William S. Burroughs was born to a wealthy family on February 5, 1914 in St Louis. After leaving home in 1932 to attend Harvard University, Burroughs became involved in the contemporary counterculture. In work and in life Burroughs expressed a lifelong subversion of the morality, politics and economics of modern America. A novelist, poet, essayist, painter, and spoken word poet, he was a major figure in the Beat Generation and a collaborator on countless projects and recordings with renowned artists and musicians.
To escape the conditions of American culture, and in particular his experience as a homosexual and a drug-user, Burroughs left his homeland in 1949 for Mexico City and various South American locales, and soon after began writing. By the time of his death he was widely recognized as one of the most culturally significant, politically incisive, and inventive artists of the Twentieth Century. His numerous books include Naked Lunch, Junky, Queer, Nova Express, Interzone, The Wild Boys, The Ticket That Exploded and The Soft Machine. After living in Mexico City, Tangier, Paris, and London, Burroughs finally returned to America in 1974. He died in 1997.
Set in Mexico City during the early 1950s, Queer follows William Lee's hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene. As Lee breaks down, the trademark Burroughsian voice emerges, a maniacal mix of self-lacerating humor and the Ugly American at his ugliest. Originally written in 1952 but not published until 1985, Queer is an enigma—both an unflinching autobiographical self-portrait and a coruscatingly political novel, Burroughs' only realist love story and a montage of comic-grotesque fantasies that paved the way for his masterpiece, Naked Lunch.