It's a disturbing book, for sure, which is probably a good thing, and certainly it's worth reading for its historical importance. But it seems shallow and obvious when compared, for instance, with "Ulysses," another oft-banned book of the 20th century. Kerouac and McCarthy compared Burroughs with Swift, and the comparison is interesting, because both writers were horrified and revolted by many hot irish girls naked the objects they write about.
But, first of all, Swift is much funnier than Burroughs; and, secondly, Burroughs' Bad Guys are mainly the people who get in the way of, or who profit from, his drug habit--a part of his life about which he was himself to put it mildly conflicted.
And, sure, you can argue that the lack of control in the man's writing is just part of the "Beat aesthetic.
movie To say that I didn't like William S. Burroughs' classic head trip of a novel is vastly understating my reaction. Yes, I realize that "Naked Lunch" is widely considered to be one of the best books of the 20th Century, and I really expected to appreciate the book on its own terms, since I've read my fair share of torrent fiction and have a fairly high tolerance for the offbeat, grotesque and obscene. I'd heard that "Naked Lunch" was and ash and may porn still is required reading for students in some colleges and universities, so when I picked it up I was filled with eager curiosity to see what I'd missed back lunch my own college days when the most subsersive item on our reading list naked "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess.
It would almost certainly have sent some of them into spasms of outrage, if not cardiac arrest.
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Yet "Naked Lunch" is entirely a product of my parents' generation, that problematic group that publicly embraced fifties-style uniformity while a great unrest bubbled just beneath a bland surface, provoking the writings of Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsburg and others of what came to be known as The Beat Generation. With "Naked Lunch" Burroughs shakes up that inherent conservatism, morality and sameness pervasive in American culture at the time and graphically explores his own drug addictions.
But, to what end? There had been many controversial books published before this and many would come after, but for some reason "Naked Lunch" has endured as a classic with countless admirers of which I am not one.
To try and recount the plot of "Naked Lunch" lunch an exercise in frustration. It begins in New York with a junkie named William Lee who goes on the run from a pair of narcotics cops. The entire book is like a road trip through hell--or the disheveled mind of a junkie. Lee leaves New York and travels to Mexico and points beyond, hooking up with various unsavory characters along the way while he looks for drugs in a grotesque landscape of endless carnage and squalor. It really is the ugliest book I've ever read, and there are some many?
At first, Burrough's tale is descriptive and effective, and there is an absurd humor evident in his writing. But, further into it, "Naked Lunch" becomes unbearably repetitive until even the determined ugliness and outrageous horrors become downright boring. And it stays that way. By the time I was finished with the book, I realized that I could have naked the first 30 pages and stopped movie I gained nothing from reading through to the end other than the need to take a shower each time I put it down. For me, "Naked Lunch" represents approximately 8 hours of my life that I'll never get back.
It is obvious that it was written during the height of his opium addiction as there is torrent any way to follow the events that play out. Whilst entertaining albeit in a difficult and confusing way, the entertainment value dips quick as the graphic imagery and vulgar dialogues never develop and no characters connect to an overlaying plot.
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