Naked Lunch Redux
William Burroughs's seminal classic, Naked Lunch, is published in a 50th anniversary edition
All of which makes the re-publication of Naked Lunch: The Fiftieth Anniversary Edition by its original American publisher (Grove Press) a bittersweet happenstanceslip-covered, restored text and all. Has it really been half a century since youngsters (like myself)not to mention writers like J.G Ballard, William Gibson, and Thomas Pynchonwere corrupted by drug-driven visions of crazed sex perverts and heroin addicts like Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the rest (keep in mind the book was a defendant in a 1966 obscenity trial)? Well, of course it has.
Naked Lunch (title courtesy of Jack Kerouac) is a teeth-grinding rollercoaster narrative of junkie life in Manhattan, Tangiers, and a geography of Burroughs’s harrowing and hallucinatory imagination he called Interzonea byproduct of copious notes he took during 15 years of heroin addiction.
Given that my substance-abusing, sexually promiscuous, knee-crawling, toilet-hugging days are far behind me, I wonder if I (or you) can enter Burroughs’s powerfully rendered, scrambled, and disjointed universe againwe’ll see.