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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naked Lunch, the blur of a book I still recommend
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...
Published on 13 Mar. 2012 by steelo

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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small doses before bed may work best
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...
Published on 30 Dec. 2003


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Naked Lunch, the blur of a book I still recommend, 13 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual Nastiness, 25 April 2011
By 
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Small doses before bed may work best, 30 Dec. 2003
By A Customer
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. If you enjoy prose loaded with lyrical dexterity, lurid images and simile; constant bemusement, and re-reading sentences because they seem unrelated to each other, with unconnected thoughts and images from one moment to the next - you may enjoy this book. Burroughs has a way with images, if nothing else. But if you are used to more conventional writing and narrative - a story even - then, like me, you may find it a frustrating experience. If James Joyce was a junkie, he would probably have written something like Naked Lunch first.
But I could not leave it alone, and persevered in small portions. The writing is intriguing and the images fascinating, but I was only 2-3 pages in when I wondered when the weirdness would stop and a book would begin. Maybe that is the triumph of Burroughs' work, that many will read it in spite of its avant garde nature. For those who find it heavy going, 'Junky', written earlier, may help. It foreshadows the style and experiences employed in Naked Lunch, but has a conventional narrative and gives some useful background to Burroughs' psyche, before he completely tripped out.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey into paradox, 9 Sept. 2007
By 
Dr. Robert C. Hayward "robbyhayward" (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary yet Fantastical, 29 Nov. 2001
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grove press - 50th anni Hardcover - Review of Naked Lunch, 5 April 2011
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This review is from: Naked Lunch (Hardcover)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars William Burroughs - Naked Lunch | Review, 20 Aug. 2013
By 
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sick, slick and very clever, 13 Sept. 2002
By A Customer
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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1.0 out of 5 stars The drugs don't work..., 10 April 2015
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
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 with a gun either). Not only does the emperor have no clothes he has not coherent structure or plot, this is a total mess of a book and he must have been laughing all the way to his smack dealer as he learned about so many deluded critics falling over themselves to praise him. The thing is Burroughs is a talented and intelligent writer and anyone who has read "Junky" will testify. I'd say check out his other work and don't waste your time with this rubbish. Just because you tag on the word "technique" onto something does not automatically mean that something has any artistic merit or quality. He may have fooled many people over the decades with this but I am happy to say that I am not one of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars what's at the end of every fork.........., 6 May 2013
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this book was the game changer, one of the most vital and original works of the previous century, the 'ramones 1st album' of literature, in my opinion, the best book ever written. and yet it was never finished, the order of pieces decided by ginsberg and kerouac, and no publisher would touch it for years. it is not important that you love it or hate it, only that you read it. it is not important that you understand it, only that you experience it. it is entirely a unique piece - even amongst burroughs' considerable body of work, and the prose within is unmatchable by any other author. once read, never forgotten. this edition is well considered and comprehensive, and means thst i can now preserve my overworked paper editions. it should perhaps be noted that repeated readings can increase and expand your appreciation.
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Naked Lunch: The Restored Text
Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William Burroughs (Paperback - 15 April 2010)
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