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William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Iconoclast; visionary; homosexual crusader; drug advocate; teacher and elder statesman to the Beats: William Burroughs remains one of the most complex and controversial American writers of the twentieth century.

After killing his wife in a bizarre shooting accident, Burroughs moved to Tangier where he lived in a male brothel and wrote his celebrated bestseller Naked Lunch -
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Virgin Books (first published November 19th 1992)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  413 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a Burroughs fan. This would doubtless be a scintillating read for those who are. I read it because my wife brought it home and I had so thoroughly enjoyed reading Subterranean Kerouac, and I hoped it would be similar. It isn't; it's as much a study as it is a biography, and it is written by someone far more convinced of Burroughs gifts and genius than I am. There is too much hagiography here for my tastes, too much willingness to shine over Burroughs difficult personality, his drug abus ...more
Ben Lovegrove
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beatniks
I first got this from the library in 1994. I highly recommend it as the most concise biography of Burroughs, written by a personal friend of his who was there in the 1960s. Barry Miles also wrote biographies of the Beatles and a few rock musicians. Since 1994 it's been revised and updated with a chapter on his legacy and funeral, including the extraordinary claim that a woman was seen french kissing Burroughs' corpse at his funeral.
This is a useful companion piece to Ted Morgan's "Literary Outl
Don Clark jr
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
despite many occurrences in Burroughs' life that lowered my opinion of him to a degree, Miles' biography tells it like it is, warts and all, and that's how I want it. The drugs, the illicit sex with random boys, the constant search for the next hallucinogenic medium, all form the life of Bill Burroughs. Oh, right, and there was the writing bit, which is in there as well, but plays second fiddle to the adventures in Bill's daily sideshow of an existence. Read Miles' Ginsberg biography and his Bea ...more
Marc Lovely
May 08, 2012 rated it liked it

I found this book mildly entertaining, and only mildly because I am not all that familiar with Burroughs' work. Sure I've read 'Junky' and 'Naked Lunch, but this book has a lot to do with his work as a whole, his unusual lifestyle, and his way of thinking and creating. I've learned a great deal of WSB and will continue to read and research this wonderfully interesting, American icon
Sep 19, 2008 rated it liked it
A respectable biography. Kind of sad his son Billy Jr. a very good writer who died a miserable alcoholic junkie in Denver only gets a page or two. One thing I never knew is that toward the end of his life, Burroughs contacted the aforementioned Whitley Strieber for an in-depth alien confab, and came away convinced of the phenomenon's reality, if none the wiser about its true nature.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
"I'm reading Burroughs, but I keep it clean." This was a line in a song that I loved. Anyway, Burroughs is weird in an interesting way until you start to feel he has "stepped over and left behind" the world of "decency."
Apr 23, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mugwumps
Good Burroughs Bio. A lot of it concentrates on his actual work. This gets a little thick if you haven't read all his work. The actual bio parts are good.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Even as a long-time Burroughs addict who has read the first volume of his letters several times over, devoured countless articles and pored over interviews, I found much I didn't know in Miles' biography.

I've long thought Burroughs has been unfairly maligned as a mean, curmudgeonly old goat – a view often predicated on his distant relationship with his troubled son, Billy – preferring to instead view him as an emotionally remote but essentially well intentioned oddball. Miles' book pokes throug
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Roderick Mcgillis
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a weird, wild, wacky, yet wondrous personality, William Burroughs chronicles the exploits, routines, and posturing of the guy who invented the fragmented, demented life. Especially intriguing are the last couple of chapters dealing with Burroughs's visual art and his Ugly Spirit. Miles clearly knows his subject, perhaps too well. What I take from this biography is the old adage that the writer who creates is separate from the person who suffers.
Antonis Moras
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
not just a biography but full with extracts and references to his writtings, paintings, recordings and so on. too bad that there were not enough photos to accompany this read. Really enjoyed that, read it in a greek translation that was also very cool which is rare for books of this kind. recommended both to fans as well as for an introduction
Parker Douglas
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one of the better Burroughs biographies. It assumes familiarity with the author's works, and takes Burroughs fascination with scientology and other of his quirky detours seriously and give a nice reading of the author and his work, for a biography that is really entertaining.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating how intrigued Burroughs was with Scientology and Reich's orgone box. Best to be familiar with most of his fiction before reading this book as it goes into detail about his writing techniques and when and where he was while writing .
Matthew Stolte
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I found the last 2 chapters informative. now to find the new edition to read the extra chapters.
May 04, 2008 rated it liked it
what a cut-up. or so was his writing style in later years. what else can i say about a man who chose to live in the best college basketball town ever....ROCK CHALK!!
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Super interesting. What an odd, odd life. I loved it
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Please note I only read the uncorrected proofs of this book and it was a shocker, hence two stars. I'm sure the lovely editorial team turned it into something readable.
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Author of several books and biographies, most pertaining to musicians and the sixties.

Miles has written biographies of Paul McCartney, The Beatles, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Frank Zappa, Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsberg, in addition to books on John Lennon, The Beatles and The Clash.

He is occasionally inaccurately credited as "Miles Mabbett" due to his co-authoring a book with Andy Mabb