Albion's Reviews > Junky

Junky by William S. Burroughs
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's review
May 19, 2012

A strange book. In parts excellent, but I am not sure about some other parts. It has a very idiosyncratic focus. For example the narrator has a wife but we only hear of her occasionally, mainly during the last third of the book, and we also never really hear anything about her. Her name remains a mystery, as do details of their relationship and how his search for junk and his lifestyle, affect this.

In other parts the book is excellent. It's awareness of it's surrounds, both physical and within time, are really interesting. We are often being visited by the ghosts of the past during the main characters exploration of junkie culture. But as it's title suggests, the book really is about the experience of being a junky. Therefore other strands of the story are usually extraneous and there are many loose ends, so to speak.

The book is littered with hipster language of the time as well as explorations of many contemporary attitudes towards drug culture. It is at the least an interesting time capsule, and at its most, a lively book that explores the attractions of addiction, without ever extolling its virtues or quite rejecting it all together.

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