Monday, January 18, 2016

Barry Miles Catapults William Burroughs Into the Stratosphere

My most treasured collection consists of a shelf of autographed first edition books. The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer’s arguably best book used to be sandwiched between Evelyn Waugh’s Basil Seal Rides Again and Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives!

I’ve since had to rearrange my bookshelf after I bumped into Barry Miles, the acclaimed counterculture writer and biographer at Marylebone market last Sunday.
Barry Miles

When I espied Barry Miles , commonly known as Miles by the fish stall I knew there must be a God. As fate would have it, I had a copy of his latest book William S. Burroughs: A Life stuffed in my shopping bag. I asked Miles to sign it, and he agreed.

Published in 2014 one hundred years after Burrough's death, it is the definitive biography on William Burroughs, the controversial writer who inspired and motivated a conglomerate of artists to worship at his avant-garde shrine.

William Burroughs
Miles' gripping William Burroughs biography, which left me reeling with awe offers the reader everything and more there is to know about the fascinating/controversial writer, and his iconoclastic literature/writing.

For intricate details of Burroughs' complete Bibliography, including the formation of his earlier works: Junky,  Naked Lunch, Queer  etc. devour the book.

Fortunately, Miles had the full support of the Burroughs estate while writing the bio. He also had the advantage of having being a friend of Burroughs since the mid Sixties, plus knowing other  historical Beat personalities like the influential Allen Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs

Miles has had least eighty glowing international reviews including a humdinger from The New York Times and deservedly so.

Miles with Burroughs.
Now, William S. Burroughs: A Life is stacked against Norman Mailer on my bookshelf. All I can say is that Miles’ inscription is the most intriguing of my entire collection.

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