cover image William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible: A Portrait

William Burroughs: El Hombre Invisible: A Portrait

Barry Miles. Hyperion Books, $22.95 (263pp) ISBN 978-1-56282-848-6

In this affable and affectionate biography, Miles ( Allen Ginsberg ), a friend of Burroughs since 1964, covers the controversial writer's addictions, idiosyncrasies and personal relationships, as well as his writings. Drawing on Burroughs's correspondences and on his own experiences with him, Miles gives only a cursory account of Burroughs's early life in St. Louis, where he was born in 1914, and his years in Latin America, Paris, Tangiers and London. But he updates other biographies with a chapter on Burroughs's life in Lawrence, Kansas, where he settled in 1984, and with a discussion of his impact on modern culture. Miles is best when considering the genesis and intermingling of Burroughs's fiction and nonfiction. Photos not seen by PW . (Aug.)