Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting. Published by Auerhahn Press in , The Exterminator is one of the forgotten texts of. In one of the earliest book-length critical studies of WSB’s work, the excellent William Burroughs: The Algebra of Need, Eric Mottram writes that “Exterminator! is a. San Francisco, CA: The Auerhahn Press, First Edition. Softcover. Inscribed & Signed by William S. Burroughs to Donald L. Kaufmann. William.
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Return to Book Page. Conspirators plot to explode a train carrying nerve gas. A perfect servant suddenly reveals himself to be the insidious Dr. Science-fantasy wars, racism, corporate capitalism, drug addiction, and various medical and psychiatric horrors all play their parts in this mosaiclike, experimental novel.
Here is William S. Burroughs at his coruscating and hilarious best. Paperbackpages. Published by Penguin first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Exterminator! Where in the book can I find the quote See 1 question about Exterminator!
Lists with This Book. Jan 10, RandomAnthony rated it liked it. By the time I hit 21 my impressions of William S. Al Jorgensen was a fan. I remember a picture of the two together.
Short guy with a hat. Burroughs killing his wife while trying to shoot an apple off her head. Ministry had gone all loud by then and everybody in Chicago knew Jorgensen was a prick. So I stayed away from Burroughs for a couple decades until Tadpole and a couple others mentioned his work in a positive light.
And then I saw Exterminator! And then I read Exterminator! I should qualify the last sentence. So why is The Exterminator! Well, I could see someone trying to imitate Burroughs by stringing together nonsense and curse words but Burroughs is much smarter and more controlled than any imitators. So while a couple pages can pass with what seem like disjointed recurring images of Clancy the cop, someone named Audrey, and the number 23, after wading through the mire the reader is rewarded with a surprisingly and unexpected pulling together of seemingly loose ends.
Also, these pieces were published in the late sixties. Oh, this book is technically a novel, according to the cover, but…um…maybe. I found The Exterminator! From what I understand The Exterminator! View all 8 comments. Nov 25, Hakim rated it really liked it Shelves: Stepping into the labyrinth that is William S. Burroughs’ imagination, memories and mind is a truly unique experience.
Rarely have I read stories so beautifully written, so original and thrilling Wind die. What fascinates me most is the way the author makes this experimental novel autobiographical. I would not recommend this book to anyone, only to the adventurous reader with a particular bent no pun intended for the weird and the experimental.
Jan 24, Mat rated it really liked it. When I first sunk my teeth into this book, I was not so sure it was going to be a good ‘un. I would give the first vignettes only about 3 stars on average but then somewhere along the line, bang! I do get the feeling thou When I first sunk my teeth into this book, I was not so sure it was going to be a good ‘un. I do get the feeling though, like some other reviewers of Burroughs’ work have pointed out before, that he was immensely pessimistic some might argue realistic?
There are also early signs even here during a relatively early work of Burroughs of his latter-day environmentalism and humanism, which is celebrated in novels such as Ghost of Chance and The Cat Insidetwo books, incidentally, which I read just last month and hence still fresh in my mind.
There are moments when Burroughs comes across as abrasively repetitive such as the ‘nigger-hating sheriff’ character who seems to make an appearance in almost every Burroughs novel. I felt like saying, “ok William, we get the point”. While I was reading Exterminator!
I caught myself wondering whether some Americans might not be offended by the grotesque picaresque send-ups of American society which Burroughs creates in these short stories. Or do they see his sardonic humour as a grave warning of impending danger? And to give credit where it is due, Burroughs is quite right and quite justified in sounding the alarm. If anything, times have gotten worse. Remember that back in at the height of Cuban missile crisis, we were only moments away from possible nuclear disaster.
One of the funniest moments in this book is when a Burroughs’ character says that “we need to watch the commies. At the time, this was an accurate portrayal of American political paranoia and hysteria. These days I hate to say, it might be slightly more ‘real’, well for me at least as I sit in an office in Tokyo and write this. In summary, some of the short stories in here present nothing all that new that we haven’t seen before from Burroughs but there are a few real diamonds to be found here.
Oct 23, Tosh rated it it was amazing. The closest to a short story collection by the cranky and hysterical William S. And the fact that he once had a job as rat and insect Exterminator is something like crazy.
Who in their right mind would allow this guy into their home?
Exterminator! by William S. Burroughs
Jun 21, Ian Mathers rated it it was ok Shelves: I used to have this down as a five star book. I went to reread it, and it was a lot worse than I remembered. Part of this is just context, in more than one way; the first time I read Exterminator! I read it in a non-literal fever, gulping the whole thing down. Re-reading it now, which I did over the course of a few days commuting on the subway and bus, I didn’t get as caught up in it as before and before Burroughs or anyone el I used to have this down as a five star book.
Somehow that first time through my brain was able to just shove aside and ignore my abhorrence of all the anti-Semitism, misogyny, rape, child sexualization it’s not like I enjoyed the repeated phrase “young boys need it special” that first time through, but how did I not just spit out the whole bookracism and so on throughout.
I guess maybe on some level I bought into the bullshit Burroughs spreads here about “subversive” art which, honestly, even if some of this was at the time, it’s possible to outlive your context, you know?
Also, while I did know about Burroughs murdering his wife Joan Vollmer, I didn’t know about a lot of the other shit he and Ginsberg got up to. And yes, I think that is a valid part of how I feel about this and Burroughs’ other books; burrougha writer’s Burroughs references actually prompted me to write about it recently, and I stand by what I say there.
So why two stars?
Well, the parts that aren’t horrifying for the wrong reasons here are really fucking good! You can’t give zero stars here, and Exterminator! The bit on the discipline of DE begged to be expanded on, the language is often startlingly vivid even in the shitty sections, of course and I was still stopped in my tracks by “Do you begin to see there is no face there in the tarnished mirror? And he doesn’t come remotely close to meeting it.
I’m not reluctantly pretending I dislike it for external reasons; it’s genuinely, authentically cringe inducing and awful. Sep 23, Laoirse rated it it was amazing. I liked this book much more than Burrough’s “Naked Lunch”. Firstly, it’s not written in that airtihgt ezterminator wich is understandable only to author and a few drug addicts. It has a pretty decent fable in a form of short stories. We can see, as budroughs progress through the book, that the characters are pretty much the same, although with different names.
But what I liked the most about the book is the way Burroughs speaks about humanity and revolution. He says so much with such simple terms its lik I liked this book much more than Burrough’s “Naked Lunch”. He says so much with such simple terms its like exterminatlr language is guided by the principle less is more, but with many naturalistic poetic images that can’t leave anyone resigned. Reader is at least shocked with his apocalyptic images of a man decomposing into its animalistic nature.
Revolution is welcomed as a whole new concept, removed from political influences and watched through the prism of a exherminator people act in desperation. Short stories, seemingly unrelated but with same motives, put in a different time and space. One of the best literal layman critics of modern society without much philosophizing. Burroughs really captured the cruel reality burrouhhs people real motives and multiplied that with images of potentized horror that will make you nauseus but also aware of his thoughts.
Apr 18, Raegan Butcher rated it burrougus liked it. Excellent collection of short stories showcasing some of the author’s best work. Manageable, entertaining Burroughs hallucinations. Amazing what organizing into chapters does.
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