Junky

Front Cover
"Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life."
In his debut novel, "Junky," Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and peddling heroin and other drugs in the 1950s into a work that reads like a field report from the underworld of post-war America. The Burroughs-like protagonist of the novel, Bill Lee, see-saws between periods of addiction and rehab, using a panoply of substances including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, paregoric (a weak tincture of opium) and goof balls (barbiturate), amongst others. As he navigates the crime-ridden streets of New York, trying to convince doctors to give him a prescription for opiates and doing his best to avoid the police's "pigeons" who are given a steady supply of heroin to inform on drug dealers, the narrator describes the physical experience of getting high, and the visceral need for another hit that haunts him every day. From the tenements of New York to the queer bars of New Orleans, "Junky" takes the reader into a world at once long-forgotten and still with us today. Burroughs's first novel is a cult classic and a critical part of his oeuvre.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

I listened to the audiobook, which is exceptionally well read. The book itself, although it wanes a bit toward the end, is a fascinating look at drug addict culture in New York City, New Orleans, and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - the.ken.petersen - LibraryThing

This book is semi autobiographical. It does make one wonder how a man who understood the life of an addict so well, could become one. This book walks a narrow line - and does it well. It does not ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

William S. Burroughs was born in 1914. His first published novel was the largely autobiographical Junky, which remains a classic depiction of the constant cycle of drug dependency, cures and relapses he was victim to for most of his life. In 1951, in a drunken William Tell stunt, he accidentally shot and killed his common-law wife. He is most famous for his use of the 'cut-up' technique of writing and the novel Naked Lunch. His other major works included Queer, Exterminator! The 'Nova Trilogy' (The Soft Machine, Nova Express and The Ticket That Exploded) and the 'Red Night Trilogy' (Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roads and The Western Lands). He died in 1997.

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