William S. Burroughs‘ Junkie is written tight and clean, just like I like it. But there is no humor, no black humor, nor any dry humor. The book is dark and hopeless, just as Burroughs’ addiction is. There is no redemption for his narrator; he never changes. But without Burroughs’ strict attention to detail, without his lack of repenting, we would not have the literature we have today. He wrote about gay sex easily without explaining it or making it dirty or salacious. He just wrote about his life. He created a whole new genre—cult culture.
Raymond Radiguet, a French teenager who hung out with Hemingway and Cocteau, wrote The Devil in the Flesh in 1921, and died of typhoid fever at the age of 20. The story is nothing new: the relationship between a slightly older married woman, Marthe (19) and a younger teenage boy (15). But the language is concise and honest. And the unnamed self-centered narrator is hyper-aware of his cruelty when he reflects on the past. The book itself is packaged quite nicely. Beautiful cover, published by the Neversink Library (which is a direct reference to Herman Melville’s White Jacket), the book synopsis reads:
Why do I continue to read Charles Bukowski? He only ever writes about drinking, horse races, women, writing, reading, the post office, and fighting. I picked up the recently released More Notes of a Dirty Old Man and it confirmed that Bukowski is an artist who tells the truth, regardless of how it reiterates or damages his legend.