Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was freakishly amazing, simultaneously making me wish I was on a full H binge with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Infinite Jest, and a whole slew of Stephen King books to cap off this horrific tome of pure poetry.
1959. And still absolutely harrowing today.
I thought movies like Requiem For A Dream or tv shows like The Wire were the most absolutely effective anti-drug memoir ever created by richly immersing us in the addict's life... but no.
Naked Lunch tips the reader right off a cliff into the deep end of an Heroin Dream, starting us right at the gross end of bodies breaking down, moving on to 1984-like Reconditioning Centers for total mental reprogramming, thank you very much, and then moving into the skull of a paranoid delusional fever dream of homosexuality and then alien societies.
If I could pick all of the heaviest hot-topics of the day and cram them all together into the heaviest fever pitch of a "normal's" fear, paranoia, misconceptions, and conspiracy theories, making the prose into a Beat-Poetry slam, and then fearlessly drowning the reader in jizz, then this is the book I'd point to as the poster child of all the books that would come after.
Seriously. The impact of this book on mainstream druggie fiction CANNOT be underestimated. Whole horror genres have spawned off of this book in the 80's. Talking assholes? A man who stole an opium suppository from his own grandmother's ass? Spontaneous liquefaction of bodies as a bug's-eye view of our modern society?
This stuff is RICH. It's also disgusting.
Hell, I'm a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk and Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, and even these guys didn't quite go off the deep end as far as William S. Burroughs.
Hats off. Total Respect. Even if its an enormously wild button-pusher, it's not like it's un-factual. The drugs are real. The lives of homosexuals were probably quite real for the day and age. The explosion of the importance and the wild revelry makes these things into a realm of All-Importance in this novel, though, making it at first horrifying, then surreal, and then almost pure science fiction. :) Truly a delight. :)
It's also a perfect piece to prepare for Halloween. Perfect for the feels, NOT the camp. I got scared. :)
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