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William S. Burroughs

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Junky by William S. Burroughs
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 17 February 2012

Junky is a first person account by an unnamed narrator, yet from the auto (or semi-auto) biographical nature of the narrative, we can assume it's Burroughs himself speaking to us. He brings us along, through seedy apartments, subway trains and strange encounters; zombie-like. On a looping dark quest for the next hit, the stronger hit, the better hit, the final hit.

The plot is simple enough to follow and though not exciting, it is engaging all the same. We become part of the narrative, falling under the spell, even though we want to leave we feel that if only we hang on we may find some reward. Junky is a downward spiral however, not a road to recovery. A journey to and through hell.

In Junky, all rehabilitation is temporary and all clean redemption is fleeting. The characters and surroundings disperse. Acquaintances only serve to get us to the next hit. Round and round we go, down the whirlpool until the extent of the horror is finally realised.

Told in one long strand with no chapters to break up the story, Junky is stylistically gritty with a voice straight from the streets, including all the appropriate jargon.

The most intriguing thing to this book was that although it will not shock audiences today the way if did when first released, the book has not dated at all with all the settings have a timeless quality.

Perhaps the definitive book on drug addiction (certainly a pioneer), neither condoning nor condemning, simply telling.