Naked Lunch


Inspiration to read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs courtesy of my dear friend Charlie, from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, who about this book said:

I started reading it when I got home, and to tell you the truth, I don't know what the guy [Burroughs] is talking about

which I think sums it up quite nicely. I wanted to understand what Charlie was being influenced by when he wrote all his letters. I feel like when you read the same books as someone else you are very much connected with them, even though the two of you may have came to wildly different conclusions after having read them. So if I ever re-read The Perks of Being a Wallflower I hope to have an increased understanding from having read the prerequisite literature; and in the same way, Perks had primed me for reading this book. That being said, the rabbit hole of reading prerequisites is effectively never-ending, and thus I'm not fully committed to it. I try to jump around, reading books of different subject matter to keep things fresh.

This book took me an incredibly long time to finish. I had to take a break halfway through and read The Handmaid's Tale because I was losing my drive to continue reading every day. I really like having to take the subway to work because it forces me to read, it's time that has to be spent one way or another, so I have no choice but to make the most of it. The days where I'm hesitant to continue my daily streak are indicators that something isn't quite right; either the book isn't working, I didn't get enough sleep, or something else is bothering me. I find having this type of sanity check to base my current mood off of to be really useful. This book just seemed to drag on and on and I found it almost impossible to keep track of what was happening. Trying to comprehend the [lack of] drug induced writings of a heroin addict is truly a dubious task. Unlike traditional stories, this book offers very little in terms of patterns, structure, or timeline to help guide the reader. Which resulted in little retention of the actual content; if there was ever an overarching story, I lost it.

Yet, while the book doesn't say much outright, bits and pieces have surely left their mark on me—and by mark, I mean that on numerous occasions this book left me feeling uncomfortable in a way that lingered. In the end, I was made to reconsider my thoughts on heroin addiction and expanded my worldview into some of the darker corners of reality, which is a positive—I guess.