- 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)
Naked Lunch: The Restored Text Paperback – 15 Apr 2010
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‘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."
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would suggest finding another version. The editing seems to be quite disjointed and that combined with the vernacular of the dialogue, which does help portray a realism of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lucidity
Absolute rubbish. Pure and simple. I refuse to buy into this classic nonsense. This was written by a mentally unbalanced heroin addict (let's not forget his William Tell impression... Read morePublished 10 months ago by keen reader
This is a difficult read no doubt about it. I've heard it described as the literary equivalent of an abstract painting and can understand where that comes from. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Garzhino
An all time classic. Unique, disturbing, spellbinding. Not for the faint of heart.Published 15 months ago by Chriss