William S. Burroughs Was Better as a Movie Star Than as a Writer

More Life Off the Page Than On


I disagree
While the real Uncle Bill might agree with you on his writings, there's no escaping the power of his voice. Hal Wilner, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, REM, Laurie Anderson, Sonic Youth, SNL, Philip Glass, Lou Reed, John Giorno (come on, JOHN GIORNO!!!) dig the man, his ideas, his voice - jesus, that croaking Southern snoot, the grating scrape of boots sloughing off muck...good stuff. And "Naked Lunch" is fun to read!
I totally disagree. And if you find Naked Lunch hard to read you should listen to Borroughs read it himself.
Couldn't make it through Cities of the Red Night?

The man could turn a phrase like ...Dickens..."Nothing is true, everything is permitted" or Chandler "Something off about him, like an old refrigerator". He brought his own dry cynical twist to almost every line.

In addition to being a controlled enough writer that somehow the structure of his later novels became part of their theme.

I agree he is a pithy and engaging personality but his writing and his art shouldn't take a back seat to his personality.
The "nothing is true" quote is from Hassan i Sabbah.
Cities Of The Red Night is a masterpiece on all fronts and it's companion pieces (The Western Lands and The Place Of Dead Roads) are all worth reading over and over and over again. WSB is as important as Dickens and Joyce and a "better", more evocative and potent writer than any of the beats including Ginsburg at the height of his powers.