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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put yourself inside the tormented and confused mind of a drug addict as he loses lucidity and visits demons
This edition of the classic Burroughs text has has textual errors corrected by Burroughs scholar Barry Miles and Burroughs's longtime personal secretary James Grauerholz. In addition to presenting the text, this book includes a comprehensive essay on the process which brought Naked Lunch to publication (Kerouac and Ginsberg were heavily involved), as well as details on...
Published on January 24, 2006 by Jessica Lux

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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5): An Important Yet Flawed Novel...
I'm not sure how to digest "Naked Lunch" let alone write a review about it. Burroughs' text is one of the most important to come out of the Beats, yet it's hard to read and didn't leave me with any sense of satisfaction. The novel is a true example of a novel driven purely by style and form and I think it hurst the overall vision of the text. I understand that the cut and...
Published on March 1, 2007 by C. Mendoza-tolentino


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Put yourself inside the tormented and confused mind of a drug addict as he loses lucidity and visits demons, January 24, 2006
By 
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
This edition of the classic Burroughs text has has textual errors corrected by Burroughs scholar Barry Miles and Burroughs's longtime personal secretary James Grauerholz. In addition to presenting the text, this book includes a comprehensive essay on the process which brought Naked Lunch to publication (Kerouac and Ginsberg were heavily involved), as well as details on the editors' process of generated the restored text. The book concludes with additional fragments of writing by Burroughs which expand on some of the chapters of the novel.

The text is a narrative (in the absolute loosest sense of the term) about a narcotics addict who flees New York to travel through the Southern US, Mexico, South America, and into North Africa. It opens with clear paragraphs and a fairly typical storytelling structure and then disintegrates into stream of consciousness notes (of a drug addict) full of ellipsis points. The book moves from a literal world to a fantastic illusionary place of demons, people with mold growing on their bodies, transparent addicts, and rampant orgies of anal sex.

Is it an easy read? No. Is it a novel? Definitely not. It is, however, and important cultural read and an amazing book about being under the influence of drugs. If you don't get too far with the main text, before you toss the book away, be sure to check out the open letter from Burroughs to the medical community about addiction and treatment for a wide range of drugs (it appears at the end of both the original and restored editions). That essay is clearly written and very informative.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You'd have to be insane to like this book., April 20, 2005
By 
J. Sosen (Boise, Idaho) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
I bought Naked Lunch because of a friend of mine who was a Burroughs fan (I suppose you could say Burroughs junky). I had no idea what the book was about, and I knew nothing about the author. These probably weren't the most favorable conditions to be introduced to a book like Naked Lunch. In other words, I wasn't ready to read it.

I hated the first 20 pages of Naked Lunch. I wasn't yet used to the writing style... Burroughs uses a lot of obscure and unobvious slang, and a lot of similes and metaphors that don't seem to make sense. It's mostly sentence fragments. As I read, though, I kind of got used to the style. It didn't seem so frustrating any more; it was an enigma, and it was cool on top of that. The last half of the book is a lot more fun, anyway.

The bizzareness of Naked Lunch is probably what saved it for me, though. It's chock full of drugs and drug use. Most of the characters are gay, and some of them seem to be insane. There's an upper class eccentric who destroys social events and establishments, a man who used to be president of an island where the position of president is ridiculed, and a man who pumps his mental patients full of drugs. The book is sort of an allegory of Burrough's own life, and if you read about him you can see a lot of the parallels.

There's a lot of people I wouldn't recommend Naked Lunch to. In fact, I don't think I personally know anyone who I'd recommend it to. None of the people I know could stand it. They're all too sane. All the people out there who are obsessed with this book have got to be insane. Or just really smart, I guess. I'm dumb and sane. I still happened to like it, though.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars give it a shot, kids :_], March 5, 2012
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
...

hmm,

this book, wow, this book, is f****** amazing. I've read Howl, I've read On The Road (excellent by the way), I've read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Kingdom of Fear, The Rum Diary, and such by Hunter S. Thompson. I feel like the other beats were building up to this, and HST was impossible WITHOUT William S. Burroughs. Naked Lunch is a masterpiece. I don't think there is another book like it, so full of invention, creativity, like a zoo of freaks or a jungle of mountain lions. Be afraid, be very afraid, this is not for middle schoolers, nor even high schoolers (Burroughs himself obviously inspired by Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World). I would even say that college might be a bit too soon (most of my peers were idiots (unless it was a philosophy class [hey ho!])): "that's too much reading!"

No, Naked Lunch is something I have spent time building up to. I have spent time with counter-cultureists and know their style. I read maybe a quarter of Ulysses, and while that was way harder, Naked Lunch also induced headaches. I wouldn't say someone should just jump into it in terms of literary retrospective, but in terms of imagination, the novel is in a class all its own.

Some are going to really dislike the use of sex. Some are going to really dislike the mention of drugs. Some will just hate the inventive use of language that is more like a poem and a riddle than an essay. I say dive in! Why not just go with it? Don't feel like you have to read Naked Lunch to get onto the next thing, read it like a fine wine, taking in a little bit here and there. After all, Burroughs spent at least a decade getting Lunch complete. Tolstoy wrote War and Peace in pieces over two and a half years. Joyce wrote Ulysses over about the same time Burroughs took. If you rush through you'll just squander the gift of the novel.

Naked Lunch is not your common book, it is a pamphlet: anti/counter-culture propaganda/information/invention. Lunch is the most explicit piece of material probably anyone could ever think of while still keeping it within the realm of art.

It's worth is just for the fun you'll have.

Read it and try it, and if you don't like it, then burn it like some communist. I recommend this book.

==it's also the funniest dang book I've ever read.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5): An Important Yet Flawed Novel..., March 1, 2007
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
I'm not sure how to digest "Naked Lunch" let alone write a review about it. Burroughs' text is one of the most important to come out of the Beats, yet it's hard to read and didn't leave me with any sense of satisfaction. The novel is a true example of a novel driven purely by style and form and I think it hurst the overall vision of the text. I understand that the cut and splice and often tangential writing is meant to recreate a junk addicts perspective, yet at the end of the day, if nothing comes out of the text other than "some of the anecdotes were really something," it's hard to say how successful the novel is. Did I like it? At times. Did I enjoy reading it? Somewhat. I most certainly think it's a novel that has an important place in American History and within American Literature, but I don't think it stands up to "On the Road" and some of the other texts to come out of the Beat Generation.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Unique Read, January 26, 2011
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
I liked this book for a number of reasons:
- It was banned in America for being obscene. It sometimes made me squirm because of the brutal reality and depictions.
- Steely Dan got their name from this book
- The writing style is totally unique - There was no real plot or discernible real events that take place. There are apparent errors and odd formatting that made me question whether they were purposeful or accidental. Despite (or because) of it, the book is a very interesting and captivating read.
- Not until reading the editors notes and such did I realize the significance of Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Burroughs to each other.
- It is a brutally honest book, with the author's views about drug use, sexuality, and capital punishment being communicated in an extremely creative and obscene manner. I think sardonic accurately captures much of the feeling.
- The editors notes and Burrough's letters supplement the read. These helped me understand the context in which the book was written, as well as a finer explanation of the author's own take on his work. Getting the background of Burrough's life and how the book came together made it all the more impacting.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Burroughs' best, September 7, 2006
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
Although NL has been acclaimed as genius, WSB himself didn't think it was successful. Those of you who are turned off by the contrived shocking imagery of NL and won't read another WSB novel: Please reconsider and read some of his later, more "mature" post-60's novels; Wild Boys, Exterminator! (short stories) Cities of the Red Night, Western Lands, etc.

Those are the books where Burroughs' 'voice' comes through, and makes his earlier writings (NL, Nova Express) seem almost childish.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not My Style [73][80][T], October 11, 2007
By 
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
Sometimes the history behind the book establishes its notoriety - I think "Naked Lunch" is one such novel.

Numbed by drugs, enraged by societal prejudices for his sexual preferences, and outright angry like his "Beat Generation" peers, William Burroughs plows through pages upon pages in a Helter Skelter fashion - telling us little.

Shocking the reader is one ambition: and in his time he succeeded. The question that remains, now that we live in a more accepting society which more freely accepts profanity - does this book lose its grip as it shocks few of today's readers? But, to be fair, every great revolutionary, every liberator, takes giant strides in his or her time, which respectively seem minute by his or her ancestors who read about those feats decades or centuries later.

But, I personally read books for content, style and flavor. And, this book - albeit full of flavor - lacks style or content which I like. And, the flavor was too thick, too syrupy, too .. . too much.

A classic? Maybe a book that created a classic time in our history with the last federal lawsuit delving with censorship. A great work of literature? Maybe unique and forthcoming, but I do not perceive this as great.

When I read books like this, I ask myself the same question I ask when I see the "White on White" canvas painting at New York's prestigious MOMA - is this art, or is this the artist laughing at me when I try to interpret it as art?
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Is Your Brain on Drugs, March 24, 2012
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The postmodern novel, except without the lies, June 30, 2006
This review is from: Naked Lunch: The Restored Text (Paperback)
The concept of the postmodern novel is confusion between symbol and meaning, explained through self-aware metaphor; Burroughs takes this further and makes a radio show of many small skits associated invisibly (topically; philosophically) around the concept of modern breakdown. He borrows from every source, pulp, science fiction, psychological thrillers, literature (Melville!), and even advertisements in order to create this highly metaphorical book. Where James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon created highly styled postmodern books, they never came close to this degree of truth and understanding of the human condition -- and how it might be transcended. This is one of my favorite books of all time and I will never tire of reading it, although many of the acts in the book are things that make me alternately blush or hide in fear.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Information on Editions for Kindle Users, November 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Kindle edition buyers, note!: to get a good Kindle version, you need to buy the "Naked Lunch: The Restored Text" published by Grove in 2007. If you buy another version, you'll get a low-quality scanned Topaz eBook, instead of a more modern azw3 format.
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Naked Lunch: The Restored Text
Naked Lunch: The Restored Text by William S. Burroughs (Paperback - January 26, 2004)
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