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Exterminator! Paperback – March 29, 1979

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About 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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (March 29, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140050035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140050035
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
EXTERMINATOR! A NOVEL is without any question my favorite William S. Burroughs book. The "A Novel" of the title must surely be ironic, because the book is not in any recognizable sense a novel. It is a collection of largely unconnected sketches and scenes. Not every section is a masterpiece, but several are among the most surreal and brilliant things that Burroughs ever wrote. And for anyone who has not previously read any Burroughs, it is a brilliant introduction. I personally find it far more accessible and enjoyable than NAKED LUNCH, which, while it has many fine passages, nonetheless can at times become tedious.
Although by and large the various parts are unconnected, several are focused on the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. In particular, the amazingly creative and hysterically funny "The Coming of the Purple Better One" takes that as its locale. The "Purple Better One" of the title refers to a baboon that is placed upon the convention podium, and upon whose face is superimposed the face of a white Southern, racist politician, whose recorded speech is then played. It is one of the more bizarre, brilliant, and absurd scenes in recent American literature. Another favorite is "The Discipline of DE," the DE standing for "Do Easy." The story is a strange blend of Zen Buddhist tract and self-help manifestation. Other favorites include the title story, with the narrator/exterminator repeating ominously "You want the service?" and a supposed film treatment "Twilight's Last Gleamings."
The collection features many of the themes usually associated with Burroughs: Sci-fi, fantasy, drugs, usual medical practices and phenomena, governmental nefariousness, and the corruption of capitalistic life.
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Format: Paperback
This is the only other book of William S. Burroughs that, in my opinion, comes close to the absolute genius of "Naked Lunch." A fragmented novel of strange vignettes, loosely incorporating the theme of the exterminator and his grim trade as its focus, the book reads like a hallucinatory nightmare version of the Sunday comics from an unseen world better left undiscovered. Brilliant, funny, sad and disturbing--everything grteat writing should be.
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A Kid's Review on October 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is pretty good. I was surprised to see a few bad reviews for something which seems to hold good amount of merit, especially in comparison to most. Of course, it's not Ulysses, or even Burroughs's best. It's simply good.
Exterminator!, The Colonel Issues DE, Cold Lost Marbles, and The Perfect Servant have been my favorite passages since I first read it. The book is hilarious if you can manage to analytically wipe the opaque layer of genius-dirt from the neglected window obscuring Burroughs's warm, cozy, funny soul.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William S. Burroughs had some brilliant works. Although some of them are a little too drug induced (Naked Lunch for example), I still found them enjoyable. This is a collection of incomplete stories or sketches & shorts. This includes, The Priest They Called Him which is one of my favorites from Burroughs. If you are a fan of Burroughs works this is a must have. I found this and Junky to be some of Burroughs easier reads. Interestingly enough, Burroughs did a reading of The Priest They Called him with Kurt Cobain supplying basically feedback as a background noise back in the day. I am glad I own that CD as it is one of my favorites from Burroughs and they are both now dead. Just remember one thing going into this, it's not an actual novel. The stories don't connect and not all of them are finished.
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Format: Paperback
The back cover of William S. Burroughs' "Exterminator!" describes the book as an "experimental novel." Because of the book's fragmented, mosaic-like structure, I think you could also describe it as a collection of experimental prose fragments. It's a blend of science fiction, political satire, and linguistic theory, punctuated by violence and gay sex. Burroughs sometimes uses language that mirrors cinematic techniques.
If there's a plot in here, it eluded me. Along the way the reader will encounter a secret agent, a pest exterminator, Scientology, the queen of England, and John Genet. "Exterminator!" is often outrageous and absurd; it feels at times like Burroughs is just writing to amuse himself.
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First of all this is a nowadays rarely seen cut-up collaboration between Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs, not to be confused with the later Burroughs publication "Exterminator! A Novel". This volume; The Exterminator, is a mixture of fiction, essay and poetry. This publication contains some of the wildest forgotten poety Burroughs never got full acknowledge for. The form and texture is a lot like "Minutes to Go" also penned by Burroughs/Gysin. If you are familliar with the works of Burroughs or Gysin, this is an exiting experience, but if you're not, well... I guess you don't wanna spend $45.00 on this rare volume.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a period piece, but man, what a period piece. Essentially a collection of short stories surrounding the "revolution" of the 1960s, Burroughs tears into the Military, the Right, the morality police, the War on Drugs, technology, and politics. Each story uses Burroughs's violent fantasy to tell a morality tale and bring each target of his ire into sharp relief before tearing it down utterly. Not as chilling as Naked Lunch or as sweeping as Cities of the Red Night. A good book for someone who is just getting started reading Burroughs.
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