Friday, February 25, 2005


Which is kind of like, The Elephant Man Gets a Tan. Or something.

By which I mean "restoring" a book like this is akin to putting clean towels in a torture chamber. Adding a dust ruffle to a guillotine.

The point being: Naked Lunch is such an oddly constructed book, the word "novel" hardly begins to describe it. And any hope of making it more coherent seems a) a futile undertaking, and b) utterly beside the point.

Is there an actual plot? I'm still not quite sure, though I've read the book four or five times in the past two decades, in various states of consciousness (including clean and sober). I only recently came across this latest edition, which was published in March of 2003.

As far as I can tell, the restoration is limited to moving the prologue to the end, adding a few missing pages, nothing substantial. But as the original book was slapped together in a drug-induced rush, I guess it makes sense to attempt to reshuffle it back to the way it should have been in the first place. Which again conjures all manner of oddball comparisions.

To this day I know of maybe three people who share my belief that this is a truly brilliant and important piece of writing. I've since given up doing so, but many times I have tried to persuade my more open-minded peers to take a gander; I was never successful in converting anyone to my way of thinking.

There were many interesting and hilarious episodes, however, wherein I would watch someone begin perusing the book. The look of (take your pick) astonishment, disgust, horror, etc. that erupted on said person's visage had me momentarily wondering if I might be enrolled in a Stella Adler workshop entitled "Sick to Your Stomach 101."

I noticed this funny observation in a customer review on "...there is no other book quite like it, but squares should stay away."



Blogger MsHellion said...

Doesn't scare me a bit. I wish more writers had the balls to be that artfully "way out."

10:35 AM  

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