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The Finger

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  329 ratings  ·  32 reviews
'He felt a sudden deep pity for the finger joint that lay there on the dresser, a few drops of blood gathering around the white bone.'

A deliberately severed finger, a junky's Christmas miracle and a Tangier con-artist, among others, feature in these hallucinogenic sketches and stories from the infamous Beat legend.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering
Paperback, 48 pages
Published February 22nd 2018 by Penguin Classics
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Average rating 3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  329 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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João Barradas
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A habilidade em utilizar os dedos permitiu ao ser humano desenvolver uma aptidão incrível nos trabalhos manuais. Habilidoso e ardiloso, ele não se contentou com essas modestas tarefas e deslindou outras tantas em que os dedos pudessem ser utilizados - apontar, agarrar, arrancar, chamar alguém ou, até mesmo, esvaziar a dose de droga.

Nesta pequena pérola, de uma colecção que pretendo desvirginar mais e mais, temos contacto com pequenos relatos quotidianos baseados em factos da vida do próprio
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Finger - 4
Driving Lesson - 3
The Junky's Christmas - 5
Lee and the Boys - 4
In the Café Central - 2
Dream of the Penal Colony - 3
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nummer 25 in Penguins MODERN-reeks: 6 korte verhalen van El Hombre Invisible, waaronder het beruchte titelverhaal over een in een vlaag van junkiewaanzin afgesneden pink.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short little collection of stories from an author I've always wanted to read. He is a product of the Beat movement and his writing is a reflection of the time - people trying to find their place in the world, indulging in drug use and a wayward attitude towards life. The stories are well written and the writers exercised brevity as he hooks you. There is a certain endearing quality about the writing as it manages to indulge you. Will definitely want to read more of his work.
Dane Cobain
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is Burroughs at his most approachable, which makes it a good introduction to his style. It’s also simultaneously fictional and autobiographical, with the titular story focusing on why Burroughs cut off part of his finger. Worth reading.
Ryan Madman Reads & Rocks
A pretty good introduction to the work of Burroughs. I believe the short stories in this collection are based more on fact than fiction. Which, for me, ultimately makes most of them... Disturbing.
My complete review is at:
Bernie Gourley
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fiction of and about junkies.
This is book #25 in Penguin’s “Modern” series. These short books (less than 100 pages) feature short works (poems, short stories, essays, speeches, and even a novella or two) from 20th century luminaries. In this case, the book consists of six short stories by the Beat Generation writer William S. Burroughs, who’s most famous for his novel “Naked Lunch” and for his affinity for heroin. I mention the latter not to besmirch Burroughs' character, but because drug use (and the vices that sometimes ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
These stories - 'The Finger', 'Driving Lesson', 'The Junky's Christmas', 'Lee and the Boys', 'In the Cafe Central', and 'Dream of the Penal Colony' - have all been taken from William S. Burroughs' Interzones (1989). Of his work to date, I have read only Naked Lunch, which I found quite odd. These stories, however, were far stranger. As a collection, I did not feel as though there was a great deal of coherence between them, despite an overlap of characters. Some of them also felt rather brief and ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genius
Sharp as needles. Exquisite
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loving this Penguin Modern series. This one has a few shorter pieces from Burroughs. Especially nice to read "The Junky's Christmas" which I only knew as a spoken word animated video before.
Rex Hurst
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
All of this book’s stories were collected in a previously published book, Interzone, which was mostly made up of rejected vignettes from Naked Lunch. Had I been aware of this at the time, I wouldn’t have purchased the book as I already own Interzone. Granted it has been a decade and a half since I read the book, so it was nice to get a refresher and I might reread the original, but reproducing this with a different name, even at a relatively low cost, is still deceptive.
These are a collection of
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andrea Tome
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Burroughs, you mad genius
šimon betina
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
písať vie, len pointu to nemá
Jacob Kelly
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Last night the big Rachel locked me in her gaff when she went to work so I couldn't get out. My phone was out of battery and I was very much alone with little options. One thing that bird does have is a shit load of books. I wasn't up for reading something new as I'm already reading about 5 books. So I wanted something quick that I could do for the hour wait I had before she came back. This was described as a collection of hallucogenic tales by the beat master. Well about that, he probably is ...more
David Watson
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
William S Burroughs has been a polarising figure for me. On the one hand he is a prose stylist almost without peer, who can conjure up incredibly vivid scenes (both starkly realistic and outrageously fantastagoric) with an amazingly small repertoire of words. On the other, he chose to have most of his work published in a disjointed, non-linear narrative form, thus - in my view- greatly reducing its worth. This brief selection of vignettes by Penguin shows him at his best; they all flow in the ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maybe I just picked the wrong day to read this collection or the stories weren't right for me, but I wasn't a fan. I probably shouldn't badmouth Burroughs because he seems pretty well-respected by a lot of people, so perhaps I'm missing something. But since his writing has a hard semiautobiographical edge I have to say there was plenty in his biography that didn't exactly attract me to him, and as for the writing itself, there were a couple passages I liked and the characters were drawn just ...more
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Obscured vision

Words that fall into my mind like mind altering droplets of potential. Fragments of a fever dream. A collection of short peculiar moments in life. A book for random inspirational musing. What it lacks in content it more than makes up for in lucid stream of consciousness free flowing thinking. I love the unique style and flow of Burroughs. No one writes quite like him! effortless chaos, a true pioneer of the beats movement.To read his work is like to consciously feel a dream. This
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Penguin Modern Mini Classics #25 of 50

Finished. A collection of 5 short stories. The first book I have read by William Burroughs, and I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The first story 'The Finger' was a little unusual. All the short stories end abruptly, and make you think about what you have read. The five short stories were well written, and intriguing in their own ways. Yes I definitely recommend people to read this book
Susanne (Pages of Crime)
A small collection of short stories by Burroughs that seem to be the more approachable of his work. I remember reading the Naked Lunch as well as other work by him a long time ago and finding it tough going at times.
These stories would be a good introduction if you were wanting to see what the fuss is about, although they are slightly repetitive.
The Finger: 4 stars
Driving Lesson: 2 stars
The Junky’s Christmas: 3 stars
Lee and the Boys: 2 stars
In the Cafe Central: 4 stars
Dream of the Penal Colony: 3 stars

*ratings based on story enjoyment, as I happen to be fond of all Beat writers
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
A range of quite short stories from Bill Lee et al, focusing on homosexual desire and mescalin abuse in Tangiers back in the day. More readable but a lot less epic/narcotic in style to the Naked Lunch.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Some of these stories I found fascinating, but I found it quite hard to get on with his writing style; I am not sure if it just my usual difficulty with short stories, but I found myself switching off and having to reread the passages. I definitely enjoyed some more than others!
Stephen Toman
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit slight, like ideas in a notebook not yet fully formed. Mostly observations or descriptions, nothing too weird. Lou Reed would’ve stripped the stories down to the essentials and put a couple of chords to them. Only one reference to a prolapsed anus however. Thankfully.
Alexandre Szolnoky
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lendo no metro fiquei emocionado com a história de Natal de um Junky.
Dylan Holmes
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
quite plainly some of Burrough’s more comprehensible work. Big fan of Naked Lunch, and the likes, but a small, easy read like this was refreshing. his writing makes you cringe and grin. love it.
David Van
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Fun character sketches, but ultimately not fulfilling.
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Michael Godwin
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Junkies Christmas 10/10
Dylan Rock
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent taste of the Interzone, I would recommend this little book for people looking to get into Burroughs style but may find a whole novel off putting do to his unique style
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William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th ...more
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