A legendary account of heroin addiction, drawn from William S. Burroughs’ own life.
In this complete and unexpurgated edition of one of the most powerful books about drug addiction, William S. Burroughs depicts the addict’s life: his hallucinations, his ghostly nocturnal wanderings, his strange sexuality, and his hunger for the needle. Following its hero from his Midwestern birthplace to New York, New Orleans, and Mexico City, Junky is a memorable and shocking demonstration of the junk equation: “Junk is not, like alcohol or weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”
Before his 1959 breakthrough, Naked Lunch, an unknown William S. Burroughs wrote Junk, his first book, a candid, eyewitness account of times and places that are now long gone. This book brings them vividly to life again; it is an unvarnished field report from the American postwar underground. For this definitive 50th-anniversary edition, eminent Burroughs scholar Oliver Harris has painstakingly re-created the author’s original text, word by word, from archival typescripts. Here for the first time are Burroughs’s own unpublished Introduction and an entire omitted chapter, along with many “lost” passages and auxiliary texts by Allen Ginsberg and others. Harris’s comprehensive Introduction reveals the composition history of Junk’s text and places its contents against a lively historical background.