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William S. Burroughs (1914–1997)

Teoksen Alaston lounas tekijä

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Tietoja tekijästä

William S. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation who wrote in the postmodern paranoid fiction genre. Jack Kerouac called Burroughs the "greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift," while Norman Mailer declared him "the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by näytä lisää genius." While he is best known for the novels Naked Lunch, Queer, and Junkie, he also collaborated with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Gus Van Sant, David Cronen-berg, and Sonic Youth to produce films, music, and performance pieces. näytä vähemmän
Erotteluhuomautus:

(eng) This is the beat author, not to be confused with his son of the same name, also an author.

Image credit: William S Burroughs

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Merkitty avainsanalla

Yleistieto

Jäseniä

Keskustelut

1914: William S. Burroughs - The Yage Letters, Literary Centennials (elokuu 2014)
Authors similar to Burroughs, William Burroughs (helmikuu 2012)

Kirja-arvosteluja

*Partial spoilers ahead*

Frustrating. After years of blah, increasingly half-hearted experimental novels and a relatively short (though brutal) period of writer's block, Burroughs almost staged a comeback with Cities of the Red Night. Almost, but not quite. The first half of the book is the most ambitious thing he ever wrote, and the array of characters and situations is very impressive; it's obvious that he was taking greater pains with the material, and found it interesting and engaging. There's a story here, and you actually want to turn the page and find out what happens next. (This is extremely rare in WSB's oeuvre; he was by nature a writer, yet not a natural storyteller.)

So why did Burroughs allow this extraordinarily promising beginning to go to hell in the book's second half? Why did he abandon the various threads of the plot to churn out 160-odd pages of dreary, Naked Lunch-style routines? (You know the stuff I mean: young red-haired boy bends over and farts righteous green flame, setting fire to a bunch of screaming Southern bigots as Doc Benway looks on and mutters, "Most interesting case indeed," etc. This goes on for page after page after page, almost as if Burroughs intended to confound the reader's expectations.) Did he find himself unable to write a coherent ending? Was he only trying to give his audience the obscenity-by-numbers that he thought they demanded? Your guess is as good as mine, but the unfulfilled potential of Cities drives me crazy. I do feel that it's worth reading for the excellent first half; just enter into it with the understanding that the whole thing collapses rather abruptly and never recovers.

Burroughs was mixing with a dark, dangerous crowd during the years that this novel was being written, and the influence of the Magickal Childe scene is evident in the subplot involving New York private eye Clem Snide and the supernatural forces he encounters while investigating a cult murder case. If memory serves, the macabre death of the Jerry Green character was based on a real-life incident briefly described in a book by English travel writer Bruce Chatwin, and which actually did occur on the Greek island of Spetses or Spetsai. That island was the setting for John Fowles's critically acclaimed The Magus, to which Burroughs makes direct reference in Cities of the Red Night. It's interesting to note that horror novelist Peter Straub, who likewise appears to have rubbed elbows with some frightening folk during this same period, based his bestselling Shadowland (published the year before Cities) on the Fowles novel.
… (lisätietoja)
½
1 ääni
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Jonathan_M | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 8, 2024 |
look, at a certain point very early on, i realised i was reading this not for enjoyment but as an anthropological exercise, satisfying my curiosity about midcentury america, my personal favourite era of history to study. and in that sense this was quite an edifying read. but on the other hand i found it pretty much skin-crawlingly horrible at all points, not so much the sex, the sex i could easily handle, even some of the more comical violence, but my god, the RACISM. oy vey. reading this on the subway felt like i was committing an act of antisocial behaviour. i covered the recto/verso with my hand when i had people near me. mortifying! a hard one to tackle with my 21st Century Sensibilities and like i AM glad i read it - there are actually some moments of really thrilling prose and insight - but now i need a palate cleanser asap.… (lisätietoja)
1 ääni
Merkitty asiattomaksi
i. | 68 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 19, 2024 |
Interesting look at drug culture in the 40s, but missing the element shared by some of his contemporaries that for me transcends the gritty subject matter and makes the work, for lack of a better word, beautiful.
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
GDBrown | 53 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 15, 2024 |
I suspect this is a book one either loves or hates. While I didn't hate it, and while the book certainly contains some nuggets of insight that are worth reading, I found it trying to have to read so much ridiculous trash in order to find those insights. Other than its historical relevance, perhaps the main reason to read this book is to see just how messed up heroin and other opiates will make someone, such that you decide to avoid them all. So five stars for its historical relevance, its warning against opiates, and a handful of insights, but zero stars for 98% of the book's contents, which leads to my 2.5 star review.… (lisätietoja)
 
Merkitty asiattomaksi
tnilsson | 68 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 5, 2024 |

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Tilastot

Teokset
362
Also by
85
Jäseniä
35,373
Suosituimmuussija
#532
Arvio (tähdet)
½ 3.7
Kirja-arvosteluja
375
ISBN:t
845
Kielet
29
Kuinka monen suosikki
215

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