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Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  480 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs is the most intimate book ever written by William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and one of the most celebrated literary outlaws of our time. Laid out as diary entries of the last nine months of Burroughs's life, Last Words spans the realms of cultural criticism, personal memoir, and fiction. Classic Burroughs con ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published February 1st 2000)
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Sep 30, 2010 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journal-diary
In the last nine months of his life, Beat novelist William S. Burroughs began keeping a journal. In it, he looks back at his career as a writer, comments on the books he is reading (e.g. Under Western Eyes, The Last Don, Invasion, The Night Manager) and writes down his observations with regard to a number of subjects including art, weapons, the psychoanalytic industry and the war on drugs.

Unlike many published journals by other writers, The Last Words of William S. Burroughs does not appear to h
Tará O'Sullivan
Aug 19, 2011 Tará O'Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat, generation
Those used to Burroughs' writing style will find this book to be very revealing about his character in his last days....Those unfamiliar with him may find this book very difficult to get through. His writing style is choppy and seemingly ill constructed, but I really admire him and his works.
Adriana Santillan Ahumada
This guy loved his kittys like nothing else. Nice to see a junky in the light of day. Living a simple life and reflecting on a wild past. Very soft and at times sad. At his age you are mostly saying goodbye to people and places. I thought it was very cute.
Svetlana Zakharova
отличное лакомство для литературного вуайериста вроде меня. Б. близок к смерти и кружит над ней и вокруг нее - сам себе стервятник, сам себе гиена. цикличность, которая сродни слепоте - тычешься, тычешься, а вдруг и находишь лакомый мамин сосочек, тут и доволен уже.
константы: наркотики и коты; сладкоголосые грабители и многоножки (вообще разные насекомые и только в качестве кошмара); невозможность писать (душевная - Хэмингуэй с его "it doesn't come any more" и физическая - Б. и артрит) и отважн
Sep 12, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So the creepy old misogynist did have a heart!? It was a privilege to read the words of a 20th century elder so close to their natural death ...& for it to be Burroughs?! Digging The Greys & thoughts on dissent right 'til the end. Such tender words on the spaces left behind by one's pets after death. Much of it no idea but for momentary flashes of audacity that moved me.
Stephanie Orban
Apr 25, 2010 Stephanie Orban rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book best read after learning all that one can learn about William S. Burroughs, only to realize that even the most notorious can still offer you an unique view into the last days of his life. In particular, his heartache involving Allen Ginsberg's is very touching, as well as his love for his numerous cats.
Feb 02, 2009 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this bk in a terrible Virgin Megaplace in Times Square in '06. I was going on a long plane flight and needed a bk, and this was as good as I could find in that place.

It turned out to be a great purchase, by turns funny, wise, and inspiring. Thanks always to old Bull Lee.
Feb 28, 2008 Beav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very enlightening for burroughs. He could be so simple and normal if he wanted.
Aug 28, 2010 char rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Love. What is it? Most powerful painkiller what there is. LOVE."
Kurt Gottschalk
Jun 11, 2014 Kurt Gottschalk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The diary William S. Burroughs kept during the last eight months of his life (the final entry being the day before his body was found at his home in Lawrence, Kansas, after suffering a heart attack) may not hold huge surprises but it contains many pleasant discoveries. On the one hand it is something like reading one of his novels: the narrative (if it's fair to put such a standard to a personal journal) jumps around conceptually and chronologically and is held together by threads of drug policy ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird, auto-biography
If you like the mad old man of letters, with a penchant for drugs, guns, and a love of cats, then this collection of journal entries covering the last year of his life is pretty fascinating stuff.

There's his views of US drug legislation, some fictional passages, and his memories of Ginsberg and the beats.

A great insight into the mind of a genius.

(Then again, if you don't like/get his work, then it's going to seem as batshit crazy as his other books)
Matthew Stolte
Love this book.
Dominic Salvucci
Between 3 and 4 stars. Pretty much what I expected, would love to see the unedited work. Some repetition in his writings, but they are reflections of a dying man on meds for kicking addiction. He was still creating and active to the end. You always wonder what is left out in books like these.
George Ilsley
Wasn't sure how much I would like this. Basically, it's WSB's diary for the last several months of his life, lightly edited. In fact, if you're a fan, it's a remarkable glimpse inside the head of a major writer, on the brink of death.

Oh yes, and cats. Always the cats.
Burroughs is one of those writers who are iconic. So I began reading him. I have read enough to find him fascinating and repulsive by equal measure and turn about. I probably will read more eventually. Maybe I'll figure out the mystique, maybe not.
Jan 10, 2015 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jumbled between daily journal entries of missing cats and what he ate, and ideas and concepts of story ideas. It reads pretty much like a Burroughs novel of shuffled ideas and conversation threads but with less plot structure than normal.
Dec 17, 2009 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last year or so of Mr. Burrough's life. The dreams, the cut-ups, ruminations. The last layers of the onion peeling away. And, of course, the cats...
Jul 23, 2012 JJ W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
worth the read. great insights into his last thoughts, some great turns of phrase. puts his relationships with ginsberg in a nice perspective.
Man, total random ramblings. Read parts. I think the NY Times article of this book selects the best parts, kind of edits it down. Hard to get into.
Ryan Berkebile
Wow! William S. Burroughs as a tender old man. He became very attached to cats and cried when they ran off or died.
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Last entry:

"Love? What is it?

Most natural painkiller what there is.

Jul 06, 2007 Scott rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pathetic final journals. Completely uninteresting.
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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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“You know a real friend?
Someone you know will look after your cat after you are gone.”
“Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is.” 208 likes
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