Item description for Cursed from Birth: The Short, Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs, Jr. by William S. Burroughs & David Ohle...
Overview An intimate portrait of the son of the best-selling counterculture author draws on his final journals, poems, and correspondence to offer insight into the factors that challenged his life, from his relationship with his father to his tragic personal losses. Original.
Publishers Description Born in 1947 to the writer William S. Burroughs and his common-law wife Joan Vollmer, William S. Burroughs, Jr. (known as Billy Jr.), would later describe himself as "your cursed-from-birth son." Cursed From Birth is a testimony to the difficulty of living in the turbulent wake of a famous father, his famous and troubled friends, and a lucid, shattering depiction of a life going down the tubes. Raised by his paternal grandparents in Palm Beach after his mother was killed by his father in a shooting accident, Billy saw his father become suddenly famous for Naked Lunch just as he became a teenager. Billy Jr.'s short life was defined by creating trouble to catch the attention of his father, mourning the death of his mother, descending into alcoholism and drug addiction, and reckoning with it all by beginning his own literary endeavors. Compiled by writer David Ohle from Burroughs Jr.'s third and unfinished novel Prakriti Junction, his last journals and poems, and correspondence and conversations with those who knew Billy, Cursed from Birth is faithful to Billy's own intentions for a last artistic effort. With the sufferings - but not the patience - of Job, Billy Burroughs's life illustrates the fall of one "whom the gods would destroy".
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.48" Width: 5.6" Height: 0.69" Weight: 0.52 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2006
Publisher Soft Skull Press
ISBN 1933368381 ISBN13 9781933368382
Reviews - What do customers think about Cursed from Birth: The Short, Unhappy Life of William S. Burroughs, Jr.?
Best book yet on Bill Burroughs, Jr. Jan 9, 2007
Billy was a friend of mine.I knew him at Green Valley School in Orange City, Fla. in 1972 and afterwards until his death in 1981. I think this book tells his story the way he would like. Literary Outlaw is the other good bio of Bill Burroughs, Sr. in which Billy's life is well told. Read both of these books and you will know the Burroughs. The old man was a genius and a great writer but a lousy father. The son was cursed from birth(that title is something Billy wrote himself and signed a letter with to his father). I tried to tell Billy to change his name in 1972. I thought that would be his only chance of surviving the Burroughs name. But of course his course was set. He was and would always be a Burroughs. To have your father kill your mother when you are 4 and then to be sent to grow up with your grandparents(abandoned by your father)and then to learn in your teens that your father is the notorious junkie homosexual genius author of NAKED LUNCH well how would you handle that? So self destruction was Billy's fate. This is an excellent book and anyone who is interested in either father or the son should enjoy and learn from it. One thing though. Billy enjoyed his life VERY MUCH until he got sick. So his life was not that short and was certainly not all unhappy. Just the last 10 years of it.
Buy this book! Dec 19, 2006
As his contemporary, I never met Billy, but now I feel as I have. I grew up in the same circles and understand the difficulty of being surrounded by famous writers. He tells what it was like growing up beat. All beat aficiandos need to read this. Put it in the highschool library. I wish I had published it.
Far better writer than his dad Dec 2, 2006
"Speed" is this writer's best book in my opinion. But anything from Burroughs Jr. is worth waiting for.
a sad epitaph Nov 14, 2006
"Cursed from birth" is incredibly sad and brilliantly written. David Ohle did a great job editing and compiling Billy's letters and manuscript pages into a coherent narrative that deals with the second half of Burroughs Jr's tragically short life (marriage, constant travel, alcoholism, transplant surgery) The events described by Billy are often supplimented by testimonials from Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs Sr. that sometimes provide a contrast to Billy's take but always enhance perspective for the reader. The final third of the book describes Billy's liver failure and subsequent transplant and agonizing attempt at recovery in Denver. This section is brutal and draining to read but fascinating in its glimpse into the mind of a broken, nearly abandoned man Included in this section is a devastating, put-down letter adressed to his father but apparently never sent even though WSB comments on it in the text. Also, of particular interest is Billy's medical profile which details the mental side effects of transplant surgery. All in all a very well done book that should be read by any serious Beat scholar
A HOME FOR BILLY AT LAST! Sep 11, 2006
After what seemed to be an amazingly long wait, Cursed From Birth, the sort of biography, sort of last lost novel of William Burroughs Jr has finally been published by those saviours at Soft Skull. And...it was well worth the wait. I am 3/4 way through and the book does not disappoint. Billy's story was alway one of tragedy, self-loathing, self-pity and probably inherited addictive behaviours. However, his writing, when he was relatively sobre, is always witty, concise and truthful, more so than his fathers. It is a sad testament to a great biography of a dead person that you want the ending to be anything but their demise. And this book is no different. Highly recommend for all lovers of beat literature.