Naked Lunch
By William S. Burroughs

My third choice, which covers my years from 14 to 21, was a tricky one. I remember where I was when I read it: in my father's study, in a big chair, with my jaw on my lap. At that stage, I was steeped in Victorian culture (I suppose my greatest pleasures were George Eliot and Jane Austen more than almost anyone else). However, I've always been fascinated and inspired by otherness and by the forbidden and, in the case of Naked Lunch, by deviance. I remember in particular a scene where a naked bloke crashes through a plate glass window. The book is about sex, drugs, and...and drugs, really. I can't remember any rock 'n' roll. Certainly, I was shocked and scared by Naked Lunch, but what it did was open my mind up.


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