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


Author: William S. Burroughs

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi

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

The plot is simple enough to follow and though not overly exciting, emersing all the same. We become part of the narrative, falling under the spell and even though we want to leave, we feel that if only we hang on we may find some reward. However this is a downward spiral, not a road to recovery but a journey to and through hell. All rehabiliation is temporary and all clean redemption is fleeting. The characters and surroundings disperse. Aquaintences 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 or parts to break up the story, Junky is stylistically gritty with a voice straight from the streets (with 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.