Where am I, you ask? I’ve managed to finish about half of Naked Lunch. I know that isn’t very good progress. Let’s face it, I’ve been “reading” this book for over three weeks already, and I’m not even half finished. Here’s the deal. I don’t get it. I’m not stupid, or at least I don’t think I am, but I’m having trouble reading this one. There aren’t really any characters, or at least there aren’t any that stick around for more than one or two chapters. It’s almost like the book is just a series of random thoughts put to paper. It’s like Burroughs just wrote down whatever he happened to be thinking at the time, forgetting what he had previously written. Or not caring what he had previously written. This could be my most difficult task on the list. I really don’t care what happens in this book, if anything actually does happen that is.
One thing about Naked Lunch is the vulgarity. Now myself, I’m not really offended by anything. Bad language, graphic situations, whatever, it doesn’t really bother me at all. But, it does surprise me. This book was written in 1959, and the use of language, be it ‘shit’ ‘fuck’ or the crown jewel of cuss words, ‘cunt,’ they’re all used constantly throughout the book. Even the subject matter itself is quite offside, especially for 1959. It seems to me that most of the book is about bad drug experiences, mostly with heroin, and what the characters will do to get their next score, and what they experience as a result of that score. At least that’s what I’m reading. I could be wrong, because quite frankly I don’t know what is going on most of the time. But these aren’t topics I expect to see in a novel from 1959. I think more about ‘Leave it to Beaver’, and those types of shows. Nobody swears, nobody is a Communist, nobody does drugs, nobody does anything in fact. The Clevers slept in twin beds, and nobody used a toilet for crying out loud. Of course that wasn’t reality, and this book probably is. Or at least it’s close to reality than the adventures of Wally and the Beav.