Call Me Burroughs
- A Life
- Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
- Length: 29 hrs and 33 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 02-13-14
- Language: English
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
Regular price: $30.79
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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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By Nurture Learners and Able Observers on 08-09-14
A Masterpiece Crime Novel
Any additional comments?
This was a labor of love on the writer's part. Not sure it is just to give less than a five star review for the work that went into this book. My review, could easily be a book, about this book.
The first two parts of the book was a fascinating history of the personal lives of the upper class, which Burroughs was a product of. His sense of entitlement through out his life. Was not aware he was subsidized by his family until the age of fifty against the backdrop of a Harvard education. For me the book is a perfect account of the downside of the "idle rich".
Much of his published work was reworked heavily by others with laborious editing before it was published. He even managed to get others, more or less, to write his books. And he welcomed any one who was willing to "contribute to him".
His aloof use and corruption of young beggar boys sexually, as toys, had a Caligula strip of force as a character reference. By the third part of the book, one was forced to confront the evil and I had to open a bottle of Jim Beam to be led into that dark place. It was not a pleasure ride but I plugged on. The depth of depravity and corruption, lack of remorse and empathy in his letters as he spoke of his crimes against children and the needy, the sadism, was not easy to confront.
The way he worked his way through the upper class as a debutante with opinions to sell, using the P.R. machine Alan Ginsberg, while he perfectly managed to get away with murder, and corruption and sexual molestation of minors, and actually made enough profit to buy a factory kit Sears and Roebuck home to retire in, in Kansas, for his true confessions books, is an illustration of the perfect con man. Who did it all, with applause from his fellow man.
Very spooky, very real.
The book is a masterpiece crime novel.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Jesse on 02-06-18
A Thorough Look At Burroughs' Life And Work
This book has everything you want to know about William S. Burroughs. Everything from his earliest memories to his final words is lovingly encapsulated within the confines of this book. Episodes from the subject's life are reflected by passages of his work by the biographer's appropriately placed excerpts. If you wanted to know how the novels reflect the life and times of Burroughs, this book is your ultimate resource. Likewise, it is a skeleton key for matching Burroughs' work with his occult beliefs. Call Me Burroughs spends a healthy amount of time discussing William S. Burroughs's relationship with the Church of Scientology, and beliefs regarding the supernatural power of his own writings. Barry Miles' previous biography of Burroughs, El Hombre Invisible, was not great. Ted Morgan's biography of Burroughs, Literary Outlaw, is much better, and still worth reading, but Call Me Burroughs is as much an exegesis of Burroughs' work as an artist as it is a catalog of his life's events, so I rate it far above Literary Outlaw. Ted Morgan, however, captures Burroughs' flaws in a way that Barry Miles fails to. Perhaps this is due to Barry Miles' personal acquaintanceship with the subject of this book. Anyway, I no longer hold El Hombre Invisible against Barry Miles, and I will be checking out his Zappa biography now that I'm aware of his grown capacity for biography. Malcolm Hillgartner's performance should be a selling point for audiobook buyers looking for a narrator who will capture the signature sound of the voice of Burroughs. He imitates the subject in a way that doesn't distract from the book itself. Hillgartner borrows speaking habits of Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and others, when he he is reading words attributed to them. Rest assured that it isn't a hammy or overdone performance, and merely helps the listener to identify quoted words from the author's exposition. I give Michael Hillgartner's performance five stars because it gives this book a humanizing touch that doesn't detract from the academic worth of the text.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful