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Naked Lunch: The Restored Text Paperback – 15 Apr 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (15 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007341903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007341900
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

‘Not a novel but a booty brought back from nightmare, a coldly implacable look at the dark side of our nature.’ New York Times

‘A roller-coaster ride through hell, a safari to the strangest people of the strangest planet – ourselves…sit back and gorge yourself on this feast of a novel.’ J. G. Ballard

‘A delirious exploration of sexual violence through the art of collage.’ Time Out

‘Prophesied with unerring accuracy the hideous modes that human behaviour would assume in the post-apocalyptic second half of the twentieth century. “Naked Lunch” is essential reading for anyone who maintains any illusions about anything.’ Will Self

Praise for William Burroughs:

'Burroughs is the greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift.' Jack Kerouac

'Burroughs' voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American, a voice in which one hears transistor radios and old movies and all the clichés and all the cons and all the newspapers, all the peculiar optimism, all the failure.' Joan Didion

'The only American novelist who may conceivably be possessed by genius.' Norman Mailer

'In the English language, William Burroughs is the greatest writer alive. His imagination has tackled head-on the post-war world, with its huge bureaucracies and sinister complexes. He has a paranoid vision, but as he himself said: the psychotic is someone who knows what's really going on.' J. G. Ballard, Sunday Times

‘William Burroughs broadened people’s conception of what makes humanity. In that way, he really was an American hero, a hero writer, and also just a great man.’ Lou Reed

From the Back Cover

"Not a novel but a booty bought back from a nightmare, a coldly implacable look at the dark side of our nature."
NEW YORK TIMES

'Look down at my filthy trousers, haven't been changed in months… The days glide by strung on a syringe with a long thread of blood.. I am forgetting sex and all the sharp pleasures of the body – a grey, junk-bound ghost. The Spanish boys call me El Hombre Invisible – The Invisible Man…'

"A roller-coaster ride through hell, a safari to the strangest people of the strangest planet, ourselves… After the anaemic fare of contemporary fiction, sit back and gorge yourself on this feast of a novel."
J.G.BALLARD

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Imagine you were able to recall all the weird dreams and nightmares you ever had in clear, vivid detail; taking in sights, smells, feelings, and those odd moments when the dream changes completely, but still - inconceivably, but somehow rationally - connected to the events of the moment before. Imagine you are a hopeless heroin addict, having sleeping and waking dreams compounded by an addict's hallucinations and paranoid excursions, often perceiving things through a trancelike psychosis. Imagine you have a pen in your hand. You've imagined William Burroughs disturbed, distorted and dreamlike prose. You've imagined what Naked Lunch would look and sound like.
That's my take on this almost impenetrable novel. It's fairly short by today's standards, but like old fashioned toffee - extremely chewy, time consuming and ultimately frustrating in all but small chunks. If the Naked Chef stripped down recipes to their bare essentials, then Naked Lunch is the complete opposite; a gorge-fest of dense, lyrical prose and vivid images melded together to form a collage around the subjects of addiction, sexual fascination and satire of the medical profession.
I gather this book doesn't employ the cut'n'paste narrative experiments of his later work, because with this book there is no coherent narrative. Yes, you could take any of these pages and put them pretty much anywhere and they would still make as much sense. But the cut up method implies a structured (but merely fragmented) narrative as many of us would know it. Naked Lunch is not like this. It is more random, flicking off onto tangents, as dreams do.
Does the sum of these Frankenstein parts add up to a meaningful whole? Well, that depends on what you enjoy in a book.
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Format: Paperback
Burroughs is known for his expletive-laden, sexually explicit, crazy and half-nonsensical novels, and Naked Lunch is the best of the best, the novel that catapulted him in to the limelight as the insane writer who created artworks by firing shotgun shells at tins of paint.

Now, I'm not going to bore you with the details and go heavily in to the plot, because quite frankly, half of the time I had no idea what was happening. That's the strange, surreal beauty of Burroughs' work - you can quite easily finish reading a novel and have no understanding of the story-line, you'll just know that you enjoyed it and be filled with the sense of accomplishment that's the reward for finishing a book.

In fact, the opium use and black market drug deals serve as short windows in to the bizarre world that Burroughs' characters occupy - he even said that he wrote it so that the chapters could be read in any order. If you decide to buy it, read it from first to last - it makes it easier to remember where you are.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just some thoughts on this particular edition of Naked Lunch.

In a nutshell - it's wonderful.
Hardback is housed in a handsome slipcase. (the photo Amazon has used is of the slipcase. The art on the book itself closely mirrors that of the usa 1st edition i.e. PERFECT!)

Page ends are black - Nice touch.

Contents wise we get -
The restored text.
And 100 + pages of extras inc assorted outtakes - Original introductions etc by Bill.

For a new edition - Grove press have done us proud - Any Bill fan should be very pleased to add this very fine volume to their collection and I should not at all be surprised if this version becomes a collectable in the future.

The novel itself?
A work of art and a unique novel that is worth every ounce of it's reputation as being one of the most important/ landmark novels of the 20th century.

Edition 5/5
Novel 5/5
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By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
Burroughs wrote this book in the fifties, in Tangier, and it's in this context that the book needs to be read. In as much as Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn was the seminal twisted gay/TV New York novel of the fifties, so Naked Lunch is the equivalent early gay/drug novel.
It slips and slides and glides through alleyways and canals of madness, degredation and perversion but, in the final analysis, it becomes one of the great pieces of fifties literature, and ranks Burroughs up alongside his friends Kerouac and Ginsberg.
A shocking read? Certainly. But also unforgetable.
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Format: Paperback
It's a strangely compelling read. The toxic material and the garbled arrangement of it, wouldn't, at first glance, suggest it would be.

I was fully expecting one of those 'oh for god's sake' moments familiar to my Joyce/Beckett reads, but one never quite came. Perhaps the brevity of the novel helps, but more than that, there's an underlying frankness and urgency to communicate that just rings too true to be just dismissed as claptrap. You feel you are in the hands of a genuine addict - it's a world and perspective, let's face it, few readers will feel qualified to judge. Burrough's fractured, raving narrative is the only trail you've got through this twisted junk-scape, but it's enough.

'Naked Lunch' is not a self-loathing confessional account, nor a cautionary tale, it's a crackling, vital, uncompromising record of the self-medicated mind. It's at turns debauched, comic, sharp, incomprehensible, gruesome, a delight.
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