cover image The Adding Machine: Collected Essays

The Adding Machine: Collected Essays

William S. Burroughs. Calder Publications, $0 (201pp) ISBN 978-0-7145-4073-3

First published in England, this miscellany is neither bizarre nor outrageous nor prurient. It is instead insightful, informed and consistently interesting. These 42 short pieces include autobiographical sketches, literary criticism, political commentary, sage advice (from how to unite the planet to how to stop smoking) and far-out fantasy. The humor ranges from the grimly ironic to the ludicrous, expressed in an artless style without jargon, though Burroughs cavils about publishers, certainly every writer's duty. His distinctive voice reveals that the unashamed bad boy still has something sensible to say about what it is that makes us think he is bad. For all who appreciate a new brand of common sense. (April 30)