Sep 4, 2008

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

Naked Lunch

What the fuck was that? You're telling me they made a motherfuckin movie based on that? How? I've got to rent the thing just to see if they added a plot or what.

That being said, I have to admit I kinda loved this book. It's all characters and language play and dirty talk - some of the my favorite stuff. I've had druggie friends, so I recognize easily enough the way things come and go in their minds, reality taking a backseat to whatever chemical's working its way through their minds at the time.

All the parts about dealers and their habit of turning up late - if at all - and keeping the buyer waiting rang way too true for me. I've smoked my share of green in my time, and the man is never home when you want him, never comes over when he says he will, and never has a steady supply when you have the cash. Is it because he gets a power high off making the user conform to his actions? Well, I can see where that idea would come from, certainly. I can see how those feelings would lead to a book like Naked Lunch, essentially the rantings of a dry junky recovering from or waiting for his hit.

The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.

I recently read the novel Hogg by Samuel R. Delany, which is probably the flat out dirtiest thing I've ever read. And I've read a lot of porn stories online. In reading Lunch, I could see a major influence on the style and subjects and various sex acts detailed so extensively in Hogg. If anyone wants an interesting and disturbing experience, I suggest reading them one after another. And then taking a long, hot shower with lots of strong soap. Burroughs was less concerned with storyline, though.

final thoughts: Burroughs was a bastard, but the man could fill a page.


John M. said...

I think you would find 'The Place of Dead Roads', The Western Lands and Cities of the Red Night' far more readable. Back in the days of Naked Lunch, Burroughs was working a lot with the 'cut-up' method, thus obviating lucid prose.

The movie version of Naked Lunch extracts a lot of the recurring themes in all of Burroughs's work and fuses it with his biographical material, in the process creating a rather interesting film. Peter Weller provides a surprisingly good performance.

downtown guy said...

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the style, I just couldn't imagine how it could be made into a movie. That makes more sense.