[EPUB] ✸ Cities of the Red Night Author William S. Burroughs – Dolove.info
There are times when you know something is probably good and you know others think its probably good and for some reason, you should probably read that something but no matter how many times you try, you just can t ever get over the mind fuck that ensues And yes, there are good mind fucks but sometimes, there are also bad mind fucks This one is a terrible mind fuck The premise is awesome lots of people are dying because of an epidemic plague what have you and some queer stuff takes place it is Burroughs after all and then there aspects of time travel and alien beings Great, fantastic I can t wait to read this book Sign me up That s what I thought the first time I tried to read this book, back in 2009 CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT is one of those books you really must read in spurts It s just so fucking dense and confusing that, I feel, it s less confusing to take one step at a time, or in my case, one day at a time I tried to read it for a month I couldn t After about 200 pages, I couldn t do it any The mind fuckery was oozing into my social life and friends said I was starting to look glum and down and sad, all for no apparent reason That s because they didn t realize know I was reading CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT I was too busy thinking about the damn book and asking myself why it was so damn hard to understand.Then I thought is it maybe because he s British But then I realized that was a stupid notion since there are plenty of other British authors I know and love So I guess I tried to read this again, this time December 2011 and yeah, I would read this during bathroom breaks over the holidays and yes, I even started from the beginning, again.This time around though, I found myself liking the beginning a whole lot , maybe because I already sort of knew what to expect But yeah, I read about 10 pages a day and kept at it Until sometime in January, where it just got to reading seeming like a chore which is a problem really since I think reading is usually fun But if I dread going to the bathroom since it is in the bathroom that I forced myself to read CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT then something is wrong.And that s when I decided to toss the book Or, I guess, erm pass it off as a present to some friends Poor bastards.Edit As it turns out, Burroughs isn t even British Extremely strange with loads of extraneous jabber tossed into the mix about naked boys, rectal mucus, and the like The narrative wasn t terrible but it bounced around so much it was nearly impossible to follow Some of Burroughs s autobiographical stuff is phenomenal i.e Junky Queer But this opener to a series is just too jumbled to be great. An Opium Addict Is Lost In The Jungle Young Men Wage War Against An Empire Of Mutants A Handsome Young Pirate Faces His Execution And The World S Population Is Infected With A Radioactive Epidemic These Stories Are Woven Together In A Single Tale Of Mayhem And Chaos In The First Novel Of The Trilogy Continued In The Place Of Dead Roads And The Western Lands, William Burroughs Sharply Satirizes Modern Society In A Poetic And Shocking Story Of Sex, Drugs, Disease And Adventure WSB doing bathhouse steampunk a cut up tale of boys, pirates and cowboys, queens, ejaculating weapons and wangs, private dicks and drugs all set in cities, deserts and jungles situated at various point in time and reality There isn t much in the way of character development, most of the players are adolescent in form as well as sexuality Theatrical throughout to the point of sometimes becoming a gay burlesque within a gay burlesque Regardless the chemical additives running in his veins, Mr Burroughs clearly had a swarm of horny young men infesting his brain Lest his interior world gnaw through the skin to break insect against the shores of reality he would be the first to admit heroin is an imperfect cell WSB writes what he must His text opens the white of the page like a flowering asshole Compared to the rest this effort is less impressive than others, sometimes it stinks Other times it is some good shit.I understand you don t read this sort of thing expecting to make perfect sense of it all Still, what exactly is a thermal jockstrap Superb I have long been a devotee of the prose of William Burroughs This is perhaps his best novel and also one of his most accessible works There are passages near the end that are reminiscent of The Soft Machine in which the gestures of language and the images they contain or express have been fractured and reassembled in odd and confusing ways But those passages are incidental to the main thrust of the text and are wholly framed by it, and the main text is mostly clear, extremely well written, heavy with symbols, allusions and arcane patterns, saturated with irony This marvel of a novel is libertarian in its politics and frenzied in its development, yet ultimately there is a cool and devastating intelligence controlling all. I loved Cities of the Red Night, as well as the Red Night trilogy as a whole I have been through the trilogy twice now, and plan on reading them all at least one time When discussing literature with friends, I always tell them I think Bill Burroughs should be ranked up there with the greatest of American writers and that, if it weren t for the level of homophobia in this country, he would be considered the American James Joyce I was an honors student in a university English program, and I don t think William Burroughs was even mentioned in any of the American Literature surveys I took If he was mentioned, it was only in passing This is an unforgivable oversight and a huge injustice for a writer of such talent and vision You don t have to take my word for it that Burroughs was an unparalleled genius Research the matter and discover for yourself how well he was thought of by such luminaries as Norman Mailer and Allen Ginsberg Before tackling this novel, or any others in the trilogy, I recommend you find some sample pages on the interwebs and determine whether this is your cup of tea I say this because the style of these books is very confusing It is like stream of consciousness in that it jumps around a lot There is lots of fantasy and sequences that can only be described as dreamlike, and you ll be hard pressed to tell exactly what is happening at any given moment in any of these 3 novels If you are uncomfortable with any book whose plot line doesn t follow a standard linear progression, then you aren t likely to enjoy this book If you are prepared for some mental calisthenics, then read on Cities of the Red Night defies categorization Is it sci fi Is it fantasy Is it the drug addled ramblings of a loon and an outcast at that One thing for certainit is weird And deliciously so I loved it. A Warning of the Faustian Decline to Come..and it has already started I m not sure why but this was a really enjoyable book to read over the summer Read this during the summer of 2011 Many criticisms have been levelled at this book However, I feel the reviewer of December 2, 2005 on in particular has hit the nail on the head It is not easy reading and is definitely not for the faint hearted or prudish As the above reviewer points out, this trilogy is for thinking people and while Burroughs devastating exposure of human lust and depravity may turn some people off his work, to my mind he is much open and honest in his assessments of the human condition So if people are turned off by its homoerotic lewdness or find other aspects of the narrative repulsive such as all the hanging scenes which are in fact an exaggerated indictment of capital punishment which he was avidly against , that s fine, but to my mind they are missing out on seeing the bigger picture of Burroughs message and warning to Manking the real messages and themes underlying Burroughs work.First of all, know what an artist is trying to do Some artists like to shock because that is the only way they will get their points across to the lay audience This might seem like a really inappropriate example but remember the killer from Seven played by Kevin Spacey he said in one of the closing scenes of the film that, sometimes you have to hit people over the head with a sledgehammer for them to notice or something to that effect well Burroughs was all about doing this in a figurative sense.At times it reads like a post holocaust divine comedy, at other times like a jump through time pulp novel and at other times like a moralistic diatribe Each of the cities corresponds to one in which Burroughs was firmly ensconced for some considerable length of time I m pretty sure that at least two of the real cities referred to obliquely in the text are Mexico City remember Joan Vollmer Adams, Burroughs wife, and the notorious William Tell incident and Tangiers where Kerouac and Ginsy helped typed up his Naked Lunch novel The third city could either be Paris where he lived for a while with other beat writers like Gregory Corso in the Beat Hotel or likely New York City.All in all though, this book, in my opinion, is pure art at its best challenging, confrontational, notorious even and above all, absolutely visceral and riveting reading I think it may have been Burroughs himself who once said, it is the job of the artist to raise people s consciousness Burroughs obviously sees humanity heading full speed towards a gaping abyss and seems to be warning us that we may be on auto pilot towards our own destruction unless we dramatically change gears right now.The final trilogy by Burroughs is excellent The only book by Burroughs that I possibly like better than this one is the final instalment, The Western Lands, which is unbelievably good. Virus 23 is a virulent and fatal disease which causes sexual frenzies and violent death and is threatening to break out into a pandemic The virus has been latent since pre history, before the existence of white skinned peoples, caused by a meteorite black hole incident in the Gobi Desert, where peaceful townships suffered mutations when the radiation triggered the virus and turned paradise into The Cities of the Red Night.Burroughs, in an uncharacteristically mostly coherent vein, adopts mostly linear twin narratives that coalesce to reveal the history and purpose of the virus, whilst explicating and indulging in his usual quack theories, illicit chemical ingestion and homoerotic sexual practices at every step along the way In one story, a gang of libertarian pirates in the first years of the 18th century, modeled on the historical figure of Captain Mission, establish a free city in Panama and plot to offer their Articles to the whole world In the second we get a contemporary detective story, with Clem Snide on the trail of ritualistic sex murderers with an apocalyptic agenda Cities of the Red Night is the first part of a trilogy I have read the third part too, The Western Lands, so I know that it is a loose trilogy of beliefs and concepts rather than a fictional trilogy.Nobody writes like Burroughs, nor about the things he writes about I am not suggesting that anyone else should, because there is something so insane and awful about what he doesChildren s books against a Bosch backgroundis a good self description which appears in this novel.But there is no question that he is an intense, powerful writer, in small doses at least With this novel he actually has some success sustaining a comprehensive narrative for once, but in truth things somewhat implode in the last third, despite the astral projections and time traveling devices that are adopted to pull the threads together I read it before, twenty years ago now, and before reading it again I wondered if I had only imagined that the ending was something of a mess, but no, it really is something of a mess Still, he almost pulls it off, and what s not to like about a writer that can come on all sensible and didactic while talking crap like thisThe only thing not prerecorded in a prerecorded universe are the prerecordings themselves The copies can only repeat themselves word for word A virus is a copy.You gotta love him. An amazing roller coaster ride through the unconscious The main plot lines a pirate story, a detective story, a sci fi fantasy story run parallel at first, but frustrate any hopes of proceeding in a straightforward fashion they get and confused, hazy, and collapse into one another, until eventually you have no idea what you re reading But this is misdirection, and here lies Burroughs genius even as you try to make sense of the inexplicable, he is painting in your peripheral vision an image of the greatest beauty, colors glowing and shining and pulsating in the dim, drug damaged light.Burroughs mixes these vivid colors from a palette of ghastly violence, ghost stories, hangings, war, disease, and magical homoerotic rituals that are described quite explicitly so it s not for the faint of heart Indeed, one of my first observations about the book was that nearly every character seemed to be a gay junkie That was before it began to click on a deeper level, before I saw what was unique about the novel s worlds and why they mattered, even if I didn t know which of those worlds I was on Ultimately, Cities of the Red Night is an impressionistic work with elements of satire sometimes shocking, sometimes quite funny, always surprising, and ever insightful about the little explored corners of the human condition.Only the ending let me down slightly it seemed to fizzle out, neither answering my questions nor posing But I still give this novel my highest recommendation It s the longest and weirdest dream you never had It ll make you think Kafka had no imagination It s fucked up, and awesome Read it. AIDS era Burroughs tale of a killer virus, pirate shenanigans and boys doing what boys do best guess After re reading it I kicked it up one star to four because it reminded me of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Dusan Makavejev movies from the early Seventies If you liked Holy Mountain or Sweet Movie you ll like this The plot is a dog s breakfast but I d read it in small spurts, yes spurts we need to use that word in a Burroughs review.