Stefan Beck, formerly of the New Criterion, reviews a commemorative edition of Naked Lunch for the invaluable Barnes and Noble Review:
Naked Lunch serves a very valuable and reliable purpose. Get to it early enough, somewhere between the Hardy Boys and Holden Caulfield, and the fatigue and tedium will inoculate you against all sorts of intellectual malfeasance. You'll never swallow the line that obscenity is a hallmark of genius, or that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom (usually it leads to the palace of excess, except when it leads to the hovel of incomprehensibility). Dismiss Burroughs as a pull-my-finger bore and you're ready to dismiss Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst, the Chapman Brothers, Jonathan Littell, and a host of others too dull to mention.
"I am not an entertainer," Burroughs wrote in 1959. You can sure as hell say that again.