The Red Night Trilogy

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BansheeYage
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The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:29 pm

I just finished reading The Cat Inside by Burroughs and thought it was a whimsical, humorous, and at times profound look at the self and the relationship between animal life and mankind. It was also interesting for the fact that it was the first of my collection of Burroughs works that was almost entirely (save the little imaginative scenarios) non-fiction and autobiographical. Another thing I found particularly interesting about it was watching Burroughs stoic personality melt into one of true compassion and affection towards his cats. I am familiar with his famous final journal entry regarding love as the ultimate painkiller which he felt towards his furry friends, but tracing the beginnings of this tender relationship he had with them was sweet and special.

The next book that I've decided to read is This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace that has been lying on my desk for some time and has been recommended to me by several people. It isn't a very long book so I suspect I'll be done with it rather quickly and the book I've chosen to read after is Cities of the Red Night and then continue on with the rest of the Red Night Trilogy.

For those of you who have read it what did you get out of these 3 novels? How would you compare them to the Nova Trilogy (Which I've read)? Do these novels add anything to Burroughs oeuvre that the previous works had not already done?
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

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davee_mac
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by davee_mac » Fri Mar 04, 2016 4:19 pm

a while back i remember reading that some critics (whoever they may be!) considered the Red Night trilogy would go down as his masterpiece. I wouldn't go that far, but as a trilogy of novels they are especially cohesive (with each other) and contain so many classic passages, just as much as anything from Naked Lunch etc (the passage with the mummies afraid of tomb-robbers and the Blitz can still have me braying with laughter no matter how many times i've read it)

There is a real sense of Bill doing his utmost, near The End, of making that final push for immortality. He doesn't go down without a fight and the rage and power in these books is as raw as anything from earlier in his career. A real disgust at looking back over the 20th century and identifying the shits responsible... before looking up and ahead to possible new futures... and of course the Western Lands themselves.... which i hope he *did* encounter and is still travailing with his acid wit and toughness!

As to what they add to his ouveure (sic!) i'd say the reflective quality. The Nova Trilogy was "this is what will happen." The Cities trilogy is "this is what happened..... but here are some possible routes out... we are here to Go." The opening of Western lands also has a melancholy few passages that take your breath away, and you feel something of Burroughs looking back over his life (or what might have been his life.... the Old Writer living in the box car might not have had Burroughs' career but perhaps he had some of his tiredness..? Not tired of life but at trying to affect change through words alone)

It's hard to pick out a favoruite... at a pinch i'd say Place Of Dead Roads..... where the reader really FEELS you're there in that wild west... Burroughs-style of course..!!

You're going to enjoy these!!!!!

BansheeYage
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:52 pm

That's interesting how you describe the ideas behind both trilogies. In a way it reminds me of Star Wars for having the look forward appear before the look back. Ironically, I read on wiki that Cities actually gave a model of a virus that functioned uncannily similarly to the AID's virus that had yet to surface in society.

I'm eager to hear whether or not you've also read Port of Saints which was published after The Wild Boys. I hear that it's essentially a precursor for the Red Night Trilogy and that many of the ideas that were still in their infant stages were expressed in the book along with ideas already expressed in The Wild Boys. If you've read it, is it worth reading for more than a look into the early stages of these ideas or does it have anything that is unique to it not already put forth in The Wild Boys or the Red Night Trilogy?
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

BansheeYage
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Name a Burroughs book: Junky

Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:56 pm

Also I'd really just like to say thank you for replying to this post ^^ I've been checking it daily for input since I'm eager to hear from fellow Burroughs fans.
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

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davee_mac
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by davee_mac » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:26 pm

I haven't read Port Of Saints in a few years, to be honest all I remember from it is the two sacked CIA men who start experiments with cloning etc... sorry that isn't much help :D

i think if anything the red Virus = Aids is just literary good luck (if you can call it that!!)... an extension of everything conceptual he'd written about viruses up to that point, but rendered more 'physical' (medical? biological?) because of his new story ideas and the concept of getting ready to change our bodies to go into space (which comes through most of all in Place Of Dead Roads)

edward_de_vere
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by edward_de_vere » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:58 pm

The Western Lands is probably the novel in the trilogy that I enjoyed the most, for a combination of reasons. First, contains some of Burroughs' most thoughtful and beautiful passages about mortality and one's purpose in life. Second, we get more flashes of the old Naked Lunch dark humor than in the other two novels, with great moments like Dwight Eisenhower lying on a bed smiling and waving a flag as he gets fountain of youth enema injections or a Texas rancher shooting a transmigrating Egyptian soul in the sky with a shotgun and declaring "Stinkin' khu!" I also appreciated the heavier doses of snake, centipede, and scorpion lore, which has more to do with my own interests than literary merit as such.

I can't say that the other two novels in the trilogy did much for me. I just didn't find The Place of Dead Roads to be well-written or interesting enough to even finish reading. Cities of the Red Night had some good moments in the more surreal passages, but at the same time, the writing style didn't have much of the Burroughs magic - he was obviously imitating and/or parodying the style of adolescent pulp adventure and detective novels, and what was meant as parody wound up being even less than that which was being parodied.

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davee_mac
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by davee_mac » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:16 pm

"I can't say that the other two novels in the trilogy did much for me. I just didn't find The Place of Dead Roads to be well-written or interesting enough to even finish reading."
what what what what whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat??!?!?!?!?!?!?! :p

BansheeYage
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:35 pm

"Cities of the Red Night had some good moments in the more surreal passages, but at the same time, the writing style didn't have much of the Burroughs magic - he was obviously imitating and/or parodying the style of adolescent pulp adventure and detective novels, and what was meant as parody wound up being even less than that which was being parodied.[/quote]

Ya think so? I don't know I'm 91 pages into the book and I'm actually really enjoying it.
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

BansheeYage
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:22 pm
Name a Burroughs book: Junky

Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Tue May 24, 2016 11:10 am

So I finished Cities over the weekend and I gotta disagree with you Edward, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel like it's more refined and clearer than Naked Lunch in terms of story and the ideas being conveyed by Burroughs. Along with that I found it really entertaining, especially the war between the cities at the end.

In my opinion the way to read Burroughs is in chronological order to grasp not only Burroughs evolution and growth as a writer, but also to see his ideas take greater shape and clarity. Everything I've read from the Soft Machine on are masterpieces IMO.
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

BansheeYage
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:22 pm
Name a Burroughs book: Junky

Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Thu May 26, 2016 7:02 pm

Also, from what I read about Port of Saints it sounds like a semi sequel to the Wild Boys, but in light of the counterculture revolutionaries of the 60's that Burroughs had stock in fading away in the 70's.
"I have a thousand faces and a thousand names. I am nobody I am everybody. I am me I am you. I am here there forward back in out. I stay everywhere I stay nowhere. I stay present I stay absent."

BansheeYage
Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:22 pm
Name a Burroughs book: Junky

Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by BansheeYage » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:36 pm

Curious as to what you guys think of this guys assessments of the Red Night Trilogy.

https://dactylreview.com/2011/03/15/cit ... burroughs/

I feel like he makes some pretty solid summaries of the themes, ideas, and storylines presented in the novels, except I feel he entirely glosses over the rewriting of history that Clem Snide and Kim Carson's attempt to do in the first two novels.

What do you think?

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David D
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Re: The Red Night Trilogy

Post by David D » Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:53 am

Yes, as a review the piece is quite insightful and to the point, though indeed the analysis misses a few things. The rewriting of history as you mention, but also I think reducing Cities to two 'plot lines' is missing at least one ...

A decent enough piece though, one that may succeed in what I always appreciate, i.e. easing 'general' readers' ways to books that are otherwise often branded as 'too hermetic/difficult/incomprehensible/elitist/...' (not specifically referring to this 'trilogy' here).
"Most people simply aren't human so far as I am concerned."

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