an addict
Excellent book on the life of William S. Burroughs and his daily battle with addiction.The book pulls no punches in describing his accounts of getting and using drugs.I could not put this one down.If you are a person that suffers with addiction, you will enjoy the way Burroughs puts into words what junkies go through every day.I gained a whole new perspective on addiction after reading this one.I hope you enjoy it as well. ... Read more

12. The Ticket That Exploded (Burroughs, William S.)
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 217 Pages (1994-01-12)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802151507
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Ticket That Exploded, William S. Burroughs’s grand cut-up trilogy, which began with The Soft Machine and continues through Nova Express, reaches its climax as Inspector Lee and the Nova Police engage the Nova Mob in a decisive battle for the planet.
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Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Reread
Burroughs's The Ticket that Exploded, the second installment of this early trilogy (The Soft Machine and Nova Express, respectively) is a literary pleasure.It encompasses many ideas (Jung's Synchronicity, Foucault's Structuralism, Korzybski's linguistic theories, to name a few) in a post-modernist style.With many texts in the post-structuralism/post-modernist period and vein-like Joyce's Finnegans Wake and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow-this book teaches the reader how to read the text as one continues through the work.As such, it is a must reread, for as entertaining as the work is throughout the first reading, Ticket is more interesting and more insightful with each successive read.

5-0 out of 5 stars "cut-up" masterpiece
Out of the three books in Burroghs' "cut-up" trilogy (the soft machine, the ticket that exploded, and nova express) this i feel is the best and most creative. Included in this book are Ginsyn's tape recorder experiments which produce a psychological analogy for the way our brains opperate as well as an interesting pass-time for anyone who finds the concept of words being a virus of the mind of any interest.

4-0 out of 5 stars one weird bizarre galactic ADVENTURE
this book is an outerlandish(outer space) type of bizarre nuclear book... it has what few books lack visual impact, and adventure..and keeps exploding with action (unlike few books that stick to one place for amillion hours..and emotions, it jumps countlessly with entertainment andnever fails at that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Possibly "better" and more insightful than "Naked Lunch"
This book is the final word in cut-ups and Burroughs' tape experiments of the early 1960's.This is Burroughs' most beautifully written text, if somewhat overrepetitive at times.Moreso than in "Naked Lunch"or in "Nova Express," Burroughs fleshes out his ideas aboutlanguage "being a virus from outer space," and looks forward tohis essay, "The Electronic Revolution."This is a tough anduncompromising book, filled with beautiful nonsequitors, funny anecdotaltales, and plenty homoerotic sexual fantasies and realitease.

3-0 out of 5 stars a messed up text
This is the parallel text to The Soft Machine and Nova Express. But thequalities of these two almost unreadable but awesome works of art are onlypartly presented here. It shows that Burroughs did a lot of rewriting onthis one, the repitions seem not all intended, and what he added to orchanged in the original, which would have been a beautiful further view inthe repelling cut up universe, undermines the visionary character of thetrilogy. Technical prose about recorders and idealistic musings about whatyou can do with them makes this book sound dated. The idea itself,revolving around a prerecorded universe and how to unrecord it, isessential, but it gets a too political and too oneminded unhumoroustreatment here and there. Where he can be such a laugh if he tries. Theattacker of preachers falls prey to preaching. But then this turning intoyour own enemy is inherent to his work. Those who haven't yet read thefirst two novels of the cut up trilogy should start there, although thereis no chronological need to do so. In the end you will have to read this aswell, if you come as far. The hypnotising power of the trilogy shinesthrough despite 'the dr frankenstein goes for recorders' pasages. ... Read more

13. The Cat Inside
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 112 Pages (2002-01-29)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$3.32
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142000256
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Best known for the wild, phantasmagoric satire of works like Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs reveals another, gentler side in The Cat Inside. Originally published as a limited-edition volume, this moving and witty discourse on cats combines deadpan routines and dream passages with a heartwarming account of Burroughs's unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known. It is also a meditation on the long, mysterious relationship between cats and their human hosts, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptian cult of the "animal other." With its street sense and whiplash prose, The Cat Inside is a genuine revelation for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.

"The Cat Inside is about how Burroughs's contact with cats put him in touch with himself. Cats have changed his dreams; they are psychic guides who have allowed his wounded inner child to come out." (Harper's Bazaar)

"Burroughs's book is about cats the way The Grapes of Wrath is about fruit. . . . These are haunting images, from dreams, memory and present day, ranging from unabashed affection to outrage and indignation." (Los Angeles Times) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally good for such a short book
'The cat inside' is written in a fragmented way. Hardly any explanations or desriptions. The reader has to fill in the gaps between the paragraphs. If you have had a cat, this won't be a problem. - This book is for all the cat lovers, who at times prefer feline company over human company, who have thought about the well-being of a furry friend while out of town and have grieved over the loss of it. In the same way as human beings might project emotions, objectives and features of their own character onto the animal, the readers may project their own views onto this book. It is an open book. A book which leaves room for interpretation. If you like that sort of book and if you like cats: Read 'The cat inside'.

4-0 out of 5 stars Love That Cat Man-Man Cat That Love-Cat Man Love That
Burroughs the young man was a well-known hater of cats. In this collection of stories, paragraphs, and commentaries he redeems himself by sharing his change of heart with his readers. His devotion to cats was complete by the end of his life and is evident here. Not a must for all Burroughs fans by any means nor certainly for all cat lovers (God help the poor cat lady who picks this up unknowingly) but, without a doubt, a must for the combination of the two. A superior breed, to be sure.

4-0 out of 5 stars Who knew?
Who knew that old and rusted, corrugated tin woodsman, William Burroughs, had a heart after all?

For all his tales of the debauched human condition in a score of books,old Bill in his later years claimed a cat-spirit as his Familiar and became friends with a succession of lean and hungry strays, dedicated hangers-on, and occasional visitors to his home in Lawrence, Kansas. Some of these outcasts were cats, apparently. Yet even cats have their "routines," like his fictional characters, and cats' hobo confidence-games makethem the perfect sidekick in the Burroughs universe. As Bill puts it, "Of course he wants food and shelter. You don't buy love for nothing."

"Someone said that cats are the furthest animal from the human model. It depends on what breed of humans you are referring to," he writes, "and of course, what cats." For someone whose writing has always delighted in the shock of recognition -- the varieties of human depravity are familiar, yet boundless -- Burroughs' observations throughout"The Cat Inside" are surprisingly forgiving.

This isn't "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," by any means, and Fletch is no Rum-Tum-Tugger. "Warm and fuzzy" is not WSB's terrain. But it's easy to see in these notes the old sharpshooter found it comforting to view cats as kindred spirits. Ruski and Wimpy, Ed, Fletch and Calico Jane (named for Jane Bowles) shared a certain, knowing acceptance of human faults, even if it's just as long as there's a nearby tin of cat food, and someone -- their human -- to open it at dinnertime.

For more about this book, visit BellemeadeBooks at Blogger.com

1-0 out of 5 stars Horrible and Creepy!
I love cat stories and that is why i bought this book, it left a bad taste in my heart, i read it with an open mind and did not find that he was kind to cats, he did not have a cat spirit inside and he did not seem to learn anything about his cats. This book seems to be a cheap print to target cat lovers and make some money. This book is just HORRIBLE and CREEPY!

5-0 out of 5 stars I Cried All Night!
I just finished reading this book. Not only is it a very fast read (I read it in an hour), but it is also the most touching book I have read in a long while. Any cat lover will love this book. This is my first taste of Burroughs, and I must say it was a wonderful taste. I have been crying ever since he spoke of Ed and not being able to find him. I highly recomend this book for anyone! ... Read more

14. And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802144349
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the summer of 1944, a shocking murder rocked the fledgling Beats. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both still unknown, we inspired by the crime to collaborate on a novel, a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and art, obsession and brutality, with scenes and characters drawn from their own lives. Finally published after more than sixty years, this is a captivating read, and incomparable literary artifact, and a window into the lives and art of two of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.

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Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Legendary, but probably not terribly significant
It hasn't been available officially for more than sixty years. Burroughs and Kerouac. And the story revolves around sordid details of a murder committed by a friend of theirs. The first book by Burroughs. So it should be important, right? Well, historically it certainly is important and well-nigh legendary. But this book will not enhance the literary reputations of either author. If you are here due to a deep love of beat literature, then you should go ahead and get the book. You'll be happy you did. If you are here looking for a worthy work of literature by Kerouac, look elsewhere, this is thin gruel. If you are here to explore the early works of Mr. WSB, then you'll find more substance in Junky, this work doesn't lead into much else in the Burroughs oeuvre.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very early novel by Kerouac and Burroughs
"And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks," by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, with forward by James Grauerholz (220 pgs., 1945, 2008).This is the first novel written by members of what became known as the Beat Generation.It was written by Kerouac & Burroughs near the end of World War Two & was never published.They each wrote alternating chapters.
The novel is closely based on the murder of one of their circle of friends by another of their circle of friends.In real life, Lucien Carr IV, then 19, stabbed to death David Eames Kammerer.
David & Lucien met in St. Louis, MO when David was 25 & Lucien was 11.A strange mentorship grew between them.David & Burroughs were friends since they were just 9 & had met in elementary school in St. Louis.Kerouac met them when he was a freshman at Columbia University in NYC.This book is about the normal day-to-day meanderings of a group of young men & young women seemingly just hanging out.
Kerouac keeps waiting to ship out on the merchant marine vessel, but never does.Burroughs is the only one with a job.Women are always around.They are all jumping in & out of bed.Yet, in a seemingly chaste sort of way.Kerouac's first wife, Edie Parker is here.All the names have been changed.
There is always tension whenever Lucien & David meet.Lucien wants David out of his life.They still always get together.David loves Lucien in a purely chaste way.Bisexuality is always present in this book.In this novel, Lucien kills David with a hatchet in a drunken stupor.In real life, Lucien stabbed David to death with a knife.Lucien was sent away for a couple of years.Later, he became Louis Carr, the top writer& editor for UPI.This novel was never published.First, because it was rejected by everyone who looked at it & later when the writers became famous, Carr persuaded them not to publish the book for fear of opening old wounds.Both authors promised not to publish the novel until after Carr's death.It's a good first read & a good foreshadowing of where both writers would be headed in their careers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hippos
Have read some Jack Kerouac, found this to be quite entertaining, and an easy read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
A very interesting and rarely used approach to the novel. Reading the work of two enormously famous writers from the days before they had even published a poem is a unique experience. All the stripped down glory of on the road with real sense of mystery. You know how it ends, but why does it get there? I wouldn't say this book is perfect, but I would still say it is very worth the read.

5-0 out of 5 stars great colaboration
im glad this book was given its chance to be printed after all these years.an amazing story written before the author's days of fame. ... Read more

15. Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (Burroughs, William S.)
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 576 Pages (2000-06-22)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 080213694X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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With the publication of Naked Lunch in 1959, William Burroughs abruptly brought international letters into the postmodern age. Beginning with his very early writing (including a chapter from his and Jack Kerouac's never-before-seen collaborative novel), Word Virus follows the arc of Burroughs's remarkable career, from his darkly hilarious "routines" to the experimental cut-up novels to "Cities of the Red Night" and "The Cat Inside". Beautifully edited and complemented by James Grauerholz's illuminating biographical essays, Word Virus charts Burroughs's major themes and places the work in the context of the life. It is an excellent tool for the scholar and a delight for the general reader. Throughout a career that spanned half of the twentieth century, William S. Burroughs managed continually to be a visionary among writers. When he died in 1997, the world of letters lost its most elegant outsider. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cut up what you mean to say
Some of the greatest writers are great on account of their ability to express complex thoughts clearly and concisely. This may have been a more prized characteristic among the ancients, and it may have taken a turn for the worse in the Renaissance, then steadily into the 18th and 19th centuries. Notable exceptions, such as Machiavelli and Rabelais, probably sought to emulate the ancients more than their own contemporaries. The 20th century, especially among American authors, cured much of the flowery belaboring that was concurrently culminating in Europe. On one side of the ocean Proust and Musil, while on the other side Hemingway and Dreiser. On one side Celan and Michaux, while on the other side Berryman and Olson. So... here we have William Burroughs, an American author of the 20th century, skilled in the craft of getting to the point... but at the same time educated by European letters. And one wonders if the author's decision to cut up his sentences and paragraphs, shuffle these around and make them, as a result, less direct and downright dubious, was in an attempt to serve both masters. The beauty of the prose, however, is astonishing, as are the images and situations depicted. Perhaps the cutups serve even to enhance this beauty in a way, and it does not make any difference where one opens the book. This makes Burroughs an ideal subject for an anthology, and this anthology contains a great selection of samples.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful introduction to the author's work
This book was a hard one to review. The writings sampled are inconsistent-but then again, so was Burroughs's output, so in that respect the writings are a true representation of Burroughs's corpus. The chapter introductions by Grauerholz are especially valuable for readers who are removed from Burroughs's original context, and assist in further illuminating Burroughs's writings. The later works (after the "cut-ups") are especially prophetic; it was interesting to read Burroughs's commentaries on Hussein and anotherBush in 2003. All in all, a useful and comprehensive introduction to one who is seeking to get acquainted with the wide range of work that came from the pen of Burroughs.

5-0 out of 5 stars great collection
A very exspansive and definitive collection for the Burroughs enthusist. This does not have it all, but it does offer a generous portion of this man's work. Including the forementioned, in the other reviews, colaboration with Jack Kerouac. Grauerholz really put togther this labor of love. I'd recomend it for first timers as well as old time collectors. Inbetween each chapter biographical information pertinent to that era is included. Also features a cd spoken word sampler, that pulls material from the Giornio boxed set. I'd also recomend that hefty delight.

3-0 out of 5 stars The one Burroughs book to buy
The one book by William S. Burroughs you should buy. The unique genius that William truly was-yes, indulgent, odd and unsettling at 80, but how great it would have been to have known him young and probably pretty in 1950-is best understood with the direction of J. Grauerholz, although a bourgeois beatnik, for sure, who did love him and is the world expert on him. Ira Silverberg is a true young publishing genius, the new Ferlinghetti, and most responsible for the book. My earlier review I withdraw. Although true, it did not reflect the genius and truth of William-and Jack, Allen, Anne, Philip, Lawrence, Gregory, Gary, even Neal and Huncke, et al. View their literature with a full and clear understanding of their weaknesses and that we, the readers, are almost certain to have less ability to `drive-on' pass the drugs, sex, parties, confusion-to produce as they could or can. At least be warned. A lot of souls have been lost on the beat road.

4-0 out of 5 stars Chilling
Every book that anyone owns will, upon reflection, remind them of the period of their life in which they read the book. Sort of like music.

IfI look at my bookcase, I can run my eyes over the spines of a hundred or so spines, and by extension, a hundred or so feelings given to me from those books.

'Word Virus' is by no means an exception to this rule. If anything, it proves it. Simply due to its extensiveness, and the complexity (or stupidity depending on how you look at it) of Burroughs' writing, it took me a few months to hack through in my final year of high school. Even now, the glaring red spine amongst my other books manages to evoke my feelings of that time even now.

But by god it's worth it. There is nothing more frightening than Burroughs' prose. Everything he writes cannot be understood intellectually, but rather emotionally. You read his words, trying to make head or tail of what is printed in front of you, but that's not the point. You just have to let his ideas, his experiments simply wash over you and you'll understand them in due course.

A true shining light in literature.

Belive the myth. ... Read more

16. Gentleman Junkie: The Life and Legacy of William S. Burroughs
by Graham Caveney
Hardcover: 224 Pages (1998-06)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316137251
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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William S. Burroughs, founding father of America's counterculture, was born in 1914 into a wealthy St. Louis family. He originally planned to be a doctor but soon found another calling: literary outlaw and professional iconoclast. During his youth, he led a life almost as strange as his writing, drifting from job to job--as bartender, private detective, and insect exterminator--before writing his first book, Junkie, a harrowing account of his fifteen-year heroin addiction. But it was Naked Lunch, a surreal Dante's Inferno of narcotics, urban nightmares, and explicit sex, that became his masterpiece and made him an icon of the avant-garde, and sealed his role as hero to generations of artists, poets, punks, and rock musicians. By the time of his death in the summer of 1997, he was not only the last surviving Beat but the acknowledged granddaddy of America's counterculture, with everyone from Apple Computer's Steve Jobs to Philip Glass to U2 claiming him as an inspiration.Now, with Gentleman Junkie, Graham Caveney gives us the definitive life of William S. Burroughs--less a biography than a "chronology of the Burroughs phenomenon," an examination of the myth behind the man. Filled with 150 color photos--many of them never seen before--and new biographical material, Gentleman Junkie shows how Burroughs's fascinating life, from Harvard to Greenwich Village to Tangiers, was matched only by his enormous impact on modern literature and pop culture. Dapper radical, literary experimentalist, and mentor to countless artists, Burroughs had an indelible influence on American culture.Amazon.com Review
There have been several solid conventional biographies ofWilliam S. Burroughs (1914-1997), and this imaginative considerationof his "life and legacy" does not seek to replacethem. Instead, British scholar Graham Caveney concentrates onBurroughs as a cultural phenomenon whose unsettling ability to depictpersonal degradation with modernist detachment first awedcontemporaries in the beat generation and continued through the 1990sto inspire artists as diverse as grunge rocker Kurt Cobain, painterKeith Haring, and film director David Cronenberg. Even beforeNaked Lunch became a literary and legal causecélèbre--the book was ultimately judged not obscene in alandmark 1966 court decision--Burroughs was a legend in avant-gardecircles for his epic drug use, unabashed homosexuality, andadventurous prose. In later years he became an elder statesman of thecounterculture, an icon of excesses survived, revered for hisunflinching portraits of the existential abyss. Caveney astutelyexamines the appeal for Americans of this complex figure whose highlyexperimental work had more in common with that of such Europeans asJean Genet than with pals like Allen Ginsberg. The book's designreflects its genre-bending aspirations: Caveney's text jostles againstreproductions of photos, newspaper clippings, and other documents, allof it laid out on pages colored red, orange, yellow, and blue. Words,images, and colors form an inventive whole that pays fitting tributeto a man who lived entirely by his own rules. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting visual layout, without any insight
Caveney's Gentleman Junkie, published in the United Kingdom under the titleThe Priest They Called Him, is the MTV Video of the Burroughs biographies.

The layout of the book is visually stunning, often placing images of Burroughs' paintings, Burroughs himself, Burroughs' friends, or collages of his work underneath, behind, along with, or beside the text.If you've read the Barry Miles biography of Burroughs, or Literary Outlaw by Ted Morgan, there is nothing here in the pre-1980 material that you haven't read already.

The chief virtue of Gentleman Junkie is the remarkable layout, which makes the book an artwork unto itself.The secondary virtue lies in the fact that it was published in 1998, many years after the Morgan and Miles biographies, and thus includes some info on an era those works missed. A list of Burroughs' works is appended, as is a skeletal index.

While this book is interesting to look at, I would recommend Ted Morgan's book LITERARY OUTLAW as a better biography of Burroughs.


1-0 out of 5 stars All Style, No Substance
This book is shallow and pretentious, the literary equivalent of a wine-and-cheese eater at a Soho gallery who cares more about being seen with the art crowd than exploring art.Caveney is the wine sipper, Burroughs the unfortunate artwork buried beneath Caveney's oh-so avant garde style.Rather than providing insight or information about his fascinating subject, Caveney pastes together a collage of hackneyed Burroughs images, and a few airy snippets of idolatrous prose.I got more pleasure from imagining how exciting a decent biography of Burroughs would be, than from reading this awful book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Visual Treat -- Isn't that Enough?
An excellent introduction to the life and work of American artist William Burroughs, it's especially notable for the beautiful design which incorporates snapshots, artifacts such as hat-cleaning receipts and Army reports, and washes of Burroughs' shotgun paintings which background each textured-paper page. This substantial hardback is reminiscent of Burroughs' own scrapbooks and penchant for the pastiche, its look and feel mimicking the experiments in randomness-- cut-ups and ballistics-- which (in)formed so much of his work. It is foremost a visual, tactile, and olfactory (new it smells like crayons) treat. The New York Times called this "an empty book," which is reason enough to love it. It's a pop biography, a primer on the grand-daddy of the beats. It's not deep, but as eye candy it's neat.

3-0 out of 5 stars So-So Book
The only reason I read this book was because it was in Amazon's under $5 bargain bin.The fact that it is on sale should have been a red flag that it is not that good...

However, this book makes a very nice coaster.It prevents my beautiful furniture from getting water stains from the beverages I set on it.This book is less then $5...

Would it really hurt you that much to buy it??

5-0 out of 5 stars The "Stryfe and Crimes" of William S. Burroughs
This book is excellent.This book not only provides an insight into the world of W.S. Burroughs, but also brief insight into the lives of such figures as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.There are picturs throughout,and numerous quotes from Burroughs to spark the imagination, and promotenew mental growth.This biography spans the time from his birth to hisdeath, and to my knowledge is the most accurate and complete biographypublished so far about this dynamic literary figure.If you wish to learnmore about this author, or about the beat world in general, this book willprovide a world of answers. ... Read more

17. Ali's Smile / Naked Scientology
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 750 Pages (1978)

Isbn: 3861500213
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars may be helpful if only for another perspective on psychiatry
as someone kind of forced into psychiatrists and psychologists, even though probably not alot of people are going to read william burroughs for psychiatry information, this book might be kind of helpful, even though its not nearly the only one, to get a different ideas about what psychiatry is about. since it challenges psychiatry's existence, or by now well-established existence. so, maybe it would be a good book to read if like me you dont want to take it too for granted that psychiatrists have some kind of authority over your existence or even a reason, a good reason, for existing at all. which happens, that some kind of science comes and goes, like phrenology, and then goes away as a kind of mistake. so, its possible thats the same for psychiatry, even though right now, at least in my life and i think, even though i dont keep up with it or watch tv that much and see the commericials, in other lives, its supposed to have some kind of authority or youre even supposed to defer to doctors ... kind of frightening but i guess thats how it is. unfortunately.

5-0 out of 5 stars Trash
Don't waste your time! Just a collage of random thoughts that might have have been applicable in the 70s. ... Read more

18. The Place of Dead Roads: A Novel
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 336 Pages (2001-05-04)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312278659
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A good old-fashioned shoot-out in the American West of the frontier days serves as the springboard for this hyperkinetic adventure in which gunslingers lead by Kim Carson fight for galactic freedom.AUTHORBIO: William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914.His many other works include NAKED LUNCH and JUNKY.Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Place of Dead Roads
This particular work of William S Burrough, in conjunction with all his previous works, acts as a key to a lost codex of the infinite. In other works of his, notably the cut-up trilogy, i found myself at a loss at times, allowing the text to be read and then reabsorbed as an intoned image of the Burroughs mind and intention. In The Place of Dead Roads very little code cracking is necessary for understanding the text while providing insight to his other works in a depth and dimension that didn't exist to me before. He reveals his influence in stride along with the taleof many of his alter-egos. His true will and heart are imbedded page after page, revealing a man looking back over his life, the places of dead roads, as well as looking forward to the final transition of life... death... and immortality.Leading into his final novel The western lands. This is not a book for just anyone as the text states in it's self, it is meant for those who are looking for it. I hope in time we all find this classic piece of work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Burroughs'Best
In my opinion William S. Burroughs was one of the greatest authors of the 20th century.
In this masterpiece the authorweaves an incredible series of vignettes, sometimes horrific, into a cohesive and powerful story.
Disturbing, surreal and powerful.

3-0 out of 5 stars fairly entertaining but not b's best
the book starts off well with some deft writing on wild west style duels and guns--burroughs knows his shootin' irons. then there is some good stuff on dividing humankind (and et's too) into johnsons (the good) and non-johnsons (the bad, including the english, the arabs, the venusians, but not the french, who are johnsons.) along way are a few one-liner jokes so funny you have to slap your leg. and in the middle of the book are two wonderful
chapters, one evoking a feeling of loss, the next about a fake rural town peopled by fake rustics, johsonville, that is absolutely hilarious. and toward the end there's an astonishingly funny chapter on kim carsons, the gunslinging hero, being fitted for a proper english suit by an english tailor after entering the shop in a medieval cape that reeks of black palgue. and then near the end as well there's a proper bourroughs's list of the inner circles of hell, including bald, mid-aged men giving birth to centipedes from egg sacks on their heads. that is, there's b at his hallucinatory wildest here and there, but for too many pages there's just dull claptrap attempting to hold the sharper visions together in a ho-hum good vs evil (johnson vs non-) plot. not as stylistically even as b's more sober books such as junky and queer, and not as consistently stoned as naked lunch, but definitely readable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burroughs at his Best
This may be the most accessible of all of Burrough's books, and proves his brilliant command of the language.He starts with an incredibly strong novel, and then takes us on a head trip through the joys and evils of modern civilization.Remarkably coherent, considering the ground that he covers.Like a few other things, you really can't explain it - just try it and you'll see.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE MASTER DOES IT AGAIN

19. El almuerzo desnudo (Compactos Anagrama) (Spanish Edition)
by William S. Burroughs
Paperback: 252 Pages (2004-02-28)
list price: US$15.90 -- used & new: US$19.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8433920081
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Esta es una de las novelas mas miticas de la literatura norteamericana. Es un descenso a los infiernos de la droga y una denuncia horrorizada y sardonica, onirica y alucinatoria de la sociedad actual, un mundo sin esperanza ni futuro. El autor dispara aqui sus flechas contra las religiones, el ejercito, la universidad, la sexualidad, la justicia corrupta, los traficantes tramposos, el colonialismo, la burocracia y la pisiquitaria representada por el siniestro Dr. Benway. ... Read more

20. Literary Outlaw: The Life and Times of William S. Burroughs
by Ted Morgan
 Paperback: Pages (1990-03)
list price: US$12.95
Isbn: 0380708825
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Literary Outlaw is a wild ride through the life of a man who became an icon for the counterculture and whose perverse and decadent life mirrors his remarkable art. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography
Ted Morgan has written a detailed biography of the writer and media personality William S. Burroughs that explores his many contradictions.Like so many great biographies, it also serves as a fascinating prism through which to view the times and circumstances that informed his life--the Beat movement of the 50s and 60s.Burroughs produced highly personal, often violent and even pornographic work that reflected his homosexuality, his drug dependence, and his somewhat addled, magical view of the universe, causing him to be viewed by many as a highly decadent, even demonic figure.Morgan contrasts this with the actual man, who was quiet and stiffly polite.One of the most shocking things about him was how conventional his morality was in many ways.

My only familiarity with Burroughs' work is a couple abortive stabs at reading "Naked Lunch" and "The Place of Dead Roads" when I was much too young for them, but I believe that this book is a must for anyone who really wants to understand his writing, since it reflected his personal life so heavily.Here you will find full accounts of the famous incident in which he shot his wife as well as encounters with many of the leading cultural figures of his day.One of the major threads concerns his failure as a father and his difficult relationship with his son Billy.A long chapter covering that tragic young man's final days is one of the most harrowing things I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Exhilirating Study of WS Burroughs the Writer & the Character
This book changed my life, as did Camille Paglia's "Sexual Personae" when I first read it 19-20 years ago."Literary Outlaw" is a great window onto the post-WWII-beatnik culture--specifically the friends & people constituting Burroughs' Columbia University / Times Square NYC / Mexico City / Tangiers / Paris / London and again and finally New York City communities--in the 40's and 50's & beyond.Thus this text provides necessary background info missing from "The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1945-1959" (which I also highly recommend). I also learned via "Literary Outlaw" that Burroughs was very interested in magic and/or black magic, of which he was often a practitioner.Subsequently, this interest in magic ties into the dream world/dream time origins (where morality is suspended) of Burroughs' writing.Ted Morgan deconstructs Burroughs with fantastic and fascinating insight--Morgan is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist & experienced biographer, having written 3 other biographies covering more mainstream public figures.PS--The chapter in "Literary Outlaw" dealing with the demise and slow suicide of Burrough's incredibly self-destructive son Billy was heartbreaking and heart-wrenching!It killed me!In fact, it was so heavy it that I could only deal with it in stages.

--Stephen C. Bird, author of "Hideous Exuberance: A Satire"

5-0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read
I read this book in 1989 shortly after it was first published, and very much enjoyed it.I discovered a second hand copy in a bookstore in Brisbane in 2004, bought it and then compulsively read it again.It really is that good. You get a great sense of the remote literary and psychic sage that Burroughs was, and of the character and times of his fellow travellers like Ginsberg, Kerouac and Leary, who went so far out they were unlikely to ever come back.The book charts Burroughs rise as an artistic rebel being adopted by hipsters in the 50's, hippies in the 60's and punks in the late 70's and details his time spent living in cities across the globe and creating subversive masterpieces.The section dealing with the "Nova Convention" is wonderful and the author's admiration for ole WSB comes through this work.You wont be disappointed if you are seeking to understand more about WSB the man and the social contexts in which he lived.I highly recommend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars good bio
Read On the Road years ago then a while back read Dharma Bums. Got me interested in K, and then the rest of the Beats. This book will come back in print someday. The only one on Burroughs and who needs another, it seems to cover it all. A strange tale only more so since it was relatively true. My only edit would be the scene with Jagger. Could there have been any other outcome?Also the end of his son - the horror, but even with Naked Lunch the horror of this poor Junkies life and mind might never be told...

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Not much to say. You should be a Burroughs fan, and somewhat aware of his writings an lifestyle in order to understand. This book is the life, times, friends, travels, and ideas of a brilliant sociopathic junkie. ... Read more

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