Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Wild Boys - William S. Burroughs

Burroughs is considered a highly influential writer and his creative style of writing was discussed in the recent book that I read 'The Art of Creative Thinking'. Burroughs was one of the proponents of the cut-up technique where a linear  narrative was cut up in either full sentences or phrases or words and rearranged to form new meanings. He studied English at Harvard, post graduated in anthropology and studied medicine in Vienna. Hailing from a well to do background Burroughs found comfort in drugs and homosexuality and in his travels away from home he wrote some influential pieces of counter culture in the 1960s - as part of the Beat Generation that was anti values, norms and involved drugs and sex. Burroughs also accidentally shot his second wife in Mexico while playing a game of William Tell. He wrote eighteen novels and novellas and five short story collections.
Penguin, Rs. 499, 184 p
'The Wild Boys' is a freewheeling novel that plays in the minds of gangs of wild boys, mostly homosexual and drug taking and their escapades and excesses that include skirmishes with the army. It's too non-linear for it to make any sense and all I was left with was a felling which was probably what it was intended to do. 'The Wild Boys' however has achieved cult status like 'Clockwork Orange' did and Burroughs apparently tried to produce it as a hardcore porn movie. Some character. Interestingly Duran Duran's Wild Boys song is based on the book (they were approached to compose the music for the movie that was never made).

It made little sense to me as flashed through it. I need to read it again now that the idea is left behind. But it was interesting to peek into Burroughs mind to see how some artists approached their work. Fearlessly. Honestly.

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