Junky: The Definitive Text of 'Junk' (Penguin Modern Classics)

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9780141189826: Junky: The Definitive Text of 'Junk' (Penguin Modern Classics)

A shocking exposé of the desperate subculture surrounding heroin addiction, William S. Burroughs' Junky is edited with an introduction by Oliver Harris in Penguin Modern Classics.

Burroughs' first novel, a largely autobiographical account of the constant cycle of drug dependency, cures and relapses, remains the most unflinching, unsentimental account of addiction ever written. Through junk neighbourhoods in New York, New Orleans and Mexico City, through time spent kicking, time spent dealing and time rolling drunks for money, through junk sickness and a sanatorium, Junky is a field report (by a writer trained in anthropology at Harvard) from the American post-war drug underground. Nurtured into being by fellow Beat Generation guru Allen Ginsberg, Junky is a cult classic that has influenced generations of writers with its raw, sparse and unapologetic tone. This definitive edition painstakingly recreates the author's original text word for word.

In work and in life, William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) expressed a constant subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. To escape those conditions, and in particular his treatment as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1950, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognised as one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine.

If you enjoyed Junky, you might like Burroughs' Exterminator!, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Reads today as fresh and unvarnished as it ever has'

Will Self

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Review:

"Reads today as fresh and unvarnished as it ever has."-Will Self on "Junky" "Of all the Beat Generation writers, William S. Burroughs was the most dangerous. . . . He was anarchy's double agent, an implacable enemy of conformity and of all agencies of control-from government to opiates."--"Rolling Stone" "The most important writer to emerge since World War II. . . . For his sheer visionary power, and for his humor, I admire Burroughs more than any living writer, and most of those who are dead."--J.G. Ballard "William was a Shootist. He shot like he wrote--with extreme precision and no fear."--Hunter S. Thompson "A book of great beauty . . . . Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." --Norman Mailer "Ever since "Naked Lunch" . . . Burroughs has been ordained America's most incendiary artist."--"Los Angeles Times" "Burroughs voice is hard, derisive, inventive, free, funny, serious, poetic, indelibly American."--Joan Didion "In 1953, at the height of American conformism and anti-communist hysteria, William S. Burroughs published "Junky," an irresistible strung-out ode to the joys and perversities of drug addiction. . . . "Junky" eschews allegory for scrupulous realism. . . . More than anything else, "Junky" reads like a field guide to the American underworld."--"The Daily Beast" "Retro-cool, like something Don Draper might find in the Greenwich Village pad of that reefer-smoking painter he was seeing in the first season of Mad Men."--"Las Vegas Weekly" on "Naked Lunch" "A creator of grim fairy tales for adults, Burroughs spoke to our nightmare fears and, still worse, to our nightmare longings. . . . And more than any other postwar wordsmith, he bridged generations; popularity in the youth culture is greater now than during the heady days of the Beats."--"The Los Angeles Times Book Review" "Burroughs seems to revel in a new medium . . . a medium totally fantastic, spaceless, timeless, in which the normal sentence is fractured, the cosmic tries to push its way through the bawdry, and the author shakes the reader as a dog shakes a rat."--Anthony Burgess on "The Ticket That Exploded" "In Burroughs' hands, writing reverts to acts of magic, as though he were making some enormous infernal encyclopedia of all the black impulses and acts that, once made, would shut the fiends away forever."--"The New York Times" on "The Ticket That Exploded" "Macabre, funny, reverberant, grotesque."--"The New York Review of Books" on "Nova Express" "Hypnotic; I wish I could quote, but it takes several pages to get high on this stuff. . . . Funny . . . outrageous along the lines of Burroughs's well-established scatology. He can think of the wildest parodies of erotic exuberance and invent the weirdest places for demonstrating them."--"Harper's Magazine" on "Nova Express" "One of the most interesting pieces of radical fiction we have."--"The Nation" on "The Soft Machine" "In Burroughs' hands, writing reverts to acts of magic, as though he were making some enormous infernal encyclopedia of all the black impulses and acts that, once made, would shut the fiends away forever."--"The New York Times" on "The Wild Boys"

About the Author:

William S. Burroughs was born on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. To escape those conditions, and in particular his treatment as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1950, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognised as one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the twentieth century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died in 1997.

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