Saturday, June 24, 2006

Naked Lunch (by William S. Burroughs)

Important historically more than as a work of art, I think. The obscenity trial of Naked Lunch was the last such trial in the United States. And I can definitely see why the book was considered obscene; it's way more graphic than Henry Miller, or at least more disturbing, because of all the detailed injection descriptions (yes, I read them... shudder) and all the... well, gross stuff. The edition I read had the preface after the book, which is really dumb, because it's hard to hang your hat on anything if you just dive into it, like Burroughs's anti-capital punishment stance and his philosophy of Need, which he sets up nicely if you read the effing preface first. I found the novel as a whole to be occasionally poetic, occasionally funny, and occasionally reminiscent of George Bush. But as far as the beats go, I liked On The Road better.

"The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client."


Blogger Beth said...

I really hated this book. I liked Junkie and the little bit I read of Queer, but Naked Lunch made me angry. I don't remember much about it at this point but it felt like violent misogyny to me.

7:44 AM  

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