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Junky by William S. Burroughs

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English (32)  French (2)  Danish (2)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I read this book many years ago and really enjoyed it.

Of all Burrough's works, I think it's most accessible. I haven't read too much of his other work, so it's hard to know what to compare it to. I liked the atmosphere that the book created, I liked how detailed his writing was, I liked how it felt personal, but also removed at the same time.

I liked that this book was written in the 50's, and I felt that its semi-autobiographical nature really added to the honesty of the overall piece. Some people have said that this is a slow-moving book for them, and while I didn't feel that way at the time, I can see how it's possible. A lot of this story is just the protagonist going through daily life and there isn't so much a plot as the main character talking about drugs, and where he finds his next hit. I found it interesting because it was (almost?) a period piece, and so there was an overall tone that I liked.

Unfortunately, there are like, no female characters. None. From what I remember, in the very least. If they are, they're probably minor.

Still, I appreciate Burrough's wry, witty, dark humour, and so I will give this read 3.5 stars. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
some times i find myself downtown, rummaging through used book stores looking for just one more copy of junky. i always say, 'this is it. this is the last time,' but i keep doing it. if i'm honest, i don't think i'll ever stop. ( )
  Joseph_W_Naus | Jul 20, 2016 |
This book made itself seen every time I stood in front of my 1001-bookcase to pick a new one to read. Therefor today I picked it.

Read it in one afternoon. It is indeed a remarkable read. In my younger days I read some books ((auto)biographies) on how teenagers got addicted and was quite impressed about that.
This one is something completely different. For seemingly no reason in particular, the narrator gets addicted to morphine and a lot of other addictive things that are out there.
It was an interesting read, but most of all it made me angry. To read how a man deliberately ruins his life. How addiction takes over and does not leave him again. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Oct 29, 2015 |
Well, the good thing is that I finished it and can now say I've read it. I didn't like it very much though... The main character (apparently Burroughs) presents his addiction as a cold factual situation which he could, and did, overcome at will. I think his gender, his age, his race and his economic station at the point of his addiction played a pivotal and yet unacknowledged role in his theories and "advice" for dealing with a junk addiction. I'm pretty sure he was not smarter than the medical experts and I suspect his descent into junk addiction played a bigger role in his "great" understandings of how to kick or cure the habit than did any factual reality.

I guess it's one of those books everyone who "reads literature", or, at least, reads American literature has to say they've read... so I've done that. Now I'm going to go drink too much wine and see what theories of alcohol addiction and recovery I can pull out of my rear-end. ( )
  crazybatcow | Aug 18, 2015 |
Pretty crazy read. This guy has seen and done some shit and most of this book, as the title suggests, is about his experiences with drugs, particularly Heroin.

We follow him as he goes through his daily quest to get high. Sometimes he is selling and we learn about the hassles and pitfalls of dealing with customers who are always asking for something on tick. We hear his opinions on weed, coke, speed, time spent in jail.

It is quite sobering and something that takes you down into the dirty parts of this lifestyle. Nothing is glorified and polished and if you ever to know what this world is like, this guy has done it so you dont have too. ( )
  areadingmachine | Jul 6, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burroughs, William S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allen GinsbergIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsberg, AllenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lendínez, MartínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roca, FrancescTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuart, NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yli-Juonikas, JaakkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My first experience with junk was during the War, about 1944 or 1945.
I was born in 1914 in a solid, three-story, brick house in a large Midwest city. (Prologue)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Originally published as Junkie under the name William Lee.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142003166, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Before his 1959 breakthrough, Naked Lunch, an unknown William S. Burroughs wrote Junk, his first novel. It is a candid eye-witness account of times and places that are now long gone, an unvarnished field report from the American post-war underground." "Unafraid to portray himself in 1953 as a confirmed member of two socially-despised under classes (a narcotics addict and a homosexual), Burroughs was writing as a trained anthropologist when he unapologetically described a way of life - in New York, New Orleans, and Mexico City - that by the 1940's was already demonized by the artificial anti-drug hysteria of an opportunistic bureaucracy and a cynical, prostrate media." "For this fiftieth-anniversary edition, eminent Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has painstakingly recreated the author's original text, word by word, from archival typescripts and places the book's contents against a lively historical background in a comprehensive introduction. Here as well, for the first time, are Burroughs' own unpublished introduction and an entire omitted chapter, along with many "lost" passages, as well as auxiliary texts by Allen Ginsberg and others."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141189827, 014104540X, 0241956781

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