Matt's Reviews > Naked Lunch

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 29, 2008

it was amazing
Read in June, 1992

What can you say about Uncle Bill that hasn't already been said? I know that there was an obscenity trial over this book back in the day, but it still amazes me that he wasn't killed by an angry mob in the streets. Remember this was published in an America that didn't allow married couples on television shows to sleep in the same bed or use the word "pregnant". The text is obviously extremely disturbing. Make no mistake, reading this book is an endurance test. If you make it through you will feel like you have tainted your soul forever. It reads as if the author had a Harvard education and a severe drug problem, which was the reality for Burroughs at this point in time. However, I am of the opinion that almost every sub-genre of fiction since can be traced back to Burroughs. What the Beatles are to rock music, he is to literature. He is one of those bad news guys for aspiring writers. The reason for this is that any crazy scenario or plot twist that we can think of, he has already weighed, tested, and shotgunned sometime between the 1960's to mid-1990's. Additionally, for those interested, I would recommend the film "Naked Lunch" by David Cronenberg. I usually hate movies based on books that I have read, but this movie can almost be seen as a supplement to the book. It hits the major points of the book, but also fills in the background of what was going on in Burroughs life during the writing of the book in a very Surrealistic fashion.
28 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Naked Lunch.
Sign In »

Quotes Matt Liked

William S. Burroughs
“What's with the serum?"
I don't know, but it sounds ominous. We better put a telepathic direction finder on Benway. The man's not to be trusted. Might do almost anything...Turn a massacre into a sex orgy..."
Or a joke."
Precisely. Arty type...No principles...”
William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-12 of 12) </span> <span class="smallText">(12 new)</span>

dateDown arrow    newest »

RandomAnthony Awesome, sir. But I hate The Beatles. Can Burroughs be the Stones or Kinks, maybe? The Velvet Underground? Big Black? Anybody but The Beatles.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow. There are people who hate the Beatles?

RandomAnthony I'm not the only one! I know of at least two others.

Can Burroughs be Husker Du, maybe, Tad? What about Nick Cave? Would that be too easy?

message 4: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Burroughs should be John Lennon.

message 5: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Caris wrote: "I hate the Beatles, too. Maybe Burroughs can be the Sex Pistols?"

THAT'S IT. Burroughs IS Johnny Rotten!

message 6: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Caris wrote: "I hate the Beatles, too. Maybe Burroughs can be the Sex Pistols?"

....I forgot about all that exterminator shit, no way Burroughs can be a beetle.

message 7: by Ben (last edited Jun 01, 2010 07:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben Burroughs is totally Johnny Rotten.

message 8: by karen (new)

karen ooh!! i hate the beatles too! i thought i was all alone!

Matt Whoa, how the hell did this happen? This was one of my first reviews on GR (which are all cringe-worthy in hindsight). I had to read the review again to get the Beatles reference. Hey RA, how about if Burroughs = the Ramones? Thanks for the vote-love everyone!

message 10: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell He's Miles Davis. And I don't mean that as a metaphor. He was literally Miles Davis. He recorded Bitch's Brew and Sketches of Spain

message 11: by Matt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matt I think you may be onto something, Dave...I never noticed the resemblance until now...

message 12: by Ben (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ben From his wiki:

" In 1939, his emotional health became a concern for his parents, especially after he deliberately severed the last joint of his left little finger, right at the knuckle, to impress a man with whom he was infatuated.[12:] This event made its way into his early fiction as the short story 'The Finger.'"

back to top