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Extended Audio Sample Naked Lunch: The Restored Text Audiobook, by William S. Burroughs Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (32,295 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William S. Burroughs Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2009 ISBN: 9781455192236
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Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. Exerting its influence on authors like Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, and William Gibson; on the relationship between art and obscenity; and on the shape of music, film, and media generally, it is one of the books that redefined not just literature but American culture.

Naked Lunch is the unnerving tale of Bill Lee, addicted to hustlers and narcotics, and his monumental descent into Hell. His journey takes him from New York to Tangiers, as he runs from the police and searches for a place to buy and take drugs. Ultimately, he enters the hallucinatory fantasy world of the “Interzone,” a nightmarish urban wasteland where individual freedom confronts the forces of totalitarianism.

Reedited by Burroughs scholar Barry Miles and Burroughs’ longtime editor James Grauerholz, Naked Lunch: The Restored Text corrects errors present in previous editions and incorporates Burroughs’ notes on the text, several essays he wrote about the book, an appendix of new material, and alternate drafts from the original manuscript. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume is a valuable and fresh experience of this classic of our culture.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Burroughs possesses a special literary gift…[Naked Lunch] takes a coldly implacable look at the dark side of our nature.”

    New York Times

  • “Ever since Naked Lunch…Williams S. Burroughs has been ordained as America’s most incendiary artist.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “William S. Burroughs’ classic tale…is invigorated by this enthusiastic reading. Mark Bramhall offers a professional performance peppered with every trick of the actor’s trade to make it a resonating effort. He approaches the work with such energy that the story seems like a new entity, freshly relevant and timely. Listeners will lose themselves in the journey of junkie William Lee as he makes his way from bizarre destination to even more bizarre destination in this unforgettable novel.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “If Naked Lunch is one of your favorites from the Beat Generation, you MUST, MUST listen to this audio performance! Hallucinatory visions will fill listeners’ minds as narrator Mark Bramhall tells the maddeningly fragmented story of drug addict William Lee, who moves in and out of various states of consciousness as he flees the police, taking to the road and eventually landing in Mexico. Bramhall deftly delivers the nonlinear vignettes that comprise this basically plotless novel, creating a narrative drive that will keep listeners tuned in…The only one who might have done a better job of narrating is Burroughs himself.”

    AudioFile

  • “A great, an essential novel…[It] prefigures much that has occurred in history, the popular media, and high and low culture in the last four decades.”

    The Commercial Appeal

  • “He was 20th-century drug culture’s Poe, its Artaud, its Baudelaire. He was the prophet of the literature of pure experience, a phenomenologist of dread…Burroughs had the scary genius to turn the junk wasteland into a parallel universe, one as thoroughly and obsessively rendered as Blake’s.”

    Salon

  • “Mark Bramhall’s powerful, fully vocalized performance is searing. The characters, with a multitude of accents and a variety of disorders, are individualized memorably and in keeping with the intent of the text. The novel, turns the profane into art. The reading turns the squalid into richness of subject matter. Not for everybody, but an important classic, nevertheless, and a superb narration.”

    SoundCommentary.com

  • “William was a shootist. He shot like he wrote—with extreme precision and no fear.”

    Hunter S. Thompson

  • “A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire.”

    Newsweek

  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Judy | 2/20/2014

    " I did not finish. Don't know how to say I started and gave up on a book here. Can anyone advise me? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Micki | 2/18/2014

    " Just: drugs. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristen | 2/3/2014

    " I had to read this for a Psychopharmacology course. I absolutely hated the experience of reading this book. I am pretty open-minded, but the vulgar and obscene imagery was very difficult to get through. However, reading this book did illustrate its purpose that illicit psychotropic drugs can really mess up a person... especially authors. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dale | 2/2/2014

    " Being neither an addict nor a user (nor a pedophile), maybe I'm not qualified to read, much less comment on Naked Lunch. There were some passages that were brilliant, but most of it, well, not so much. But at least now I can say I read (and finished - somehow) Burroughs' masterpiece. I just hope no one asks me why, because I'm asking myself the same thing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Haylee | 1/30/2014

    " Everyone knows I love the beats. Ginsberg is my idol and Kerouac changed my life. But I'm going to be very honest here, this book is disgusting. It makes no sense, is boring, and is disgusting. There I said it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brett | 1/29/2014

    " Man, props to Burroughs for writing the first book that forced me to quit due to obscenity. Hassan's Rumpus Room (which includes several extremely brutal descriptions of sodomizing a young boy) is one of the most reprehensible things to ever be put on paper. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 1/14/2014

    " Weird!!! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Anne | 1/13/2014

    " I know should have tried harder to read this, but I just couldn't force myself "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cara | 12/23/2013

    " Didn't actually finish the book. Couldn't do it. I made it about halfway and decided that the visualization I got in my head were too disturbingly disgusting. Too much for me to handle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Andrew Singletary | 12/18/2013

    " Made it to page 65 and decided this was not for me. Too disgusting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tyler Lutz | 11/29/2013

    " weeeiiiiirrrddddd "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed Burnman | 11/21/2013

    " Bullshit! Extreamly vivid imagery of every type of depraved pornographic bullshit an opium adelled genius could describe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashton | 10/28/2013

    " I am having a bit of a difficult time understanding what's going on but I like how it's twisting my brain in knots. Hopefully I can untangle them when I reach the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kirsten | 7/6/2013

    " Hated it. Abandoned it at around 50 pages in. Pointlessly foul. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John Rachel | 3/15/2013

    " One good thing came out of this rambling, drug-fueled ode to chaos and immersion in psychotropic paranoia. That was the name "Steely Day" for a remarkable 70s band. In the novel it was the name of a dildo. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alice | 11/17/2012

    " a classic! yuck. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Bianca Eichler | 9/29/2012

    " I have an English literature degree from a top uni and I am an English teacher but I have to freely admit that I did not get this book. I am now reading junky which is fantastic but this had to go down as one of the most overrated tracts of drivel of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ns | 9/14/2012

    " A rough read. I can now, however, understand the comparisons to A Modest Proposal. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Audrey | 6/15/2012

    " I did read most of this book because I felt it was an important and influential book of the 20th Century. However, I hated it!!! It is very disturbing, as I believe it was meant to be. Not my kind of literature. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christine Addison | 11/7/2011

    " Hated it. Don't even bother... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yong Xun | 10/30/2011

    " I like anything that surprises me. This surprised me. Compared to the other beat writers, it was more interesting. By the time I got to the ape surgeon in South America, I said... wow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jared Zehm | 10/1/2011

    " What can be said here ~ if you've heard of it, if you are marginally interested in it ~ read it. A life changing read. Truly bizzarre. One of the most raw satires that's ever been produced. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shelby | 8/27/2011

    " Because it would be rude not to give it any stars. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dave | 5/16/2011

    " Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs (Grove Press 1959)(Fiction) is about a drug addict by a drug addict? A classic of what? Nevermind...2/10, finished 5/16/11. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross | 5/14/2011

    " One of the quintessential novels of American decadence, perversion, and intellectual violence. It is without equal in it's descent into deviance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yahya | 5/8/2011

    " Fragmented vignettes in no order whatsoever. You could start reading it from the middle to the beginning then from the end to the middle and it won't matter. To me, it was a drag reading it, but nevertheless it is a 20th century classic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andy | 4/8/2011

    " I liked the theory behind it more than actually reading it, the cut-up technique can get tedious in it's anti-structure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Benjamin | 4/7/2011

    " Brief passages of genius that are worth reading even through all the muck and slim of the drug addled hallucinations. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gavin | 4/7/2011

    " this is a plot-less rag of paper... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 M | 4/4/2011

    " This is part of the Times Best list. I totally disagree. It is just awful. It consists of a series of ramblings about drugs, murder and sex. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Annie | 3/30/2011

    " Is Burroughs a genius or a junky who writes like a genius? At this point, I don't think I care. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 3/28/2011

    " One of my favorite books, enjoy the movie but go to the true masterpiece afterwards which is the text. "

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About the Author
Author William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs (1914–1997) was an American author, painter, and spoken-word performer of wide-ranging cultural influence. A postmodernist and a key figure of the beat generation, he focused his art on a relentless subversion of the conventions of modern American society, as reflected in his often darkly humorous and sardonic satire. He wrote numerous novels and novellas, as well as six short-story collections and four collections of essays.

About the Narrator

Mark Bramhall has won eighteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been a finalist for the Audiobook Publishers Association’s prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has been named by Publishers Weekly and AudioFile magazine among their “Best Voices of the Year” in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is also an award-winning actor whose acting credits include off-Broadway, regional, and many Los Angeles venues as well as television, animation, and feature films. He has taught and directed at the American Academy of Dramatic Art.