Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William S. Burroughs | Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

Naked Lunch: The Restored Text

3.3 65
by William S. Burroughs, Mark Bramhall
     
 

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Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, a book that redefined not just literature but American culture. An unnerving tale of a narcotics addict unmoored in New York, Tangiers, and ultimately a nightmarish wasteland known as Interzone, its formal innovation, formerly taboo subject matter, and tour de force execution have exerted their

Overview

Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, a book that redefined not just literature but American culture. An unnerving tale of a narcotics addict unmoored in New York, Tangiers, and ultimately a nightmarish wasteland known as Interzone, its formal innovation, formerly taboo subject matter, and tour de force execution have exerted their influence on the work of authors like Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, and William Gibson; on the relationship of art and obscenity; and on the shape of music, film, and media generally. Naked Lunch: The Restored Text includes many editorial corrections to errors present in previous editions, and incorporates Burroughs's notes on the text, several essays he wrote over the years about the book, and an appendix of 20 percent new material and alternate drafts from the original manuscript, which predates the first published version. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume is a valuable and fresh experience of this classic of our culture.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

William S. Burroughs's classic tale has been fully restored by his longtime editors, Grauerholz and Miles, and is invigorated by this enthusiastic reading. Mark Bramhall offers a professional performance peppered with every trick of the actor's trade to make it a resonating effort. He approaches the work with such energy that the story seems like a new entity, freshly relevant and timely. Listeners will lose themselves in the journey of junkie William Lee as he makes his way from bizarre destination to even more bizarre destination in this unforgettable novel. A Grove paperback. (Feb.)

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Newsweek
"A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire."
Herbert Gold
It happens that Burroughs possesses a special literary gift. Naked Lunch is less a novel than a series of essays, fantasies, prose poems, dramatic fragments, bitter arguments, jokes, puns, epigrams--all hovering about the explicit subject matter of making out on drugs while not making out in either work or love... (Naked Lunch) takes a coldly implacable look at the dark side of our nature... William Burroughs has written the basic work for understanding that desperate symptoms which is the beat style of life.-- Books of the Century, The New York Times review, November, 1962
From the Publisher

“A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire.” —Newsweek

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

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

“A great, an essential novel…[that] prefigures much that has occurred in history, the popular media and high and low culture in the past four decades.” –The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)

“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.” —Douglas Brinkley, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Naked Lunch will leave the most amoral readers slack-jawed; and yet a trek beneath the depraved surface reveals interweaving caverns that ooze unsettling truths about the human spirit. . . . In the same galloping, lyrical way Walt Whitman celebrated democratic toilers of all stripes, Burroughs gleefully catalogs totalitarian spoilers and criminal types—be they human or monster, psychological or pharmacological.” —Mark Luce, The Kansas City Star

“[Naked Lunch] made Burroughs’s reputation as a leader of the rebels against the complacency and conformity of American society. . . . An outrageous satire on the various physical and psychological addictions that turn human beings into slaves. . . . Burroughs’s vision of the addict’s life, by which we may infer the lives of all of us in some sense, is a vicious death-in-life of unrelieved abnegation, utter enervation and baroque suffering. Dante could not have envisioned such a post-Holocaust, post-apocalyptic circle of hell.” —Frederic Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal

“An absolutely devastating ridicule of all that is false, primitive, and vicious in current American life: the abuses of power, hero worship, aimless violence, materialistic obsession, intolerance, and every form of hypocrisy.” —Terry Southern

“Only after the first shock does one realize that what Burroughs is writing about is not only the destruction of depraved men by their drug lust, but the destruc­tion of all men by their consuming addictions . . . He is a writer of great power and artistic integrity engaged in a profoundly meaningful search for true values.” —John Ciardi

Praise for William Burroughs:

“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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781433259678
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/2009
Edition description:
Unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hours
Pages:
7
Sales rank:
633,983
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

John Ciardi
"Only after the first shock does one realize that what Burroughs is writing about is not only the destruction of depraved men by their drug lust, but the destruction of all men by their consuming addictions... He is a writer of great power and artistic integrity engaged in a profoundly meaningful search for true values."
Terry Southern
"An absolutely devastating ridicule of all that is false, primitive, and vicious in current American life: the abuses of power, hero worship, aimless violence, materialistic obsession, intolerance, and every form of hypocrisy."
Norman Mailer
"A book of great beauty.... Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genious."

Meet the Author

William S. Burroughs (1914–1997) was the author of numerous novels, including Nova Express, The Ticket That Exploded, The Soft Machine, and The Wild Boys, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

James Grauerholz was Burroughs’s longtime secretary and editor.

Barry Miles has been involved for years with Beat literature as a scholar and participant. Among his books are The Beat Hotel and biographies of Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.

Mark Bramhall studied acting at Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley, the American Conservatory Theatre, and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as a Fulbright scholar. He has starred in numerous West Coast stage productions and has played featured roles in such television series as Alias, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files.

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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Naked Lunch 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
FocoProject More than 1 year ago
Forget you ever read a book in your life. All the standards and rules and everything you have read up to this point, just toss it out the window because it will do you absolutely no good when reading this book. In fact, it will probably be detrimental. This is probably the most difficult book I have ever read. Literally. I sat down and read five pages. I put the book down and realized I had no idea what was going on. Sure that I must have missed something, I went back and read again. About twelve pages in, I again realized I was not getting it. Frustrated I put it away.

I started the book from the beginning three days later. I got to the part where I kept stopping and realized, there is no way I am going to force this book to make sense. So I had to shift a little, and make myself give in to the book instead, which for me is relatively uncomfortable. And yet, only in that manner was I able to sink into this hellish book.

If I were to describe this book in one line, it would include the words trip, crazy, troubling and edgy accompanied by a handful of expletives scattered around for good measure.

Once you give in to the book, prepare yourself to go on one of the most disturbing, surrealistic, humorous, perverted, unbelievable rides of your life. Take ¿Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas¿ and multiply it times four.

As a point of warning, this book is NOT for the average reader. It demands an open mind, because it deals with drugs, alcohol, substance abuse, sexuality, homosexuality and science fiction in very explicit ways. VERY. Though not overtly descriptive in a lot of cases, this book does have some scenes that will make the tamer side of the crowd cringe. It is not every day that an author describes a characters fright, by picturing him pissing and defecating all over himself. It is not every day that an author tells the story about a man that teaches his bonghole to talk. It does not make sense, it is not supposed to. The world that this author describes, which is at times in Mexico, Tangiers and the Interzone, is one that can not really be described as anything other than one massive sex, drug and violence trip.

Furthermore, sentences come at you broken and the story jumps from one scene to the next without following any rational thought. It is no secret that a lot of this was written while the author was under the influence and it shows. At times disgusting, twisted and at other times incredibly humorous, this book is going to test all literary conventions.

Armed with a collection of memorable characters such as junkies that believe themselves to be secret agents, or unscrupulous doctors that have absolutely no ethics¿this explosive book, is like a bullet, hard hitting and unforgiving. It will likely offend most readers in one way or another. But if you can find it within yourself to take yourself a bit more lightly, you may just enjoy it.

Maybe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that until today I had never read a book that has made me gag, laugh, and cringe in pain uncontrollably over and over again. No one who is at all narrow minded will enjoy the book as well as most who consider themselves open minded. Let me say that I think just about every review I have read is exaggerating in one extreme or another. This is not trash that should be burned and never read by anyone. But it is also not a masterpiece, and obviously some people read way to much into it. The book definitely has a message (although it is hard to find) and it is new, fresh, and challenging. The book is no doubt extremely important and to a degree revolutionary but to say that it changed American culture is definitely a stretch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is not one those happy books that you can read before you go to bed. It is a dark journey through addiction and madness. It is a brilliant book that can never be replicated. It is a must read. It is a must own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful weird flake consistancy world half-life stillness. This book is like no other. The sentences are disjointed and the words are jumbled--all on purpose to give you the feel of a heroin addict taking notes. And it works. A book that changed the course of literature. Parts are extremely disturbing. Parts are beautiful. Take the journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For my English Assignment I had to read a book and write review about it, I chose Naked Lunch the Restored Text. I have to agree it redefine American Culture, the book addicts you like William S. Burroughs was addicted to narcotics. He had written down mostly everything he had gone through while on the influence of drugs.  It made me go to a totally different world, at some points I didn’t know whether I should laugh or scream. Don’t get me wrong it is a good thing because in a world of happiness you’re always going to need pain.  This has to be one of my favorite books. I really enjoy sort of the side notes (if that’s what you call them) in text. The reason I read was because it was in the banned book list and I am rebel.  It was probably banned for every conceivable way a book should be banned, but who really cares.  If I were to recommend this to anyone it has to be to the people that are very open-minded or it won’t really make any sense to you. It is also difficult to read but once you get it, its genius.  
malignant_madness More than 1 year ago
I'll admit, Naked Lunch (as well as Junky and the rest of Burroughs' books) are NOT for everybody. In my opinion you either love his work or you hate it. I am one of those who love him and can't get enough of his writng. I've already reccomended this book many times over the years and still reread it a few times a year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very hard to follow, even when you got the 60's refrences. There was a laugh or two between completely incomprehensible paragraphs. I wanted to like it, but couldn't.
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Maria73 More than 1 year ago
This is not the first work by Burroughs that I've read but it is the worst. The text flows through nonsensical chaos that will leave you scratching your head or staring at the page questioning what you just read. The language is graphic, confusing and deals heavily with the darkest sides of substance abuse. His descriptions of the characters, their drug use and sexuality are disturbing. This is not for the faint of heart nor is it for anyone who'd like to read an even remotely coherent book.
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Analogkid60 More than 1 year ago
Apparently written under the influence at a time when drug use was still underground. I just didn’t get it. For the life of me I could not make any sense out of this book. The only parts that were coherent were the essays at the end. It was like 196 pages of Jim Morrison poetry. There’s no discernable plot. Burroughs apparently wrote down every sick, obscene, filthy thought that ran through his drug addled mind. Some parts seem like they were nothing more than random phrases thrown together. I’m certainly no prude; I inhaled, and I have nothing against books that use profanity or describe sexual situations, but Burroughs uses obscenity just for the sake of shock. I had to resign myself to reading 10 pages a day just to get through it. The only reason I didn’t give up altogether was because I believe in finishing any book that I begin. Maybe you need hard drugs to enjoy this book. Perhaps Naked Lunch could be used in the anti-drug campaign as an example of how the mind disintegrates with prolonged drug usage, although I wouldn’t recommend anyone under the age of 16 read this. Unless you enjoy unintelligible mayhem, do yourself a favor and read something else.
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As a pioneer of the beat generation authors, such as Kerouac and Ginsberg, I had wanted for years to see what insight Burroughs shared in his seminal work. Unfortunately this is just the addled ramblings of a drug fried brain. The major accomplishment seems to be that he got it onto the page.