The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead


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In this funny, nightmarish masterpiece of imaginative excess, grotesque characters engage in acts of violent one-upmanship, boundless riches mangle a corner of Africa into a Bacchanalian utopia, and technology, flesh and violence fuse with and undo each other. A fragmentary, freewheeling novel, it sees wild boys engage in vigorous, ritualistic sex and drug taking, as well as pranksterish guerrilla warfare and open combat with a confused and outmatched army. The Wild Boys shows why Burroughs is a writer unlike any other, ...

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Jan 9, 2008

Blueprint for a Revolution

"The Wild Boys" is a blueprint for a gay revolution. A gang of teenage boys in North Africa use the technologies and media of their time to evolve into a worldwide tribe of cloned warriors battling for domination of the planet. Burroughs pulls in ideas from Islam, modern advertizing, emerging gay counter-culture and science fiction to tell a cautionary tale of the oppressed becoming the oppressor. In the process, he raises questions about the nature of minority identity. When does creating a community become isolationism? When does heresy become orthodoxy? Where does the individual lose themselves when associating with a group? By the end, it?s not clear whether the revolution has succeeded or failed. Have the boys been liberated or taken on new shackles?
Burroughs puts his literary techniques of cut-up, the routine and mixed media to great use in ?The Wild Boys?. After the Grove Press re-writing of the Nova books, he appears to have internalized and mastered these techniques. They no longer dominate the narrative, they are used illustrate and accent it. I think ?The Wild Boys? is Burroughs entering his mature phase of writing. It sets the path for later works such as ?Cities of the Red Night? and ?The Place of Dead Roads? while standing on its own as an innovative way of telling a compelling story.

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