Word virus : the William S. Burroughs reader

by William S. Burroughs

Paperback, 1998




New York : Grove Press, c1998.


An anthology by a major literary figure of this century. It includes an account of his brief career as a cockroach exterminator and an essay in homage to Jack Kerouac.

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LibraryThing member datrappert
Reasons Burroughs was a great writer:

* He wrote the truth, at least as he knew it, but it is a truth most of us should agree with.
* He knew how to write. When he wants, he can write clear descriptive prose that Fitzgerald or Steinbeck would have been proud of. When using his cut-up method, the
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words still convey a meaning that I think is pretty clear to a reader who is willing to just let them drift over him.
* He knew a lot about a lot. It is amazing how much knowledge he drags into his works, and even through his very personal lens, it shows a lot of understanding.
* He can be hysterically funny.
* He can be helpful. See the guide to Doing Easy extracted from The Exterminator. It was my favorite part of that book and it should truly be published as a self-help guide.

Yes, he could also write some pretty extreme stuff--particularly if you are homophobic. Get over it. Also if you're a drugophobe.

Grauerholz and Silverberg have done us all a favor by collecting these extracts from Burroughs' oeuvre. Grauerholz's biographical essays that begin each part are well written and help explain the texts that follow.

Don't be afraid of Burroughs. He can no longer be in a room with you. He can no longer want to play William Tell. Now, you can just sit back and enjoy his genius.
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