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To read Burroughs, at least as I see it, you must first surrender your linguistic logic. If you come to his work and cling ferociously to your own reading and language habits, you will come away battered and numb. Surrender your habits at the door, and enter the linguistic alterworld naked, and then you will begin to experience the implacable motion and vitality of the world in his books, on his terms; or, rather, on the terms of a mind that rented space in Burroughs’ head for decades. If this all sounds too esoteric, or just plain stupid, I apologize. But it won’t help and it won’t change anything. Burroughs’ novels not only articulate lives that are in altered states, his very language creates an altered state. It is profound, and very odd, but it is also very refreshing. Zanies, drop outs, addicts, aliens, landscapes that are a marriage of Kafka, the Sopranos and the Marx Brothers, these are some of the incredible elements of Burroughs’ city-planet. Wonderful stuff, if you can take crazy. And great literature, even if you can’t.

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December 2, 2013 · 4:09 am

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