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Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
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Naked Lunch (1959)

by William S. Burroughs

Other authors: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9,59399524 (3.53)268
Bill Lee, an addict and hustler, travels to Mexico and then Tangier in order to find easy access to drugs, and ends up in the Interzone, a bizarre fantasy world, in an edition that features restored text, archival material, and an essay on psychoactive drugs.
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» See also 268 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This was freakishly amazing, simultaneously making me wish I was on a full H binge with [b:Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas|7745|Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas|Hunter S. Thompson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1394204569s/7745.jpg|1309111], [b:Infinite Jest|6759|Infinite Jest|David Foster Wallace|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1446876799s/6759.jpg|3271542], and a whole slew of Stephen King books to cap off this horrific tome of pure poetry.

1959. And still absolutely harrowing today.

I thought movies like Requiem For A Dream or tv shows like The Wire were the most absolutely effective anti-drug memoir ever created by richly immersing us in the addict's life... but no.

Naked Lunch tips the reader right off a cliff into the deep end of an Heroin Dream, starting us right at the gross end of bodies breaking down, moving on to 1984-like Reconditioning Centers for total mental reprogramming, thank you very much, and then moving into the skull of a paranoid delusional fever dream of homosexuality and then alien societies.

If I could pick all of the heaviest hot-topics of the day and cram them all together into the heaviest fever pitch of a "normal's" fear, paranoia, misconceptions, and conspiracy theories, making the prose into a Beat-Poetry slam, and then fearlessly drowning the reader in jizz, then this is the book I'd point to as the poster child of all the books that would come after.

Seriously. The impact of this book on mainstream druggie fiction CANNOT be underestimated. Whole horror genres have spawned off of this book in the 80's. Talking assholes? A man who stole an opium suppository from his own grandmother's ass? Spontaneous liquefaction of bodies as a bug's-eye view of our modern society?

This stuff is RICH. It's also disgusting.

Hell, I'm a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk and Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, and even these guys didn't quite go off the deep end as far as William S. Burroughs.

Hats off. Total Respect. Even if it's an enormously wild button-pusher, it's not like it's un-factual. The drugs are real. The lives of homosexuals were probably quite real for the day and age. The explosion of the importance and the wild revelry makes these things into a realm of All-Importance in this novel, though, making it at first horrifying, then surreal, and then almost pure science fiction. :) Truly a delight. :)

It's also a perfect piece to prepare for Halloween. Perfect for the feels, NOT the camp. I got scared. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Very strange and fragmented. Plotless it seems. Seems like there is something to offend everyone, but in a casual and unintentional way: Like someone stating facts rather than trying for shock value. A great novel of the 20th Century? I don't think so. A novel that experimented with writing style in the same way a someone experiments with drugs while writing a novel? Probably. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
I have no idea what happened ( )
  cortneycassidy | Feb 14, 2020 |
Takes a while to get used to the language enough to realize that the book is, in fact, written in English. Basically, a couple hundred pages of drug and sex obsessed beat poetry. Not for me, but maybe for you. However, the rhythm makes this fun to read out loud. Not loudly enough for the kids to hear, of course... ( )
  hitaltkey | Dec 3, 2019 |
Takes a while to get used to the language enough to realize that the book is, in fact, written in English. Basically, a couple hundred pages of drug and sex obsessed beat poetry. Not for me, but maybe for you. However, the rhythm makes this fun to read out loud. Not loudly enough for the kids to hear, of course... ( )
  hitaltkey | Dec 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (63 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Burroughs, William S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial CourtContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ballard, J. G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Grazia, EdwardContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginsberg, AllenContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grauerholz, JamesEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Joyce & Co.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lendínez, MartínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mailer, NormanContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijsing, GeertenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meijsing, GeertenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, BarryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ulin, David L.Afterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I can feel the heat closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil-doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square station, vault and turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train.
In life there is that which is funny, and there is that which is politely supposed to be funny. (Foreword)
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts in a decision handed down on July 7, 1966, declared Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs not obscene. (Naked Lunch on Trial)
I awoke from The Sickness at the age of forty-five, calm and sane, and in reasonably good health except for a weakened liver and the look of borrowed flesh common to all who survive The Sickness... (Introduction)
When I say I have no memory of writing Naked Lunch, this is of course an exaggeration, and it is to be kept in mind that there are various areas of memory. (Afterthoughts on a Deposition)
Quotations
As one judge said to another: Be just. And if you can't be just, be arbitrary.
"I studied neurology under Professor Fingerbottom in Vienna...and he knew every nerve in your body. Magnificent old thing...Came to a sticky end... His falling piles blew out the Duc de Ventre's Hispano Suiza and wrapped around the rear wheel. He was completely gutted, leaving an empty shell sitting there on the giraffe skin upholstery.... Even the eyes and brain went with a horrible schlupping sound.  The Duc de Ventre says he will carry that ghastly schlup to his mausoleum."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Disambiguation notice
Fun fact: The ... edition ... published by France’s Olympia Press, misprinted the title. Burroughs had always intended to call the book simply Naked Lunch, but his editors added the article. The error was corrected in the first, 1962 American edition, but some later printings still included “the” in the title. http://flavorwire.com/231804/classic-...
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Average: (3.53)
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