Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cities of the Red Night by W.S. Burroughs

I read Cities of the Red Night because I wanted to know what Burroughs was up to.

Frankly, I had a terrible time with it. A friend of mine worked with W.S. Burroughs for several years and even created a hotel that he called "The Beat Hotel" - a hotel where you can study about the "beats", talk with other interested and interesting persons, see original work, particularly by Burroughs. It's a wonderful small hotel (unfortunately, my friend died unexpectedly and the hotel is not open now and may never reopen).

I broached the subject of Burroughs with my friend several times,but he never really answered my questions.I am not sure if he thought I was too prudish to hear it? It seems laughable, yet that may be the case.Because of his connection to WSB and because he worked in particular on Cities of The Red Night with Burroughs, I wanted to read it so I could understand Burroughs better.

I can't understand him. In addition to reading this entire book, page by halting page, I have read much of a substantial biography and have read many websites about him. My overall impression is not good. I suspect that his work appeals to men and of course particularly gay men. I felt sticky with semen every time I touched that book.I keep looking for what I may have missed. Certainly his writing is unusual, although to me it seems to be unusual in a druggy sort of way, along with that obsession with sparkling, colored semen and the ecstacy of hanging.

I am open to alternative opinions, explanations of what I may have missed.

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