Sunday, December 13, 2009

Naked Lunch - William S. Burroughs

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The Deal: At this point in time, due to an RSI, I can only type for 10 minutes at a time. What you see below is what is hammered out before the timer goes off- and nothing more.

Andrew Macrae was with me when I bought this book, and mentioned that he was reading it at the time. When I asked him what he thought so far, he paused, and finally said that it was "like taking a shower in shit".

I bought the book because I loved the movie, not realising that the movie was not the book, the movie was more the story behind the writing of the book and the life of Burroughs. Soooo...I was quite unprepared for what was between the covers.

I'm not even sure I can tell you what the book is about. Does it matter? It's a classic, it's been well analysied and critiqued by people far more insightful than I. It isn't a story. There is nothing within that resembles a plot arc. It's just one long, rambling...ramble! About drugs, sex, homosexuality, hypocrisy, and...stuff?


I alternated between feeling more than mildly nauseated while reading, to laughing out loud. Generally both at the same time. I'm not sure any other book this year has made me laugh so much. It's absurd, surreal, there are real flashes of genius in there, in all that muck and filth and ewwwww squick. I was self-conscious reading it on the train. That was one book I wasn't sure I wanted people reading over my shoulder.

I...kinda loved it. Really.

But Macrae was totally spot on. It is exactly like taking a shower in shit.

Verdict: This is most certainly not for everyone.

Shark Puppet totally loved it too. He's in the covers. Heh.


  1. Best of the Beat writers. Check out Nova Express when you get a chance.

  2. Oh, and the audio Dead City Radio is worth hunting down too.

  3. Cool, I'll keep that in mind. Next of the Beat writers is Kerouac.

  4. Er - that photo makes the book look like it's got an erection.

    A shark-shaped erection, at that.

    Oddly appropriate, I guess, given the book's content...

  5. I was going to suggest Dead City Radio myself. Sometimes I think most of what I know about the rhythm of the English language comes from listening to Burroughs with a backing track.

    (Spare Ass Annie isn't bad either, though boy is it ever wrong.)

  6. I'm guessing that Naked Lunch was a bit too much for Miss Apricot's delicate sensibilities.

  7. Miss Apricot did most certainly not approve.