Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Cannonball Read 4: Junky by William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs' Junky is a semi- autobiographical novel that details the author's years of heroin addiction. We follow the protagonist Bill, a young man from a middle class, suburban background who travels to New York. There he experiments with, and becomes addicted to, heroin.

Burroughs is an engaging writer. Through his dry and laconic style he grimly recounts his experience with the drug, as well as its addicts and pushers. It's bleak and, aside from the occasional amusing observation or remark, almost entirely devoid of humour. It is the last book anyone with experience of heroin addiction - or heroin addicts - needs to read.

I have been putting off writing this review for over a week. There is little for me to say about the book other than I did not enjoy it much. Nonetheless it has me interested enough in Burroughs as a writer to check out more of his work in the future. Probably not the immediate future, however.


  1. bah, i'm a ginsbergian anyway.

    also, heroin is bad, mkay?

  2. It boggles the mind how many books detail the use of drugs and how bad they are. You would think you wouldn't need that many but everyone wants to give you their perpective.

    Maybe I should write that novel my college prof told me to write. The one about drug culture that doesn't condemn it.