Call Me Burroughs

  • by Barry Miles
  • Narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner
  • 29 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Fifty years ago, Norman Mailer asserted, "William Burroughs is the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius." Few since have taken such literary risks, developed such individual political or spiritual ideas, or spanned such a wide range of media. Burroughs wrote novels, memoirs, technical manuals, and poetry. He painted, made collages, took thousands of photographs, produced hundreds of hours of experimental recordings, acted in movies, and recorded more CDs than most rock bands. Burroughs was the original cult figure of the Beat Movement, and with the publication of his novel Naked Lunch, which was originally banned for obscenity, he became a guru to the 60s youth counterculture. In Call Me Burroughs, biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles presents the first full-length biography of Burroughs to be published in a quarter century - and the first one to chronicle the last decade of Burroughs's life and examine his long-term cultural legacy.
Written with the full support of the Burroughs estate and drawing from countless interviews with figures like Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, and Burroughs himself, Call Me Burroughs is a rigorously researched biography that finally gets to the heart of its notoriously mercurial subject.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Barry Miles describes the life of an eternal adolescent in Call Me Burroughs. William Seward Burroughs never seems to grow up in Miles’ well researched and fascinating biography of a twentieth century iconoclast. Burroughs lives a life of debauchery. With spoon fed income from family wealth, Burroughs lives on the fringes of society; observing and recording his experience.

Listening to Barry Miles’ smartly researched and narrated biography, a listener senses that Burroughs is, in one sense, a parasite of society. Burroughs is an eternal adolescent that lives off his parents until they die. He adjusts his life style to continue getting the hedonistic most out of life without working. He observes without being; he reports without doing. Burroughs does nothing in life that benefits anyone but himself. In another sense, Burroughs is an icon of change in society; i.e. a representative of the sex’, drugs’, and arts’ revolutions of the twentieth century.
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- CHET YARBROUGH "Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again."

A Wonderful, Intimate Portrait

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It is a fascinating look into the life and love(s) of one of America's most important and contrary writers.

What other book might you compare Call Me Burroughs to and why?

Fire in the Belly. Because both were clear and human looks at extraordinary and uncompromising men. Neither biography flinched away from looking at the less savory aspects of each man's life (murder, drugs, hustling), but they were not salacious glimpses, just informational, and mostly, compassionate.

Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. But I liked it very much, and I am super fussy about narrators.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The notion that after a sexual encounter, the usually gruff WB was gentle, tender, and "giddy." I loved that extraordinarily human detail.

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in the Beats, read this book about the most interesting one.

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- oldmanwagner

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-13-2014
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio