Tyler 's Reviews > Naked Lunch

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
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's review
Sep 04, 2011

did not like it
Recommended to Tyler by: Culture Vultures
Recommended for: Speed Readers
Read in March, 2010

Move on, folks ... nothing here to see. Burroughs tries, in effect, to depict a continuous hallucination in this car wreck of a book. The phrases and sentence fragments that make up this incoherent ramble grab attention briefly with their shock value, but they're simply the crashed detritus of a linguistic pile-up. Six or seven main ideas (e.g., hanging, masturbation) deaden readers' minds with repetition. How bad can it be when a writer manages to bore you about wanking? A final 100 pages of notes and alternate texts shows how trivial the whole project really is.

Burroughs tries to do for writing what Andy Warhol later did for pop art. Warhol said about his art that there was nothing below the surface -- it was all surface; so don't try to dig out some deep meaning. Warhol's visuals at least produce effective sensations. But six or seven ideas repeated ad infinitum like Marilyn Monroe's picture just cannot hold a thinking person's attention in a written medium. Note to author: leave the floating sensations business to other art forms.

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