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My Education: A Book of Dreams Hardcover – January 1, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The noted Burroughs himself is the central character of his first novel in seven years, revisiting the site of hundreds of his dreams, a landscape "where I get my best sets and characters." Numerous family members, friends and celebrities from the author's past appear-Mick Jagger, L. Ron Hubbard, Paul Bowles, Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac-and locales vary wildly, from Manhattan to Panama, ancient Rome to the planet Venus. Several types of dreams recur: "flying" dreams, "packaging" dreams, "breakfast dreams" about "difficulty in obtaining any sort of food." Images, too, recur-cats, pale young men, aliens, various doctors-though Burroughs fails to infuse them with any metaphorical meaning, thus bequeathing a tediousness to his terrain. Several graphic scenes, however, haunt this plotless book, such as one in which a man's face is bloodied by a broken bottle. Those familiar with the Burroughs canon will notice that the author's disjointed prose remains, but the satire has been replaced by a more plaintive voice. The strength of this memoir-like story comes from its 72-year-old narrator's struggles with grief, having outlived many of the people and events he so vividly recalls. "Remembering," says Burroughs, "brings the emptiness, the acutely painful awareness of irreparable loss."
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Similar in format to Jack Kerouac's Book of Dreams (1961), Burroughs's latest offering is a simple dream diary, interspersed with brief interpretive comments and presented in clear, accessible prose. Most of the dreams involve visits to the Land of the Dead, where nearly all of Burroughs's friends and enemies have long since vanished. Kerouac, Brion Gysin, Jean Genet, and hostile critic Anatole Broyard make frequent appearances, along with the author's parents; his wife, Joan; and his son, Billy. Burroughs himself has mellowed considerably. He avoids sex, deplores thievery, rails against gun fanatics, and shares his home with several pampered cats. Because the author's best work incorporates nightmares and hallucinations, his dream record is of genuine literary interest. However, readers unschooled in Beat lore will struggle with cryptic allusions to obscure people and events. This important work for fans will likely win few new converts. Recommended for larger fiction collections.
Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I liked how he used his dreams as education, and how he realized the importance of his dreams; a very Freudian quality. I think that this book represented finally coming to terms with your past, and accepting vicissitude (or change) that others tend to shy away from. This book is a very important addition to Burroughs' extensive body of work, and undoubtedly one of his best books. And often times it's overlooked because it's in the shadow of the Naked Lunch and the Soft Machine.
In My Education A Book Of Dreams the writing is really more accessible than ever and is offering an interesting view throught his dreams of the modern society, its symbols, its plots, its images. Burroughs intelligence is to give to the new generation important writings. This books has been published two years before Burroughs sad reaching to Heaven in 1997.
An essential book in his bibliography which I should recommend to everyone interested in this mysterious writer, so different from his well known principal books, so touching, so mysterious & so essential.
You can't expect to read a book like this in the same way that you would read an ordinary book. You must unfocus your mind, in the same way that you must unfocus your eyes to truly SEE some abstract art. Only then will the images begin to flow and transport you. That is because this book is a conscious act of magic, as the old magician knew when he crafted it....
See if the Land of the Dead doesn't start to seem very familiar to you. I know I immediately recognised the place he was describing. It is a place where the dead, the sleeping, the magical travellers all meet. That is why the landscape and architecture are such a tangle, why there are no clear distinctions between public and private places. It is a mad, mixed, consensus "reality." That is also why flight is possible there. You see, in such a place gravity isn't a law- it is an opinion....