After fighting my way through William Burroughs drug addled rant of a book Naked Lunch i was pretty surprised to find that his debut novel actually… well… made sense. Junky (or Junkie) is a semi-autobiographical drug memoir with no real direction.
William Lee (on ongoing pseudonym used by Burroughs) recounts his experiences buying, selling and using a plethora of narcotics and strings the incidents together with a very dry, laconic explanation of what transpired before, during and after each binge. Among said escapades are fisticuffs with his wife, homosexual encounters, fights with a cat and robbing from drunks passed out on the subway (or “lush-rolling” as they refer to it in the text.)
Junkie was initially considered “unpublishable” before it was released in 1953, launching what became Burrough’s iconic career as a author of the bizarre, offensive, experimental and obscene. Today he’s often thought of as one of the most important writers of the 20th century, which is an impressive notion when one considers that to most readers Burrough’s books don’t make a lick of sense.
will you be offended? There’s a pretty good chance. Junky isn’t as “out there” as some other book of the week picks, but it is what it is: a memoir of drug abuse and lawlessness.