I'm trying to get through reading Naked Lunch. I really am you know.
I had made a previous attempt to read the book fifteen or sixteen years ago. Having enjoyed On the Road by Jack Kerouac, I thought I'd give his contemporary William S. Burrough's a try. What you need to understand about young men between the ages of 19 to 23 is they go through a really pretentious phase. We want people to think we're intellectuals in our shaggy hair, scraggily beards, military jackets we bought at a thrift shop and being seen in public reading the works of Kerouac and Burrough.
Whether we are really reading it is beside the point. We want to give the impression that we're really, really deep. But in fact we're just really pretentious. I have pictures of me during that time period to prove my point.
Back to the story, I'm finding I'm having the same problem I had with Naked Lunch that I had fifteen or so years ago. I'm just finding it hard to follow and really dull.
My last attempt I merely got three or four pages into it with every intention of picking it up again. Fifteen or so years later, I'm about 70 pages further into the book and it's doing very little to keep my interest.
I just find the book to be an incoherent mess. Some of that is probably due to the fact Burroughs was most likely on many of the drugs such as heroin and morphine while writing the book. Or so he mentioned in the beginning.
I think I've always been more fascinated by Burrough's writing technique than the suject matter of his writing. What he would do is write an entire manuscript. Cut it up. And then take sentences and piece them back together to make an entirely new story. David Bowie adopted that method with his songwriting. I believe he started to employ the "Burrough's technique" with his album Diamond Dogs. Which is probably his most interesting album since it was initially intended to be a rock opera based on George Orwell's 1984.
I know some of you are probably saying "Who do you think you are?" and "How dare you say that?" and "Burrough's is a genius! Who the (insert expletive) are you to criticize him?" and "Who cares about your opinion anyways?"
Good point. And if you don't care about my opinion then why are you bothering reading this?
I'm not saying you should hate Naked Lunch. If you think it's brilliant, go on thinking it's brilliant. I think Burrough's writing techniques are brilliant. But I don't think the book is.
I just find it a big disjointed mess.