Author: William S. Burroughs
Source: Veddma library
Notes: This is a book describing junk addiction, junk here being opium and its derivatives (heroin, morphine, codeine, dionine, etc.) The author also touches on the use of cocaine, paregoric, goof balls, weed, and other drugs. The book is about a junky’s life: getting and maintaining a habit, earning money pushing junk or robbing drunks on subway stations, and getting clean. I quite enjoyed the matter-of-fact, sober writing style in which the author talked about the reality of a junk habit and relationships with various characters whose life intersects with the protagonist’s, each one with their own reasons for a habit. Gay culture, “tea users” (those with a marijuana habit), schemes of getting doctors to prescribe morphine, sex workers, copper jitters, and other subjects are all part of the story taking place first in New York, then in New Orleans, and later in Mexico City.
Burroughs explores the question of why one becomes a drug addict and what it takes to form the habit. He says: “I have learned the junk equation. Junk is not, like alcohol or weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.”