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Naked Lunch Hardcover – 1959


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: New York; Grove Press; The true first edition edition (1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 113146379X
  • ASIN: B000NUMSE8
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,900,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
I CAN FEEL THE HEAT closing in, feel them out there making their moves, setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train . . . Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By steelo on 13 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that nobody reads for the plot, because, frankly, there is no plot to speak of, aside from Bill Lee's journey into his own sick and twisted subconscious. And it's all inspired by Burroughs's travels in Tangier. Note to self: avoid Tangier.
But all jokes aside, this is a mind-blowing book, but hard to read nonetheless. Nothing makes sense, but in a strange way you can feel that the author wrote all this nonsense with every bit of conviction in his body. It's mesmerizing, that's what it is.
Like another reviewer here stated, it's best to read bits of Naked Lunch before bedtime, preferably a chapter at a time. There's nothing to lose because there's nothing you remember the day after anyway! Certain episodes spring to mind, like the man whose ass began to talk Jim Carrey style, taking over his whole body in the most disgusting way possible, but other than that, it's all a blur. I think Burroughs actually succeeded in cleaning my brain of all the toxins, by pouring a ton of metaphorical acid on it. A bit of gamble, I'm sure, but my fried brain is thankful for the experience.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nicholas hargreaves on 25 April 2011
Format: Paperback
I read this 20 years ago and was frustrated by its inability to fit into my conception of a comprehensible novel.Now what was once its greatest flaw seems to be its greatest asset.It is a collage of sometimes grim scenarios peppered with the odd titbit of medical/anthropological/sociological insight and probably literature's first attempt at abstract impressionism.
Obviously not for people with conservative tastes or delicate sensibilities.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Dec. 2003
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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Robert C. Hayward on 9 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
It took me several weeks to get into this book: then I got to half-way and suddenly felt comfortable with the style and the remainder got gobbled up in a couple of days. It is a very different "novel", and one which certainly won't appeal to everyone - particularly unsuitable for immature readers or religious fundamentalists of any persuasion. There is extensive explicit reference to heroin use and homosexuality throughout, with an often sadomasochistic or twisted medical angle.

The book's plot is loose to say the least, and the stream of consciousness style caused me great difficulty in the early stages. Once I realised that this was the books strength and started going with the flow, it became much easier to read and was highly enjoyable. Although the subject matter is often disturbing and the characters generally frightening and detestable, the prose is beautiful and often very poetic. Loose concepts such as Interzone, Islam Corp, Dr Benway etc are intimated like pieces of exquisite modern art.

If you think you won't huff and puff due to the references to homosexuality, drugs, casual violence, and florid prose, give this dizzying journey into dark beatnik fantasy a go. And hope you never have a GP called Benway...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "gillongenk" on 29 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book, not knowing much about the author. The cover just drew me to it, (I know, books, covers, you shouldn't judge, but I couldn't help it). When I started reading it I thought, 'what?', but then I just couldn't put it down. I think it's probably a very good insight into the mind of a heroine addict, I can't be 100% sure on that as I am not a heroine addict, and I have to say that this book makes me very glad that I'm not. It is exceptionally dark in places and very grusome, messy even, but there are some very funny bits too. Read it now!
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