Saturday, March 5, 2011
I'm adding another candle to my Time Machine reading challenge but it's not what you'd call 'happy'. Oh, my. What a depressing book.
This is not the first William S Burroughs that I've read. But I was a lot younger when I read the others and I was too sophisticated to be shocked. Nor did I have any sense that this story was relevant to my life in any way. Having seen more of life now, I'm so saddened by the reality of his account of life as an addict. Although, if he hadn't lived this way, the book couldn't have been written. And, I believe, it needed to be written. It still needs to be read. It's so easy for anyone to be dependent on drugs. Maybe easier today than in the 1950's. I couldn't find anything cool here. Probably should be required reading in schools.
Of course, the main topic is drug use and abuse. But I also got glimpsesof a time that I used to read about in the newspapers when I was much younger. The cities - New York, New Orleans - with much smaller populations and the definite feel of what we would think of as towns. Descriptions of police procedures and government policies which made me think of Elliot Ness. The lingo of the beats and hips - much of it remaining as part of our language heritage. Burroughs is a good story teller and one of America's great writers. It's just too bad that I feel I have to go have a bath after reading this book.
Next author up: Saul Bellow