Naked Lunch

By William S. Burroughs Jr., James Grauerholz, Barry Miles

Book cover of Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

Book description

Since its original publication in Paris in 1959, Naked Lunch has become one of the most important novels of the twentieth century.

Exerting its influence on the relationship of art and obscenity, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture. For the Burroughs enthusiast…


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Why read it?

3 authors picked Naked Lunch as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

First published in 1959, Naked Lunch was shocking then, and it still retains its power today. Both in content and structure, Naked Lunch is powerful and wholly original.  In effect, it becomes more than a work of fiction, it becomes an experience. Burroughs invented a technique called the “cut-up method,” where he cut up his coherent storyline into paragraphs, scenes, and even sentences, then reordered them both randomly and editorially. The disorder thematically represents the chaos of existence and the universe, and it also disrupts the reader. Like the book or not, it shakes you into realizing that there are…

The granddaddy of the borderland novel. An alien-scape of the good ol’ U. S. of A. No plot, no continuity, no narrative arc, no bourgeois psychology, no discernible structure, no comforting signposts whatsoever, just line after line of acidic corrosive prose whose sureshot relentless honesty will leave the perfect reader with lingering discomfort and a heady state of pure exhilaration. And it’s damn funny. This obsessively thorough psychic exploration of one drug-addled consciousness ensures that its elaborate mapping touches somewhere upon your own. And it’s damn funny. Pay special attention to the insects.

Classic work of cut-up exploring addictions at all societal levels. Burroughs depicts the totalitarian government of Annexia. In the novel Dr. Benway is "an expert on all phases of interrogation, brainwashing, and control," and he has been sent away from Annexia, because he claims to "abhor brutality." Annexia is portrayed as a totalitarian state in which citizens are subject to spontaneous searches and must keep track of ever-changing documents.

From Richard's list on totalitarian novels.

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