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Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me

by Malcolm McNeill

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Observed While Falling is an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer William S. Burroughs and the artist Malcolm McNeill on the graphic novel Ah Pook is Here. The memoir chronicles the events that surrounded it, the reasons it was abandoned and the unusual circumstances that brought it back to life. McNeill describes his growing friendship with Burroughs and how their personal relationship affected their creative partnership. The book is written with insight and humor, and is liberally sprinkled with the kind of outré anecdotes one would expect working with a writer as original and eccentric as Burroughs. It confirms Burroughs' and McNeill's prescience, the place of Ah Pook in relation to the contemporary graphic novel, and its anticipation of the events surrounding 2012. McNeill expounds on the lessons of that experience to bring Ah Pook into present time.… (more)
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Not officially endorsed by Burroughs estate, Observed While Falling offers a great perspective on Uncle Bill. It also doubles as a wonderful memoir of the 1970s London art scene. What happened to all those "crazy hippies?" Why end up in California making car commercials of course. Why this and its companion Lost Art of Ah Pook is Here where not published in a single volume is beyond me. Is it possible that Burroughs name is still that much of a cash cow? (I use the term "cash cow" too often.) I thoroughly enjoyed this book but Mc Neill is a better artist than he is writer so if you only going to get one... ( )
  librarianbryan | Feb 2, 2014 |
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Observed While Falling is an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer William S. Burroughs and the artist Malcolm McNeill on the graphic novel Ah Pook is Here. The memoir chronicles the events that surrounded it, the reasons it was abandoned and the unusual circumstances that brought it back to life. McNeill describes his growing friendship with Burroughs and how their personal relationship affected their creative partnership. The book is written with insight and humor, and is liberally sprinkled with the kind of outré anecdotes one would expect working with a writer as original and eccentric as Burroughs. It confirms Burroughs' and McNeill's prescience, the place of Ah Pook in relation to the contemporary graphic novel, and its anticipation of the events surrounding 2012. McNeill expounds on the lessons of that experience to bring Ah Pook into present time.

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