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collection. Each of the 112 pages comprising this paperback
has at least one photograph, and many pages have two or three!
In my mind the pictures alone are worth a binding of their own. They
include many of his co-workers, and famous peers. After looking
at all of them for the first time, you really get a "feel" for
the environment in which he has been working (living) for the
last 30 - 40 years.
The entire collection of quotes (quotes and pictures are all you get, folks)
are catagorized by a plethora of topics, which enables quick referencing,
so you really should learn ALOT about his PERSONALITY.
I say "personality" because the quotes are in
conversational mode, candid, ranginging from silly quips and
understatements to very sincere and thoughtful comments; the way
I imagine he shares with intimates. This is not a stilted,
unemotional, professional collection of aphorisms, and I feel better informed
as a result.
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The author is in love with both Ginsberg and Burroughs though, so the narrative is somewhat skewed. He seems to have unfavorable reactions to Corso's drinking, for instance, but practically glorifies Burroughs' practice of drug-induced creativity. Still, it's an interesting account of the time spent in Paris.
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I especially enjoyed the intimate perspective from which it is written, honing in on Ginsberg's persona in every day settings. It brings Ginsberg and his cronies, Burroughs, Kerouac, Cassady, etc., alive in a profoundly personal way.
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That said, this is a pretty enjoyable read. The lack of a coherent story line may annoy some people, but it also shows how sporadically the author's hallucinations appear and disappear. The only main character seems to be heroin. This is the literary equivalent of the film Eraserhead; dark, morbid, sickening, and about as close to a nightmare as the conscious mind can get. And like Eraserhead, it's impossible to fully interpret or ignore once it's in view.