Chuck Palahniuk may be one of those rare authors who has built (for want of a better phrase) a cult of personalty which stems from his debut novel. Since then he has released over a dozen novels but it is Fight Club on which his fame seems to rest (and a series of live appearances in which attendees have been known to faint while Mr. P reads excerpts from his works.)
The controversial author released his first volume of short stories last year. The author goes out of his way to shock people (and it certainly worked for this reader.) I was trying to find a passage that (in my opinion) best exemplified what the author calls his “trangressive fiction” but I couldn’t find it. Perhaps it just as well. The title gives a hint as to the contents.
If you happen to share the pitch black humor of Mr. Palahniuk then you should enjoy these stories. Otherwise, you have been warned.
Like I said, the author likes to shock his readers. There is no doubt that Mr. Palahniuk has a gift for vividly realized prose and a knack for witty sayings (“The French have a word for what you’re thinking.”) Fans may praise him for his fearless breaking down of societal barriers and take-no-prisoners prose. Others (like this reader) may sense that the enigmatic expression on the back cover photo may actually be a sly smile. Like the naughty schoolboy who shocks his teacher by saying swearwords he learned on the playground. You decide.
Mr. Palahniuk is right about one thing. though. You can’t un-read these stories. Some of them stick with you … like wading through a field of weeds.