In this funny, nightmarish masterpiece of imaginative excess, grotesque characters engage in acts of violent one-upmanship, boundless riches mangle a corner of Africa into a Bacchanalian utopia, and technology, flesh, and violence fuse with and undo each other. A fragmentary, freewheeling novel, it sees wild boys engage in vigorous, ritualistic sex and drug taking, as well as prankster-ish guerrilla warfare and open combat with a confused and outmatched army.
©1971 William S. Burroughs (P)2013 Recorded Books
First, the reader is amazing. This is a very, very difficult book to narrate and Luis Moreno does a superb job. I'll be checking out other books narrated by him.
Now to the book. This book is not for everyone - probably not for most people. It requires work and an understanding of what the Beat authors were trying to do and more specifically a grasp of Burroughs' literary aims and personal story. I recommend that those not familiar with Burroughs first read/listen to the introduction to "Queer Beats", edited by Regina Marler (also available from Audible.com). It does a nice job explaining the movement and giving a brief literary biography to Burroughs and related authors/poets; Marler also discusses the social and literary significance of the Beat movement.
The Wild Boys has no coherent story. That is not the way Burroughs writes. It is a collection of cinematic/fantasy scenes that are often visceral, pornographic, violent, surreal, brutal, beautiful, and disturbing. Images and scenes double back and are retold or re-imagined repeated. Nothing is taboo. Most of the sexual scenes are male on male, and since many come from Burroughs' memory and fantasies, they involve under-age boys and are very graphic and explicit. Burroughs creates an anti-conventional fantasy world (a queer Neverland populated with anarchistic gay lost boys) where he flips the bird to conventional mores and ideals, using his mastery of language and imagery as a weapon and a paint brush. I think that this is an amazing book and that Burroughs is a great author; I suspect that most listeners will think it is trash and pornography.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
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