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Queer: 25th-Anniversary Edition

Overview

The definitive 25th-anniversay edition of Burroughs's legendary second novel.

Originally written in 1952 but not published till 1985, Queer is an enigma-both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch. Set in Mexico City during the early fifties, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to...

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Queer

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Overview

The definitive 25th-anniversay edition of Burroughs's legendary second novel.

Originally written in 1952 but not published till 1985, Queer is an enigma-both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch. Set in Mexico City during the early fifties, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene. As Lee breaks down, the trademark Burroughsian voice emerges, a maniacal mix of self- lacerating humor and the ugly American at his ugliest.

A haunting tale of possession and exorcism, Queer is also a novel with a history of secrets, as this new edition reveals.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - BookSmack!
Borroughs's second novel, this was written in 1952 but not released until 1985. Set in early 1950s Mexico, the autobiographical story follows recovering junkie William Lee (Kerouac heads know that Burroughs appears as Bull Lee in a number of Jack's books) as he bar hops with other ugly American expatriates. Lee falls in love with another man, which leads to his downfall. This 25th-anniversary edition restores previously deleted passages and includes notes on the text and the author's original intro. Mike Rogers, "Classic Returns," Booksmack! 10/7/10
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an introduction, Burroughs observes that he wrote this heretofore unpublished picaresque novel in 1951, well before Naked Lunch established his reputation. He reveals that the book had its genesis in a terrible event: his accidental shooting to death of his wife, Joan, a tragedy that released the black wellsprings of his talent. The narrative recounts the hallucinatory life of William Lee, an American in Mexico City in the 1940s and his journey to Ecuador with his reluctant lover, Eugene Allerton, in search of the drug Yage. Lee is Burroughs after the killing, weighed down by guilt, drugs, lust and despair; seeking lethe. Admirerers will find an early exposition of Burroughs's later themes here, as well as a strain of gallows humor. The work is almost cinematic as it unfolds; the author is not yet experimenting with the meaninglessness of language, and, indeed it is thin in both thought and expression. This is the first of a series of Burroughs's works to be issued by Viking. Foreign rights: Andrew Wylie Agency. November
Library Journal
Burroughs has contracted with Viking Penguin for seven books to be issued over the next five years. Queer , the first of these, was originally written in 1951, but has never before been published. Stylistically similar to Junky , it claims the same protagonist, Lee, who in this work is experiencing a period of intense withdrawal from heroin. He is disintegrated, unsure of himself and his purpose, given to emotional excess. He is obsessed with sex, yet even more craves attention. To satisfy this craving he invents rather frantic ``routines'' designed to shock and amuse his companions. While Queer may seem tame in comparison to Burroughs's later work, it is important for the insight it offers about his development as a writer. His lengthy introduction should be of particular interest to both readers and scholars. David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143117834
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Edition number: 25
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 416,929
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (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.

Oliver Harris edited The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1945-1959. He is currently a lecturer in American Literature at the University of Keele.

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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