Ann Beat, “Junkie Culture ,” excerpted from Books and Bookmen, November 1963.

1960s: Days of Rage

Norman Mailer describes Burroughs as ‘the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed of genius.’ An odd offshoot of the adding machine family, he lives in a squalid Paris room where he appeared to the Observer as ‘grumpy’ but to the Sunday Times as ‘gentle and courteous’. His books, THE NAKED LUNCH, THE SOFT MACHINE, NOVIA EXPRESS, and THE TICKET THAT EXPLODED, are published by Olympia Press, Paris, but liable to be seized if imported to Britain (although B&B receives review copies without trouble). Extracts from these books will be published in late March or April under the title DEAD FINGERS TALK (Calder, 25s). Man, this guy Bill Burroughs is really square. You know something? He’s produced a book specially for the British. Can you imagine anything more philistine? His downfall started last Fall when some smartipants young British publisher named John Calder got Bill…

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