Inder's Reviews > Naked Lunch

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
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did not like it
bookshelves: 1001-books, 20th-century, fiction

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.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2003 – Finished Reading
April 19, 2008 – Shelved
April 19, 2008 – Shelved as: 1001-books
August 17, 2008 – Shelved as: 20th-century
August 17, 2008 – Shelved as: fiction

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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zane " don't feel like I read this so much as survived it. "

I think Burroughs would be proud.

Carmen LOVED this review. The best I could muster after reading this book was..."it damaged me."

message 3: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie You have completely captured my thoughts on this book, including the question regarding the literary value of it.

message 4: by Mike (new) - rated it 1 star

Mike Baker Perfect review. Reading this book was painful.

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