Six years before he published his breakthrough novel, Naked Lunch (1959), William S. Burroughs broke into the literary scene with Junky (sometimes also called Junkie), a candid, semi-autobiographical account of an “unredeemed drug addict.” It’s safe to say that the book wouldn’t have seen the light of day if Allen Ginsberg hadn’t taken Burroughs under his wing and edited the manuscript. The book, originally published under the pseudonym “William Lee,” was distributed by Ace Books, a publishing house that targeted New York City subway riders. Above, you can listen to Burroughs, the famous beat writer, reading a three-hour abridged version of the text. An alternate version appears here.
Junky has been added to our list of Free Audio Books. And, on a related note, Burroughs fans will want to watch The Junky’s Christmas, a short claymation film written and narrated by Burroughs in 1993. Other films based on his writing appear in our collection of Free Movies Online.