Junky: The Definitive Text of

Junky: The Definitive Text of "Junk"

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by William S. Burroughs
     
 

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Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.

In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and peddling heroin and other drugs in the 1950s into a work that reads like a field report from the underworld of post-war America. The Burroughs-like

Overview


Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.

In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and peddling heroin and other drugs in the 1950s into a work that reads like a field report from the underworld of post-war America. The Burroughs-like protagonist of the novel, Bill Lee, see-saws between periods of addiction and rehab, using a panoply of substances including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, paregoric (a weak tincture of opium) and goof balls (barbiturate), amongst others. For this definitive edition, renowned Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has gone back to archival typescripts to re-created the author's original text word by word. From the tenements of New York to the queer bars of New Orleans, Junky takes the reader into a world at once long-forgotten and still with us today. Burroughs’s first novel is a cult classic and a critical part of his oeuvre.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Reads today as fresh and unvarnished as it ever has."-Will Self on Junky

“Of all the Beat Generation writers, William S. Burroughs was the most dangerous. . . . He was anarchy’s double agent, an implacable enemy of conformity and of all agencies of control-from government to opiates.”—Rolling Stone

“The most important writer to emerge since World War II. . . . For his sheer visionary power, and for his humor, I admire Burroughs more than any living writer, and most of those who are dead.”—J.G. Ballard

“William was a Shootist. He shot like he wrote—with extreme precision and no fear.”—Hunter S. Thompson

“A book of great beauty . . . . Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.” —Norman Mailer

“Ever since Naked Lunch . . . Burroughs has been ordained America’s most incendiary artist.”—Los Angeles Times

“Burroughs voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American.”—Joan Didion

“In 1953, at the height of American conformism and anti-communist hysteria, William S. Burroughs published Junky, an irresistible strung-out ode to the joys and perversities of drug addiction. . . . Junky eschews allegory for scrupulous realism. . . . More than anything else, Junky reads like a field guide to the American underworld.”—The Daily Beast

“Retro-cool, like something Don Draper might find in the Greenwich Village pad of that reefer-smoking painter he was seeing in the first season of Mad Men.”—Las Vegas Weekly on Naked Lunch

“A creator of grim fairy tales for adults, Burroughs spoke to our nightmare fears and, still worse, to our nightmare longings. . . . And more than any other postwar wordsmith, he bridged generations; popularity in the youth culture is greater now than during the heady days of the Beats.”—The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Burroughs seems to revel in a new medium . . . a medium totally fantastic, spaceless, timeless, in which the normal sentence is fractured, the cosmic tries to push its way through the bawdry, and the author shakes the reader as a dog shakes a rat.”—Anthony Burgess on The Ticket That Exploded

“In Burroughs’ hands, writing reverts to acts of magic, as though he were making some enormous infernal encyclopedia of all the black impulses and acts that, once made, would shut the fiends away forever.”—The New York Times on The Ticket That Exploded

“Macabre, funny, reverberant, grotesque.”—The New York Review of Books on Nova Express

“Hypnotic; I wish I could quote, but it takes several pages to get high on this stuff. . . . Funny . . . outrageous along the lines of Burroughs’s well-established scatology. He can think of the wildest parodies of erotic exuberance and invent the weirdest places for demonstrating them.”—Harper’s Magazine on Nova Express

“One of the most interesting pieces of radical fiction we have.”—The Nation on The Soft Machine

“In Burroughs’ hands, writing reverts to acts of magic, as though he were making some enormous infernal encyclopedia of all the black impulses and acts that, once made, would shut the fiends away forever.”—The New York Times on The Wild Boys

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802120427
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
97,088
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
February 4, 1914
Date of Death:
August 2, 1997
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
Place of Death:
Lawrence, Kansas
Education:
Los Alamos Ranch School; A.B., Harvard University, 1936; graduate study, 1938

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Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th Anniversary Edition) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written. One gets the feel that the narrator is truly an addict. I found most intriguing that which was purposefully NOT written in this book. This man's life IS his addiction. Other events, which for most people are major milestones or reasons for celebration, are merely glossed over - barely mentioned. To the discerning reader, it even greater emphasizes that this man's life, love, dedication, drive, and passions are soley committed to that of heroin. Its ending just seels this masterpiece.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Huh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
POPCORN WITH PICKLE JUICE AND TABASCO SAUCE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im srry to say it * lays down gun* i just shot the lorax
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THE PARTYS BEEN MOVED TO FRUIT SMOOTHIE RES 1 BYE PLEASE COME
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is honest. Thank the lord, this book is honest. Any description of condition or of desperation is accurate, and shows the human nature of the narrator. There is no pretty sugar coating, and if it is, the description isn't over-done. This is what an Autobiography should be. Honest, descriptive, comprehensible, and exposed. Thank the lord.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was like entering a new world for me. I know a lot about drugs (and that is why I myself don't do them), but I am not around drugs everyday like Burroughs was. That's all his life was about...junk. Burroughs' life revoles around junk and no matter what he does to try to quit he just ends up doing it again. I personally did not like this book because it did not catch my interest, but it was written very well. The stories he told of his life with junk were very descriptive and the life he lived was easy to visualize. If you like a life of uncertainty and wildness (with drugs, of course) then this book is for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need to score
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H
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