Cities of the Red Night A Novel

William S. Burroughs




Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. This opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch is the first book in a trilogy that continues with The Place of Dead Roads and then The Western Plains, the last novel Burroughs published.


Praise for Cities of the Red Night

"Cities of the Red Night is Burroughs's masterpiece. In it, the world ends with a bang—and a barely perceived whimper, disguised by the wicked smile of one of the most dazzling magicians of our time."—Los Angeles Time Book Review

"Cities of the Red Night is not only Burroughs's best work, but a logical and ripening extension of all of Burroughs's great work."—Ken Kesey

"One should approach Cities of the Red Night as the Wagneresque capper of all the five or six homosexual planet-operas Burroughs has scripted since he found a genuine new style in Naked Lunch . . . It's as if we had gotten hold of a black ticket to his unconscious, and anyone who makes the trip will see sights and feel feelings that are unique and mind-bending beyond anyone else's description"—The Washington Post Book World

"Cities of the Red Night is the most complete and most devastatingly sardonic statement of William Burroughs's apocalyptic vision. Through his mordant satire of cultural aspirations, homosexual eroticism and political power, he focuses our gaze into the abyss. His cold, surgical language creates beauty through a terror that we are just able to bear . . . A modern Inferno."—Newsday

"Quirky, cryptic, raunchy . . . Burroughs's vision is unique, outrageous, and absolutely fascinating."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



  • William S. Burroughs

  • William S. Burroughs was born in St. Louis in 1914. His best-known work is 1959's Naked Lunch, which became the focus of a landmark 1962 Supreme Court decision that helped eliminate literary censorship in the United States. Described by Norman Mailer as one of America's few writers genuinely "possessed by genius," he died in 1997. His many other works include Junky and The Place of Dead Roads.