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Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th Anniversary Edition) [JUNKY ANNIV/E 50/E]
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Junky: The Definitive Text of Junk (50th Anniversary Edition) [JUNKY ANNIV/E 50/E] [Unknown Binding]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 50 edition (April 30, 2003)
  • ASIN: B001TI4KWQ
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,558,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
122 of 128 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What you see is what you get... March 5, 2002
Most serious readers have experienced a Beat phase in their reading careers...or should. Mine mainly centred on the works of Kerouac and Ginsberg with a spat of McClure and Burroughs thrown in for good measure. Through the years ~Junky~ would make an appearance, however the opportunity never presented itself to crack its covers. The book would manfest from time to time, simply to remind me that it still existed. I finally read ~Junky~ last week and it blew me away.
Despite the fact that William S. Burroughs has been thrown into the Beat literati, ~Junky~ doesn't seem to fit. The book is a one off, an important artefact of history - a testimony to an unfortunate human predicament and a way of life that is all too real; and societies ignorance, intolerance and exploitation of the condition, and its continued hypocrisy.
What I found interesting is that nothing has really changed since ~Junky~ was first published two generations ago. Drug addiction is still a 'moral issue' for a lot of people, including the addiction to alcohol. To be fair, as a society, we've probably made a little progress in the last fifty years, in terms of our understanding and treatment of drugs, but there is still a long way to go.
William Lee, a middle class, educated individual of relative privilege, tells the story of his introduction to junk, subsequent addiction and his on-going hellish relationship with the demon. This testimony is not a posing, romantic portrayal of a hip drug user, living an artistic, bohemian existence amongst poets, painters and musicians, all creating great works of art and having a wonderful time.
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Junky: a commonly misinterpreted work of brilliance February 3, 1998
By A Customer
Junky is the kind of novel that you cannot read until you abandon all pretenses. Forget for a moment that this was Burroughs' first book, put aside the fact that he was himself a junky, and put your personal opinions of drug use and abuse, as well as Burroughs himself, on hold. The attempt made by Junky as a piece of art is to honestly and fairly put forward an in-depth look at a side of American life that was virtually overlooked until its publication. The novel delves very deeply into a world that, though many would rather ignore it all together, has gotten progressively worse to this day.
Junky offers a detailed account of a drug addict's entrance into the seedy underworld, his daily search for a fix, the shady characters he must rely on, and the suffering he experiences while trying to fix himself. The purpose is to fully immerse the reader in the world of a man engulfed in addiction.
The hero is actually an intelligent man, who immediately recognizes the risk taken in his experiments with narcotics. He also realizes, although a little too late, the fact that he has become an addict himself, and now needs the drug for basic survival. He is also rational. He recognizes his dismal circumstances, but also recognizes his guilt in the matter, and in no way tries to gain sympathy from the reader. The hero is aware of what he has done to himself, and does nothing to deny his responsibility.
Junky in no way glamorizes drug use; on the contrary, in the sections that describe heroin as appealing, Burroughs is showing the immeasurable control the drug has quietly acquired over the user, distorting the addict's perception of what is happening to him.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic of the underground October 11, 2001
Burroughs' first book is an autobiographical tale of how he first came to try heroin and his travels across North America as, to paraphrase the author, junk became his life. To those who know Burroughs as only the writer of Naked Lunch, the straight-forward and precise prose of Junky may come as a surprise at first but, upon careful reading, all the same concerns and motifs are here. Basically, Junky tells what was happening in the real world while Burroughs was hallucinating the junk-fueled world of Naked Lunch. While it may deceptively appear to have no real structure, its meandering style instead perfectly embodies the drug-fueled lifestyle of its protaganist. Its a fascinating read that reveals that, despite beliefs to the contrary, there has always been a drug underground in the United States where junkies remain easy scapegoats for other societal problems. While Burroughs does't condemn drug use, he can hardly be accused of promoting it either. Instead, in the best libertarian tradition, he promotes only the freedom of the individual to be able to determine his own fate.
However, beyond any possible political or philosophical interpretations, this is a fast-moving, informative book with a dry wit hidden amongst the deadpan prose. What is often forgotten is that Burroughs' first known stories were all parodies of other genres and in many ways, Junky is a dead-on imitation of the hardboiled, pulp novels that were also prominent at the time.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A taste of self destruction....William S. Burrough's greatest book ever. A hard look into the life of an opiate addict based on the life of the author itself. It should be praised for it's realism and honesty, as it was written in a time when drugs should not have exsisted. Burroughs tells it all, and tells it like it is. Junky paints the sad life of a Junky perfectly, and still manages to throw in the classic black humor that made Burroughs famous. This is one book everyone should read, own, and reread....
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I can relate
I am a 35 year old ex drug addict who for some reason likes drugs,sex,and crime true stories. I never got into injecting harion but I got this book because on how much I related to... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Christopher Settle
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I liked this book. I wish I could have learned more about what happens at the end of the book.
Published 5 days ago by Sonya
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased, book was just as good condition as described
Arrived much sooner than expected! Very pleased, book was just as good condition as described. A+++!
Published 15 days ago by Wendi Villarreal
5.0 out of 5 stars Score This Tome Right Now!...
William S. Burroughs holds nothing back in this frank, blunt, honest book about his life w/ heroin. Long before TRAINSPOTTING, Burroughs' matter-of-fact style made JUNKY a true... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and I read this book together and we really enjoyed it. Had some...
My sister and I read this book together and we really enjoyed it. Had some pretty cool mental images while reading. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chelsea
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
required reading
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars A life defined by 'junk' doesn't seem like much of a life at all.
I struggled with this book, which is the first Burroughs novel I'd read. I think this can be largely attributed to the unsympathetic protagonist. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andrew McMillen
5.0 out of 5 stars I just finished this book. I have wanted to ...
I just finished this book. I have wanted to read it for many years. At times it was rambling and made no sense. I had to keep reminding myself - "it's written by a junkie". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gina M. Caruolo
3.0 out of 5 stars Junk 101
A book any budding writer should be proud of writing as his first. Especially in the early 1950's. Not his best work, but early signs of the future squick and squirm.
Published 3 months ago by B. Jolliff
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight Talk
The piece that paved the way for Brett, Irvine and Hubert. I would like to think we've advanced since this was written. Read more
Published 4 months ago by VirgilCane
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