Book #79

The Finger by William S. Burroughs

'He felt a sudden deep pity for the finger joint that lay there on the dresser, a few drops of blood gathering around the white bone.'

A deliberately severed finger, a junky's Christmas miracle and a Tangier con-artist, among others, feature in these hallucinogenic sketches and stories from the infamous Beat legend.

Many years ago I gave up on Naked Lunch. With these stories, I fared slightly better, becoming drawn into the world of the hopeless and feeling disgust and sympathy as appropriate.

Most of our narrators are struggling under the control of addiction, which can make the stories seem hazy, odd, and perhaps unreliable. I was confused, exhilarated, and fluctuating between happy and sad almost all at once.

I’m glad to have read this one; perhaps smaller chunks of Burroughs are what I needed to wipe the negative memory of Naked Lunch from my brain. Still, I have never been quite able to get to grips with the Beat stuff.