Cities of the Red Night

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Overview

While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch—the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel The Western Plains.
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Cities of the Red Night: A Novel

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Overview

While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch—the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel The Western Plains.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Cities of the Red Night is Burroughs's masterpiece. In it, the world ends with a bang—and a barely perceived whimper, disguised by the wicked smile of one of the most dazzling magicians of our time."—Los Angeles Time Book Review

"Cities of the Red Night is not only Burroughs' best work, but a logical and ripening extension of all of Burroughs's great work."—Ken Kesey

"One should approach Cities of the Red Night as the Wagneresque capper of all the five or six homosexual planet-operas Burroughs has scripted since he found a genuine new style in Naked Lunch . . . It's as if we had gotten hold of a black ticket to his unconscious, and anyone who makes the trip will see sights and feel feelings that are unique and mind-bending beyond anyone else's description"—The Washington Post Book World

"Cities of the Red Night is the most complete and most devastatingly sardonic statement of William Burroughs's apocalyptic vision. Through his mordant satire of cultural aspirations, homosexual eroticism and political power, he focuses our gaze into the abyss. His cold, surgical language creates beauty through a terror that we are just able to bear . . . A modern Inferno."—Newsday

Kirkus Reviews
Burroughs may be our only writer whose sociopolitical apocalyptica transcends both paranoia and triviality; his imagination is superb, his ear savagely satiric.
John Rechy
Cities of the Red Night is Burroughs's masterpiece. In it, the world ends with a bang—and they barely perceived winter, disguised by the wicked smile of one of the most dazzling magicians of our times.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Michael B. Goodman
Cities of the Red Night is the most complete and the most devastatingly sardonic statement of William Burroughs's apocalyptic vision. Through his mordant satire of cultural aspirations, homosexual eroticism, and political power, he focuses our gaze into the abyss. His cold, surgical language creates beauty through terror that we are just able to bear….Cities of the Red Night is a modern Inferno.
Newsday
Publisher's Weekly
This novel…is worthy of being placed beside Naked Lunch….Burroughs's vision is unique, outrageous, and absolutely fascinating.
Kirkus Reviews
As long as the Beat Generation continues to engage self-styled hipsters, counter-culturalists, and transgressors, the work of the late Burroughs (1914—97) will continue to waste precious wood pulp. Admired for what we now know to be something of a group effort—Naked Lunch—Burroughs never repeated its critical success, though extraliterary scandal (and constant marketing by Allen Ginsberg) helped keep him in the public eye. First published in 1981, Cities of the Red Night was no exception: Kirkus pronounced it DOA. Meandering and full of "neo-Reichian crackpottery," we dismissed it as "ponderous, self-anesthetized," and dealing in "pursy anarcho-pietisms and tennis-shoe philosophy." Worst of all, it's "not at all funny"—"a sad come-down" for a writer who once seemed to have an almost vaudevillian sense of shtick and surprise. What's left, then and now? Kirkus's view still holds: "a dry schist of pornographic semi-moralism so flavorlessly numbing that we can't really imagine it offending" anyone, puritans or plain-old readers.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312278465
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: Western Lands Trilogy , #1
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 638,815
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914. He is best-known work is 1959's Naked Lunch—which became the focus of a landmark 1962 Supreme Court decision that helped eliminate literary censorship in the United States. Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. His many other works include Junky and The Place of Dead Roads (Picador).

Biography

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) -- guru of the Beat Generation, controversial éminence grise of the international avant-garde, dark prophet, and blackest of black humor satirists -- had a range of influence rivaled by few post-World War II writers. His many books include Naked Lunch, Queer, Exterminator!, The Cat Inside, The Western Lands, and Interzone.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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