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Call Me Burroughs: A Life Audiobook, by Barry Miles Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Barry Miles Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9781611137613
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Fifty years ago Norman Mailer asserted, “William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius.” Few since have taken such literary risks, developed such individual political or spiritual ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media. Burroughs wrote novels, memoirs, technical manuals, and poetry. He painted, made collages, took thousands of photographs, produced hundreds of hours of experimental recordings, acted in movies, and recorded more CDs than most rock bands. Burroughs was the original cult figure of the beat movement, and with the publication of his novel Naked Lunch, which was originally banned for obscenity, he became a guru to the 60s youth counterculture. In Call Me Burroughs, biographer and beat historian Barry Miles presents the first full-length biography of Burroughs to be published in a quarter century—and the first one to chronicle the last decade of Burroughs’ life and examine his long-term cultural legacy.

Written with the full support of the Burroughs estate and drawing from countless interviews with figures like Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Burroughs himself, Call Me Burroughs is a rigorously researched biography that finally gets to the heart of its notoriously mercurial subject.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In Call Me Burroughs, his authoritative new biography, Barry Miles avoids unduly romanticizing Burroughs’ outlaw status…Nor, wisely, does Miles minimize the depth and tenacity of Burroughs’ addictions…Miles’ book is emphatically not, however, the familiar story of a gifted writer’s substance-soaked decline, probably for the simple reason that Burroughs’ genius for surreal black comedy tempered with hard, practical thought never deserted him…Although he occasionally simplifies Burroughs’ story…[Miles’] wealth of detail will make this the go-to biography for many years to come.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The Burroughs of Miles’ 600-plus pages is both ghastlier and more impressive than previous models, sliding through the world like a cross between Sam Spade and Flat Stanley.”


  • Call Me Burroughs: A Life rightly deserves to be called definitive, for there are only a finite number of hours in a lifetime, and Miles has nabbed pretty much every one of Burroughs’…The chronological design of the narrative is a blessing, taming an unruly life, and there are choice tidbits throughout…Though he doesn’t delve deeply into Burroughs’ art, Miles squares it to the overall picture.”

    Barnes&, editorial review

  • Call Me Burroughs is riddled with...weird anecdotes laced with gallows humor, bizarre coincidences, and profane punch lines. It’s a massive undertaking made complicated by Burroughs’ peripatetic lifestyle and rampant drug use. To say he was a difficult man to pin down is understatement, but Miles is up to the task.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Miles…puts it all on paper with aplomb and deadpan wit, showing how the gross-out surrealism of Burroughs’s fiction flowed from the lurid creativity of everyday life.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “On the centennial of Burroughs’ birth, accomplished biographer Miles turns in a torrentially detailed, explicit, and dramatic chronicle of Burroughs’ wild life as outlaw, social critic, writer, performer, and artist…[A] forthrightly definitive biography.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Miles aims to capture the protean genius who wrote, drew, photographed, acted, and made recordings on his way to becoming one of the hottest figures on the Sixties counterculture scene.”

    Library Journal

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, January 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Barry Miles has been involved for years with Beat literature as a scholar and participant. Among his books are The Beat Hotel and biographies of Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 175 audiobooks.