Josh Livingroom's Reviews > Junky

Junky by William S. Burroughs
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's review
May 17, 2011

it was amazing

william s burroughs most well known work is without a doubt 'naked lunch'. have you ever read 'naked lunch'? well, this slim volume, 'junky' was written in 1953, before william s burroughs got all weird. just kidding of course. he was still weird as hell but this book actually has some things like a plot, a story arc, recurring characters, and intelligible dialog...things which were largely missing from 'naked lunch'. this experimental style can make 'naked lunch' a pretty alienating experience for even the most intrepid reader. it's the literary equivalent of a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to, mother.
'junky' is not 200 pages of increasingly strange and disjointed prose. it is a story. with a beginning middle and end. 'junky' might not have the wistful and exuberant lyricism,the avant-garde derring-do, or the prolonged, graphic, and raw gay sex which make naked lunch so memorable.nonetheless, it does offer a fascinating portrait of street life and drug culture in the mid 20th century, through the eyes of the protagonist. it seems not much has changed over the years except for some slang, prices and the purity of the dope. all the misery and confusion, all the loneliness and despair, the violence, the rituals and romance, the hustles, the windfalls and busts and the underlying futility of this lifestyle. interesting semi-autobigraphical sleaze fiction, are described with burroughs' inimitably dry bemused delivery.
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