Sometimes, I'm not thinking anything, I suppose.
You bet I hadn't the slightest clue what I was getting into when I bought this novel. Nor did I realize just how insane it was all going to be until about 20 pages in...Burroughs, William S. Naked Lunch: The Restored Text. New York: Grove, 2001.Summary
: Originally published in 1959. Theoretically, the novel is narrated by a secret agent named Will Lee, but it's really an ethnography of The Interzone: A nightmarish psuedo-world of drugs, sex, fantasy, and perversion.Comments
: *coughs* Well, this modernist novel is undoubtedly the closest to a heroin trip that I'm ever going to get. (And to think the local Borders had a veritable column of copies of this novel stacked in their remainder section--right next to the children's books. Why doesn't the Religious Right decry stuff like this?) The narrative is disjointed beyond repair, and even Burroughs himself acknowledges (in addition to not being able to remember writing it in the first place >_< ) that the reader can dive in at any point. Anyway, there's something here to offend just about anybody--I found the constant misogyny particularly distasteful--but I'm sure what most people will remember and be horrified about was the (male) homosexuality coupled with drug use, madness, sadomasochism, pedophilia (maybe), and snuff and dismemberment fetishes. Nothing like hanging a man and then having sex with him, right? *urk* So, yeah. Dennis Cooper might as well be Mr. Rogers by comparison. Except that Burroughs' world was a dystopian fantasy whereas Cooper's has the fetid touch of reality to it. Perhaps reality just caught up. Now there's a scary thought. There was also something perversely appealing about the doctor Benway. Authors such as Thomas Pynchon and William Gibson have, it's obvious, been heavily influenced by this sort of modernist writing, though even they, I daresay, aren't so daring. If you want to know where it all comes from, read this pronto.Notes
: hardcover, 1st edition, out-of-print; trade paperback edition availableRating
- No narrative whatsoever, but the unforgettable imagery more than makes up for that. Just be sure that your stomach is ironclad.