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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Queasy semi-autobiography of legendary literary drug fiend, 22 Nov 2000
This review is from: Junky (Audio CD)
Burrough's account of life as a heroin user really comes to life in spoken word form, as the author's reptilian diction wrings every last drop of croaked and strung-out junk sickness from the page.
Notorious for accidentally shooting his wife dead in Mexico during a crazy William Tell routine, William Burroughs is the author of countless books, most of which are largely unreadable, aside from his two early semi-autobiographical works, 'Queer', and 'Junky', which recount his experiences as a homosexual drug user during a time in America when being either of these things was to be a social leper.
A disturbing, yet occasionally humourous tale of a life lived at the more bizarre extremes of experience, 'Junky' is essential listening for anyone interested in either the Beat Generation or drug culture, and is a good starting point for Burroughs novices.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique & Compelling, 3 May 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Burroughs’ writing here is a unique and successful blend of autobiography and detached journalism, unprecedented for that time. The prologue gives Junky an air of authenticity from the outset as the author briefly describes his childhood before plunging into this narrative of a journey – teeming with colorful low-life characters - from the Midwest to New York to Texas to New Orleans, a farm in the Rio Grande Valley, & finally Mexico in his relentless pursuit of the heroin trip.
There is a certain aloofness in the style, giving the reader the impression that you’re only witness to a restricted part of the protagonist’s experiences. For example, the text makes vague references to his wife who obviously journeyed and indulged with him, but no more is told of her, poor Joan. Although “Queer’, which is a more rounded novel, filled in many pieces of the jigsaw, it was only upon reading Ellis Ambrose’s “The Subterranean Kerouac,” that this novel finally made sense and I began to see a fuller picture of Burroughs, his wife and their contemporaries. Anyway, this is a piece of brilliant writing on many levels. The book concludes with a glossary of “junk lingo” or “jive talk” – so that’s what the BeeGees were singing about?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of the early Beats, 6 April 2002
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Junky is William Burroughs's first novel, and one of his most important....Don't let the first person narrative fool you, this is not an autobiography in any usual sense. Burroughs himself described it as a 'travel book.'
Unlike the cut-up novels this novel easily engages the reader. There is a narrative, even if there is no narrative development towards a repentant self realsation that would be expected in a confessional novel.
If you have read On the Road then you'll appreciate Junky.
If you have read Naked Lunch then this might come as something of a surprise. But don't berate the book for that. It might not deconstruct a logical narrative development. Or for that matter it doesn't deconstruct the liberal humanist individual. But it does reveal Burroughs the genius....
If you are familiar with Burroughs allready then Junky is well worth buying.
And if you aren't... buy this book. You'll never look at eye droppers the same way after reading this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful&Brutally Honest ;Beautifully Wrote, 1 May 2007
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Whether you have any interest in addiction, or you just wanna good read, put this in your "Works". Unlike so much of Burroughs,this is an easily read,straight-forward & beautifully written narrative. A disturbing account of heroin addiction in 1940's post-war America. Burrough's creates vivid characters without a single wasted word in his dry,dark tones. You feel as if you know these characters. Any preconceptions will be swiftly swepped aside as you delve deeper into this book. Its easy to forget this book was published in 1953, albeit edited&censored (unsurprisingly), as it is still applicable today. Fortunately, thanks to Burroughs(and Allen Ginsberg&Co) and others like him, the censor laws are far more realistic. A genuine 20th century classic which has stood the test of time, which will still be on bookshop shelves, and yours, in 2053.

An astonding first novel for Burrough's, the purveyor of strange...
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accurate and honest portrayal of heroin addiction, 23 Aug 2003
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Having personally experienced heroin addiction, I was intrigued and keen to read Junky and I wasn't disappointed. Although Junky was published in the 1950s, it's excellent depiction of drug addiction and the associated lifestyle hasn't aged in the slightest (although disposable needles and syringes - 'works' - have replaced eyedroppers).
What I particularly liked about Junky, is that Burroughs isn't remotely self-pitying, even when he describes 'taking the cure' in a hospital and going through bouts of 'junk sickness'. Burroughs also manages to keep the reader completely focused on the book, with eager anticipation about what's going to happen next. Although Junky isn't a particularly long book (it only took a few days to read) it's like a slow-release euphoric experience from beginning to end!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adventures in early drug culture, 1 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
In comparison to some of his other works this is an easy reading uncomplex treatise on the writers early life in the hipster underground.It takes you from the authors first experiences with addiction and cold turkey sessions to his self imposed exile in Mexico whilst on the run from a federal drug charge.
Although the subject is a grim one it does not come across as despairing or self-pitying neither does it philosophise too much or glamorise the lifestyle of the junk fiend.What it does capture well is the emotionless mechanics of addiction in an entertaining and captivating way.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw, 6 April 2001
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
A raw and unforgiving portrayal of 40's America. Stark and vivid, it shows culture not as the Uncle Sam patriots, but as junkys, bums, thieves, and queers. Junk addiction shown not as the Irvine Welsh crazy antics of thought up characters, but as real people having their body torn apart by morphine addiction. Truth; nauseating but, well, fantastic. A book to be read again and again, a welcome addition to any collection.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You cats dig?, 26 Sep 1999
This review is from: Junky (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Welcome to the sordid underground world of the 1940's drug addict where the only matter of importance to its inhabitants is the quest for opium, morphine, heroin, dilaudid, pantopan, codeine, dionine - Junk. Burroughs guides the reader in a brutally frank commentary of the life of a junky,a life constantly spent looking for the next "connection".The nonchalant manner in which the disturbing events are relayed makes them all the more shocking and intriguing;they are just everyday occurances in the monomaniacal existance of the junky. The many characters are sometimes pitiful,sometimes frightening,always desperate yet alluring.Brilliantly original imagery used in conjunction with the depravity makes this debut by the king of the beats a rewarding and insightful read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Junk is a way of life, 7 Jun 2014
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All the highs and lows of a heroin habit without the cold turkey afterwards, what do you need me to tell you, it's William Burroughs that should be reason enough to buy this literary classic. Peace
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book is fantastic - see my review of the Kindle version. But DON'T BUT the printed version, 12 May 2014
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I had to buy the kindle version as this printed version was such bad quality with micro-dot font that I couldn't read.
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Junky (Essential Penguin)
Junky (Essential Penguin) by William S Burroughs (Paperback - 25 Feb 1999)
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