From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 18 Dec 2004

Just finished Burroughs's JUNKY. It's supposedly
"painstakingly" reconstructed from his original script, so I am skeptical about whether I have any common ground for discussing the book. It seemed less a novel and more of a fictionalized autobiographical piece, like Hemingway's A MOVEABLE FEAST.

The book follows junkie Bill in post WWII from New York down south, eventually ending up in Mexico City. Going south has a literary connotation beyond mere geographical direction, a psychological and moral descent, and the book is consistent with this. Bill supplements his heroin addiction with cocaine, codeine, alcohol, peyote, and a pharmacopoeia of other drugs, and as the book progresses his life goes to hell, and his unflinching and matter-of-fact narrative becomes more and more impressive.

One thing that surprised me is that, knowing Burroughs's ties to the beat generation, I expected a mood closer to the pseudo-intellectual air of Kerouac's ON THE ROAD or DHARMA BUMS. Not even close.
 Burroughs even goes out of his way to distance himself from that. His eye is on the bums, not the beatniks, with characters closer to Selby than Kerouac.

I understand that Burroughs claim to fame centers on NAKED LUNCH. I definitely want to read it some day.



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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 18 Dec 2004 EST