Re: RARA-AVIS: William S. Burroughs

From: Nathan Cain (
Date: 31 Jan 2008

The late trilogy is called "The Western Lands," (Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roads, The Western Lands) and it is
(surprise, surprise) a Western. I believe one of Burroughs first efforts was a collaboration with Jack Kerouac called "And The Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks," or something of that sort. It is, if I'm not mistaken, a hardboiled effort. I perused it when it was released an a postmortem Burroughs anthology, but I can't say I remember it very well, and I'm at work so I don't have the book handy. Burroughs was definitely influenced by hardboiled and noir fiction, and one of the major conceits of his early works involves the Nova Police trying to stop Intersellar criminals called the Noval Mob from destryoing the planet. So Burroughs tended to play with the three major genres
(Westerns, Sci-fi and Crime) as part of his rather ecletic, surreal style. He was influenced early on by the work of Jack Black, who sounds like an interesting character:

On Jan 31, 2008 7:33 AM, Juri Nummelin <> wrote:
> Don't you think William Burroughs fits the description of a writer who
> transcends the crime and thriller genre? JUNKIE is a deeply noirish book and
> QUEER takes it to a more experimental level. The beginning of THE NAKED
> LUNCH is quite hardboiled and noir - the rest of the book is totally
> something else, though. I haven't read his late trilogy (what's it called
> now, The Lands-something), but I just read a review saying it plays with the
> thriller and mystery genres.
> Apart from that, Georges Perec must've known the American noir. He wrote the
> screenplay for SERIE NOIRE, a 1976 film based on Jim Thompson's novel
> (forgot which).
> By the way, has anyone seen the early movies that Jean-Patrick Manchette
> wrote in the sixties? How are they like? Anything like his novels or just
> pure euroexploitation? (Check the IMDb for titles.)
> Juri

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