Literary narcotics


Words and phrases, entire books at times can literally induce a sort of high, and since drugs in this form are generally fairly harmless (although they can become addictive too), I thought I could pass these tips along.


After I read the novel Morphin by Szczepan Twardoch in April, I came across Kokain, read that too, and then hit upon the idea of finding yet one more novel with a drug theme – in order to fashion a sort of mini narcotic collection, three seeming to be a better number than two. I wonder why that is. Most many-part books are trilogies rather than – what? Duologies?!


So I searched Amazon with either the word marijuana or cannabis, I can’t remember which, and it didn’t take me but three minutes to find and decide upon Budding Prospects by T.C. Boyle. I remember liking his novel East is East very much, and was not disappointed this time either. The reason it took me three minutes is because most of the titles that came up first were more along the how-to-manual line.



Morphin is about a young lieutenant in Warsaw in 1939 who wanders about in a haze of alcohol and morphine, between his wife and child, his Jewish lover and various cafés. Because his father is German and he is able to speak the language flawlessly he is recruited as an agent for the resistance movement and is sent on a mission to Budapest.


I just found a website about Polish literature which seems very promising in general, and it includes a longer description of this book as well as an excerpt:,literatura-polska,9660,morphine.html

Hopefully this will be published in English soon!



Kokain (Cocaine) by Pitigrilli was first published in 1922 and was considered so scandalous that it was even forbidden by the Catholic Church at some point. It’s about a young journalist who begins to write about the effects of cocaine and is drawn deeper and deeper into an extremely decadent society. Nothing in the novel is shocking now, but one has to remember the era it was written in, and back then it was very bold. But still very entertaining today (does not make one want to try the drug, especially after reading his descriptions of some of the aesthetic effects…)



Budding Prospects by T.C. Boyle is hilarious. For a half a million dollars, Felix and his friends are willing to plant and harvest a crop of cannabis in the hills of northern California, far from prying eyes. How difficult could it be to plant and grow two thousand seedlings on 390 acres while living in an isolated cabin for a few months, all financed by friend Vogelsang and with the assistance of Boyd, the botanical scientist? Kind of like summer camp…?

The dedication in the book made me smile too: This book is for my horticultural friends.


By the way - the cigarettes in the photo are not mine, although they are the very brand I used to smoke.


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