Judging from the reviews I have read on the Net I am probably one of the few who read Chuck Palahniuk’s 2010 novel “Tell-All” and actually, well, liked is too strong a word. Let’s say, intrigued.
Maybe it is because I am a boomer and have watched old movies since I was knee high to a television but I actually recognize most of those names in bold print littered throughout the text.
And I actually did not see that final plot twist coming (and I read a lot of cheap mysteries) although I admit that I read most of the book late in the evening when I was half asleep.
I appreciate a bit of wordplay so the puns attributed to various gossip columnists of the era like Walter Winchell, Louella Parsons and Elsa Maxwell (I thought) sounded clever and authentic. (In fact, I wondered whether the plays on words were originals by the author or whether Chuck had actually trawled through old columns by Winchell and others.)
The story, such as it is, is set during “the Golden Age of Hollywood – although judging from this novel, it could also be called “the Golden Age of Hollywood Artificiality, Secrets and Lies”
As for the animal noises preceding some of the names, well, the author explains their use in the latter part of the book.
Unlike most critics of the novel, who spent most of their opening paragraphs comparing the book unfavorably with previous works by Chuck (or lumping it in with similar Palahniuk novels they didn’t like) I have never read any other novels by this particular author. But I have certainly heard of his notoriety. In fact, that is what made me grab this book. It was at the front of the library on a shelf marked “Staff Picks”. And so I decided to see what all the fuss was about (despite a warning from one reviewer that this was for hardcore Palahniuk fans only.)
I admired what the author was trying to do although I gotta say the only review I read where I thought the writer has really “got it” was a review I read by a guy named Liam Dodds in something called “The Gothic Imagination” which seems to be part of a website for a Scottish university.
Here is the link in case you are curious: http://www.gothic.stir.ac.uk/reviews/chuck-palahniuk-tell-all/
And, no, I don’t plan on reading “Fight Club” (or seeing the film based on the book.