Log in

No account? Create an account
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Sometimes I wonder what I'm thinking when I select my reading material. 
24th-Jan-2006 04:17 pm
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 available
Rating: 7/10 - No narrative whatsoever, but the unforgettable imagery more than makes up for that. Just be sure that your stomach is ironclad.
24th-Jan-2006 09:46 pm (UTC) - BURROUGHS
I read this a million years ago, around the same time I read WILD BOYS. Funny, because it was so disjointed and "trippy," I made almost no permanent memory of it. No recognizable story to latch onto, y'know? Have you ever read Ronald Firbank's THE FLOWER BENEATH THE FOOT? Although not the quite the same, it was also very filled with peculiar turns of phrase and weird imagery and was hard to follow (so far as I recall). So, although I've read all these books - I couldn't tell anyone the first thing about them! [come to think of it, they're not too far off this JACK THE MODERNIST that I just finished, although at least this one had the bones of a plot]

Oh, and by the way...that was me who commented on WAS anonymously. Not for any other reason than I was trolling around LJ and I had forgotten to sign in properly.
24th-Jan-2006 10:45 pm (UTC) - Re: BURROUGHS
Funny, because it was so disjointed and "trippy," I made almost no permanent memory of it. No recognizable story to latch onto, y'know?

Yeah, there's that. Though every once in a blue moon, I'm in the mood for that sort of thing. Down the rabbit-hole! :P

Oh, and by the way...that was me who commented on WAS anonymously. Not for any other reason than I was trolling around LJ and I had forgotten to sign in properly.

*nods* It "sounded" like you, but I wasn't sure. Who was it exactly that you referred to my LJ, anyway?
25th-Jan-2006 12:02 pm (UTC) - Re: BURROUGHS
Her name is Claire, her LJ user name is claireyfairy1. She said she friended you because she liked the reviews and is always asking around for recommendations. Since I've run dry of gay books to rec, I referred her to you! Hope that's ok.
25th-Jan-2006 12:27 pm (UTC) - Re: BURROUGHS
It's no problem. I was just curious. I had a random anonymous poster the other day, and I was wondering if the person you were talking about was that guy. (Guess not. ^^; )

I don't know Claire at all, though.
24th-Jan-2006 09:57 pm (UTC)

I was thinking about what you were saying about misogyny. I just started a community for fans of Italian director/writer/etc. Dario Argento and his films about the "Three Mothers." Argento got a lot of heat for his ultra-violent horror films and was accused of being a misogynist. Though I doubt it. True, his victims were typically female and they often were killed in overly-elaborate and overly-gruesome ways, but I think that Argento is in love with women and gave them such gorgeously gorey deaths as a sort of bizarre acid trip homage to his rever of them. Like women are so breathtaking to him that he can only compensate by giving them fabulous deaths.

By the way. I had to read the comments five times because I didn't understand what the hell was going on. It does sound like a heroin trip... not that I'd know. They closest I've come to acid trips are Argento's films and Jacob's Ladder.
24th-Jan-2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
So you've read this book, then?

It wasn't so much women being killed in gruesome ways per se that made this book misogynist, IMO (men were, too)...but the way in which there was NEVER any portrayal of a woman who wasn't somehow the object of a man's action.
25th-Jan-2006 04:34 am (UTC)
Hi! Although I have never commented before, I've been enjoying reading your reviews for a long time... I'm also really happy to see you are from MoHo(senpai!), because I am class of 2009 there. :) :) May I add you?
25th-Jan-2006 10:42 am (UTC)
May I add you?

Absolutely. It's always a pleasure to meet women from MHC. ^_^

And welcome!
30th-Jan-2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
This page was loaded Jul 16th 2018, 3:03 am GMT.