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Queer

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,397 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
For more than three decades, while its writer's world fame increased, Queer remained unpublished because of its forthright depiction of homosexual longings. Set in the corrupt and spectral Mexico City of the forties, Queer is the story of William Lee, a man afflicted with both acute heroin withdrawal and romantic and sexual yearnings for an indifferent user named Eugene Al ...more
Paperback, 134 pages
Published January 6th 1987 by Penguin Books (first published 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Here's the thing that puzzles me about this book: why was it not published until 1985 while the far, far more offensive Naked Lunch was published (not without obstacles) in 1959? One idea is that Burroughs put the manuscript for Queer away for many years and chose not to revisit it because it reminded him of a extremely terrible time in his life, the time surrounding the well-known (and unfortunately adapted to the screen) accidental killing of his wife during a drunken game of William Tell (a " ...more
Kristen
Dec 12, 2010 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I have a passionate hatred for William Burroughs. I think even his fans have to concede that he's a degenerate piece of shit. I admit my prior experience with him consists of 5 pages of Naked Lunch and a couple biographies of various sorts, none of which fail to mention the pedophilia and him murdering his wife (I'm from Detroit, don't think for a second I buy his bullshit story), not that I'd hold that against him when rating this book.

I went into this book expecting it to be about heroin abus
...more
MJ Nicholls
Certain “cult” writing earns this status because the prose is so transparent and simple it instantly appeals to teenage males done with Easton Ellis and Kerouac who want to up their shock quotient before attempting to read Gravity’s Rainbow for the first and last time. Queer fits the bill except, by today’s standards, the book is a little prude in tight Speedos with its danglies between its thighs asking us to love it if we’d only give it a chance. Will Lee is a homosexual-in-training in pursuit ...more
mark monday
Jan 11, 2014 mark monday rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queertime
seriously, Lee, will you give it a rest? stop trying to get into the pants of that straight guy. get some dignity. Lee, i hate to tell you this, but you are embarrassing yourself. you're desperate and that is highly unattractive. even worse, you surround yourself with the same decay that is present in your decayed view of the world. and when that isn't enough, you seek out even more decay, until the novel becomes a travelogue of depressing decay, decay, decay. all the while trying pathetically t ...more
Joey
Jun 02, 2015 Joey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fictions, classics
A conservative reader might ask his Goodreads friends , “ Is William Burroughs gay? “ as if Burrough knows how it feels like being queer, an offensive slang for homosexual. If he is, it is neither here nor there because he is able to depict the reality of the homosexual world , categorically, the desire to establish an intimate relationship with a straight guy. So if you are gay, you might be able to empathize the situation of the protagonist. But if you are a straight guy, you might end up real ...more
L.A. Witt
Jul 18, 2014 L.A. Witt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried. I effing tried.

I can appreciate the book for what it is. Publishing (even writing) a queer-themed book was daring and subversive in that era. Living that life was dangerous. So in that respect, I can appreciate it for breaking ground, etc.

That said, I hated the book. Or I should say, I hated the half of the book I managed to get through before I finally gave up because...I hated it. Lee is obnoxious, judgmental, entitled, and at times downright creepy in his pursuit of Eugene. I don't
...more
Tal
Apr 21, 2008 Tal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lee, Chapter 4: "Got an idea for a new dish. Take a live pig and throw it into a very hot oven so the pig is roasted outside and when you cut into it, it's still alive and twitching inside. Or, if we run a dramatic joint, a screaming pig covered with burning brandy rushes out of the kitchen and dies right by your chair. You can reach down and pull off the crispy, crackly ears and eat them with your cocktails."

Junky is tougher, and Naked Lunch is weirder, but this is the best Burroughs' book I've
...more
Brenda
Jun 08, 2013 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, read-in-2013
Aunque no lo sea de forma explícita, ‘Queer’ parece la representación de la exploración del dolor y de la huída psicológica del propio Burroughs. Una muestra de su necesidad de calor humano y de afecto aderezada con una escritura visceral. Lo importante es que, al contrario de lo que pasa con ‘En la carretera’, no se queda en lo banal. Un poco superior a 'Los subterráneos'. A falta de conocer ‘Aullidos, ‘Yonqui’ o ‘El almuerzo desnudo’ es el mejor beat que he leído.
the gift
pathetic truth, not particular to sexual orientation: whomever you love, there is no limit to abasement you will eagerly suffer, for you will have no pride... though why this was not published and naked lunch was? no idea. here is the beginning of the outrageous, horrific, hilarious routines, from lee to his audience...
Lydia
Aug 18, 2015 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtiqa
So I have a tricky relationship with this book.

It's one of the first pieces of queer literature that I ever read, and I read it when I was quite young. I was hungry for representation and depiction of queer characters. I had accepted myself as a queer person and was happy, but I needed validation.

I think it's one of his earlier works and isn't as well-written as some of his others. I'm not sure if it's problematic or not, I would have to reread it, but I'm not sure if I will.

I'm not sure if I wi
...more
Amy (folkpants)
Apr 28, 2015 Amy (folkpants) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading Burroughs even though I've been meaning to for years. I admit that the generation of writers that he was a part of- the beat generation- has never greatly appealed to me. I can't really relate to being on the road and high all the time. But, at the same time, it does lead to great story telling. Queer had a bit of that crazy on the road feel. But, for me, it also had a ton of very intimate, private emotions that I could relate to. Lee's desperation for any kind of a ...more
John David
Oct 18, 2010 John David rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
This book has been sitting on my library shelves for a couple of years untouched. Since it was William Burroughs, and looked like a fairly quick read, I decided to pick it up. Burroughs is one of the seminal American authors of the underground gay experience, right? I thought it would be like reading Alan Hollinghurst on cocaine - something I was looking forward to.

But I was highly disappointed. The novel's plot revolves around gay two heroin addicts, William Lee and Eugene Allerton. Lee's attra
...more
John Molina
Feb 21, 2013 John Molina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. "Queer" is interesting to me as you can see Burroughs' evolution as a writer and the novel also has a foreboding quality that many attribute to Burroughs' accidental murder of his common law wife. The actual plot of the book is pretty basic, it involves William Lee's infatuation with a young man in Mexico. The novel is unflinching in it's portrayal of blind lust; Burroughs' character makes a fool of himself on many occasions, but the novel shouldn't just be seen as on ...more
Andreína
May 23, 2015 Andreína rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Un cielo de ese tono especial de azul que tan bien combina con los revoloteantes buitres"

Las descripciones de la época y de las ciudades que hacía Burroughs me dejaron perdidamente enamorada. Si tenía que drogarse tan horriblemente como lo hacía para escribir así, lo entiendo perfectamente y le doy la razón.

Me gustó Lee. Su necesidad de atención, su esfuerzo por agradar, su sinceridad. Creo que escribir sobre un personaje así y lograr que agrade a los lectores es una hazaña asombrosa, así que 1
...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Am făcut foarte greu rost de această carte. De fapt, cineva mi-a făcut rost de ea, cadou fiind de ziua mea. Nu pot să vă spun ce a trebuit să facă persoana respectivă pentru a procura, dar pot să vă spun că a stat la telefon cu cei de la depozit de la Polirom exasperîndu-i să o găsească. Un mic detaliu picant, menit a sublinia obsesia mea legată de acest autor. Cartea a costat 3.99 lei. Mai mult a fost efortul depus şi taxele poştale pentru o cărţulie groasă de 150 de pagini.

Pederast este aproa
...more
Herdis Marie
I really wanted to like this.

I really did.

But I realise that my problem with a lot of modernist and postmodernist literature is its propensity for nonsense. I get that it's supposed to mirror a modern world that thrives on chaos, that the lack of clear plot lines and characterisation are a mark of the modern world's tendency towards confusion with our very state of being, blah, blah, blah. But me, I really like a character I can get properly into. I don't even have to like him/her (my favourite
...more
George
Mar 13, 2015 George rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Το μικρό αυτό βιβλιαράκι είναι μάλλον η ιδανικότερη αρχή για κάποιον που θέλει να διαβάσει το έργο του Γουίλιαμ Μπάροουζ, όχι τόσο γιατί είναι το καλύτερο ποιοτικά, σε καμία περίπτωση, αλλά γιατί είναι ιδιαίτερα ευκολοδιάβαστο και έχει πολλά από τα στοιχεία που διακρίνουν το έργο του συγγραφέα.

Όπως φανερώνεται και από τον τίτλο, η ιστορία, που είναι τοποθετημένη στο διεφθαρμένο Μέξικο Σίτι της δεκαετίας του '40, έχει να κάνει με τον πόθο του ομοφυλόφιλου Γουίλιαμ Λι για τον νεαρό Γιουτζίν Άλερτ
...more
Jason Alexander
Desperation and self-loathing.

With much of the unapologetic voyeuristic view as was in Junky, but less rawness in a way. Lee, the protagonist is painful to be with, you cringe and want to distance yourself. It seems that the character's view of the outside world is a reflection of his inward one - disgusting, empty, meaninglessness. A painful book, hard to reckon with, and unfinished in my view; I do not need a clear resolution, but it just seemed like this was a piece, a fragment, and it could
...more
Alexandra
Jan 28, 2014 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ode to misery! Corruption , misery and shocking images having as a background the torturous effort of a gay man, to stop his addiction. Along with the effort to «choke» the narcotic madness , Lee is being fed with moments , sick many times , sprouting through a grueling and totalitarian desire for another drug user.
Through this miserable love absoluteness Lee, using as a «literary paradigm» the Mexico City, will bring to the surface the darker side of American society . A picture of the most
...more
Sezen
Dec 18, 2011 Sezen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitabin anakarakterinin lakirdilarini sagdan soldan tanidigi zavalli, edilgen bir bar arkadasiymis gibi dinlerken hic tanimadiginiz, aslinda merak da etmediginiz birisinin lakirdilarini da dinlerken buluyorsunuz kendinizi. Peki bu densiz kim? Cevirmen. Cevirmenin (ya da cevirmenlerin) Moda anilari, cevirmenin ingilizcesini sevdigi icin cevirmedigi argo sozcukler, cevirmenin once bizi ilgilendirecegine karar verip acikladigi sonra gerisini merak etmeyecegimize karar verip bunu cekinmeden soyleyip ...more
Kyle Shroufe
Apr 02, 2012 Kyle Shroufe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-beat-lost
A William S. Burroughs novel that had been written just after his controversial novel "Junky" except it never got to see the light of day until the 1980's when, frankly, it was safe to publish it (and Burroughs finished the text). The idea that Burroughs even wrote this account of a homo-sexual relationship that spans continents and also inhabits heavy drug use and other topics that would be very played upon for our white picket fence society of post war America in late 40's early 50's, is just ...more
Mark Picketts
This was the third book selected for the guys book club here in Mexico and it was a real interesting read. Definitely from a genre that I haven’t had any exposure too and i enjoyed learning more about William S. BurroughsBurroughs and Jack KerouacKerouac (who I regularly site as one of my favorites). Those guys moved to Mexico and just, well...they must have had some crazy stories. Definitely pushing the envelope.

Rambling at parts and too discombobulated (undoubtedly due to “Henry”) to really fo
...more
Guy Portman
Jul 03, 2013 Guy Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Queer is an unreciprocated love story, in which the protagonist Lee craves love and attention from a young American by the name of Eugene Allerton.

Set in the American ex-pat scene of hedonistic, lawless 1940s Mexico, the first half of the story centres around a number of bars and gay joints where Lee spends his days, drinking, drug-taking and going through set routines, whereby he attempts to regale his audience with intellectualness and bizarre humour.

Later in the book Lee persuades Allerton
...more
Mysterium
This is an interesting look into the heart and hormones of William S. Burroughs. In many ways it is quite sad how being a member of a counter-culture group back in an era where the homophobia and persecution of those who were not WASP's was violent and deadly stunted the expression and romantic feelings of a gay man. It is equally as sad, how little this nation has changed with his hatred and judgement of people.

You come away with a feeling of bleak sadness for Burroughs that all of the love he
...more
Mat
Aug 18, 2012 Mat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, Okay. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself 'homophobic' but let's just say I feel slightly uncomfortable reading a book with the title of Queer on a crowded train. And I am not talking about any standard commuter train. I am talking about a jam-packed sushi-fest of people that is the Tokyo commuter train. But I realize that it's nonsense to feel that way. Who cares?
I'm a heterosexual man but do have some friends who are homosexual/lesbian and am totally cool being around them. Have no p
...more
João Roque
William S.Burroughs é um daqueles escritores que é considerado por muita gente como "intocável" e cada livro seu tem de ser uma obra prima.
Não quero generalizar, mas muito deste conceito assenta nalgum pseudo intelectualismo de certas pessoas; claro que a escrita do autor não é vulgar, e acredito que haja quem sinceramente a aprecie imenso.
Não estou nesse grupo e este livro, embora pequeno, custou-me um pouco a ler.
Nem sei como classificá-lo. Por vezes é um típico romance sobre uma relação amor
...more
Sam
Feb 22, 2008 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: witty, spacey
This is pulp fiction at its finest, and the perfect companion to Burroughs better known "Junky." I have always loved the introduction to the 1985 re-issue: "When I lived in Mexico City at the end of the 1940's, it was a city of one million people, with clear sparkling air and the sky that special shade of blue that goes so well with circling vultures, blood and sand -- the raw menacing pitiless Mexican blue." If you are turned off by his post-Naked Lunch writing style, one might consider this as ...more
Aleksandr Voinov
It's a fragment that makes very little sense and it's hard to forecast where it was going, or whether I would have enjoyed the finished book. As a fragment, I didn't get much out of it. While a few lines are brilliant, the signal-to-noise ratio is not recommending this book. Funny, I enjoyed Naked Lunch more.
Roe
Feb 06, 2015 Roe rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-lit
I dunno man. I don't want to say I regret reading this. I regret buying it. I got it on an airport at a whim, sort of a "I'll buy the first thing that jumps out at me" kind of thing. Of course, Queer jumped out at me. Upon taking my seat on the plane I realized it was friggin William S. Burroughs. Ugh. There's some great imagery in here, writing wise, really inspiring language to put English to desire. There's also some supremely racist baloney in here. I was much more interested in Allerton's s ...more
Kumari
Mar 18, 2014 Kumari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic, lgbt
Not sure what to say about this one, except that I wish I could un-read it.

Do you know that song by the Lords of Acid that repeats forever and ever and ever: ”And this is what the Devil does?" No matter. This is what socialization does.

Burroughs makes his alter-ego William Lee thoroughly unlikable -- whining and bitchy and morose and pathetically in love with a young, straight man who is equally pathetic and entirely uninterested in William's advances. However, William buys his way into Alle
...more
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William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century ...more
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“In deep sadness there is no place for sentimentality. It is as final as the mountains: a fact. There it is. When you realize it you cannot complain.” 34 likes
“A curse. Been in our family for generations. The Lees have always been perverts. I shall never forget the unspeakable horror that froze the lymph in my glands when the baneful word seared my reeling brain - I was a homosexual. I thought of the painted simpering female impersonators I'd seen in a Baltimore nightclub. Could it be possible I was one of those subhuman things? I walked the streets in a daze like a man with a light concussion. I would've destroyed myself. And a wise old queen - Bobo, we called her - taught me that I had a duty to live and bear my burden proudly for all to see. Poor Bobo came to a sticky end - he was riding in the Duke Devanche's Hispano Suissa when his falling hemorrhoids blew out of the car and wrapped around the rear wheel. He was completely gutted leaving an empty shell sitting there on the giraffe skin upholstry. Even the eyes and the brain went with a horrible "shlupping" sound. The Duke says he would carry that ghastly "shlup" with him to his mausoleum.” 12 likes
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