Ugh. I'm sure this is very brilliant and all, but it's extremely unpleasant to read. Physically repulsive, it's enough to scare anyone away from heroin, and yet, in some ways, it glorifies the experience in a self-indulgent way. Mind you, the book has no plot, and is just one drug-induced hallucination after another. It gets pretty boring after a while. Even extreme disgust gets old after about 50 pages. You're so numb after a few pages that Burrough's attempts to get nastier and nastier and shock more and more are mostly lost.
I'm still trying to figure out the literary value of stuff like this. Any English profs out there care to explain why this made it into the canon? I ask this in all seriousness - I really can't figure it out. Maybe it does belong on the list - in which case, I want to know the purpose of such lists.
I don't feel like I read this so much as survived it. You can bet I will not be reading the other two Burroughs novels on the 1001 books list. What do they take me for, some kind of masochist? So that means I only have to read 999 books, which is fine by me. Though I have a feeling that a couple of others on the list are going to turn me off in the same way.
I guess this is one you're supposed to read in the interests of being engaged in pop and drug culture, but my rec? Stay away. You don't want to be this engaged.