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The Place of Dead Roads: A Novel Paperback – May 4, 2001

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The Place of Dead Roads: A Novel + The Western Lands + Cities of the Red Night: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

Review

It's a comedy . . . a nightmare . . . Bosch-like visions, extraordinarily precise vivid visualizations . . . outrageous ideas like mind bombs. (Allen Ginsberg)

Powerful . . . a raging torrent of words and images . . . Burroughs, like Dalí, first draws from his insanity, then selects with reason. And what a master of the mother tongue he is--sculpted sentences, poetic prose, riffs that make you gasp in amazement . . . More accessible and murkily poetic than ever. (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

One of the wildest rides into the Wild West, and other parts known and unknown, we will ever have. (The Washington Post Book World)

A moving personal saga as well as a record of revolutionary vision. (Chicago Tribune Book World)

About the Author

William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914. He is best-known work is 1959's Naked Lunch--which became the focus of a landmark 1962 Supreme Court decision that helped eliminate literary censorship in the United States. Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. His many other works include Junky and Cities of the Red Night (Picador).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (May 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312278659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312278656
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Place of Dead Roads is the second book in the Western Lands trilogy, which begins with Cities of the Red Night and concludes with The Western Lands. The story begins in late 19th century American west, following the exploits of the young, homosexual, opiate addicted gunslinger, Kim Carsons. We follow Carsons and his gang, the Wild Fruits, through wired western mythology and sci-fi space/time travelling adventure as they attempt to organize the world-wide "Johnson Family", to overthrow the humans infected by a venusian virus which turns them into religious snooping control freaks. All the elements of classic Burroughs are here. There's an abundance of drug frenzy, violence and wicked black humour. This book, or its prequel Cities of the Red Night, are ideal places to start for anyone who is approaching Burroughs for the first time; as well as being thoroughly challenging and entertaining to the initiated. This Trilogy (li! ke much of Burroughs' work reading the 3 in sequence is not specifically required) is my personal favourite of Burroughs. I highly recommend it, but be warned: it will change the way you dream forever! R.I.P Bill. We miss you.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Yaumo Gaucho on July 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is only a little bit more coherent than Naked Lunch, but Burroughs seems to have become better at description since NL -- the descriptions of scenery, people, and everything else, are perhaps the best I've ever seen in the English language. Some people may be turned off by (or drawn by!) the graphic drug use, homosexual pedophilia, etc, but that's just a sideshow: Burroughs is a master of language and wording, and that's the big reason to read the book. This book is a must-read, even if only to see someone pushing the limits of language, writing, and imagination. See why the Beats considered Burroughs a literary mentor.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Neil Ford on August 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
(...) This is the best of Burroughs's novels. Unfortunately it seems to be a forgotten masterpiece, with less knowledgable fans continuing to tout his earlier, better-known stuff (Junkie, Naked Lunch, Queer), the stuff that's in print and more notorious than his later, finer work. I'm so glad that there's been a reprinting of this book - I would absolutely recommend it to any Burroughs fan as compulsory reading, and to anyone else who wants to read a lost 20th century masterpiece.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
This i regard as Burrough's most accomplished work. It crystallizes and synthesizes the Naked Lunch method of chaos, the cut up poetry of the Soft Machine and the newly found appreciation of the prose tale like in the Wild Boys. Though there's very little of the characteristic hipster imagery, this distorted Western movie style novel conjures up an even more shocking world than Junky did. Its humour that of a crocodile wanting to smoke a good cigar with you. And what about feeling compassion for a shootist that wants to destroy the borders of humanity? Without a word too many, despite all the repitition, a desert vista of all that Burroughs stands for is created from a vultures point of view, with some expeditions into the jungle of his dreams and fears. And what is it you find there? Not just a simple answer to the questions of life. It leaves you on your own confronted with the cruel caleidoscope of truth. You thought you could make a deal with good and bad? Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By chris on November 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
ANOTHER MASTERPIECE! EXTERMINATE ALL RATIONAL THOUGHT AND JOURNEY THROUGH TIME AND SPACE WHERE EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED. The western lands is my favorite book by WILLIAM S BURROUGHS and this is the second installment in his trilogy series( starting with CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT and ending with WESTERN LANDS). I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS AMAZING NOVEL TO NEW AND OLD BUROUGHS READERS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rich F on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Burroughs is a master of allegory. His rich imagery and mysticism are unequaled. Be prepared to let your mind wander and be open to new ways to tell stories basic to who we are.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mac Tonnies on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
In "The Place of Dead Roads," the second volume of the "Cities of the Red Night" trilogy, Burroughs continues his scathing deconstruction of Western society, making a murderously funny mockery of hypocrisy and hum-drum normality. Written with a practiced mix of anger and nostalgia, "The Place of Dead Roads" is like a prison confession written in some other dimension, a rollicking synthesis of Burroughs tropes old and new. Join Kim Carsons on his nightmare quest to rid the planet of its addictions: it's a surreal and haunting literary journey, the last 100 pages of which witness Burroughs at his visionary best.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JOTAROU JOESTAR on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
WILLIAM BURROUGHS AT HIS BEST, PERIOD. DOING HIS VERY OWN VERSION OF NIETSZCHE'S "THE GENEALOGY OF MORAL", BURROUGHS TAKES US ON A TIME AND SPACE SPANNING TRIP TROUGH THE REALMS OF THE SLAVE-GODS, THE LANGUAJE VIRUS (EVER PRESENT IN BURROUGHS MITHOLOGY) AND THE INVADED WOMAN-VESSELS FOR THE CATHOLIC DECEASE, BURROUGHS PROVES ONCE MORE THAT HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS WITH LANGUAJE, A TRULY MASTERPIECE THAT EXPANDS SEVERAL UNIVERSES WIDE. DO NOT DARE TO MISS IT.
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