Punk songs all sounding alike

Palahniuk's Snuff

by Nikki Tranter

19 May 2008


I used to agree with the San Francisco Examiner that Chuck Palahniuk was the New Millennium’s answer to Kurt Vonnegut. Ten years ago, I would have scragged to the death anyone who didn’t think Fight Club was best book ever, and that Palahniuk was the first writer since Martin Amis to really understand what we Young Folks were all about. IKEA-shmikea!

But then, a few books on, I was starting to feel like I’d read it all before. Yeah, Survivor was all right. And, yeah, so I made my mum read Invisible Monsters because it was just so weird and cool. But after Choke and Lullaby, I lost interest. Piss and vomit went back to being turn-offs, and I became tired of reading the cynical points of view of so many Tyler Durden re-treads. The Amazon reader reviews of Diary were enough to keep me away from that one, and I haven’t cared to pick up a Chuck book since.

Why, then, am I now suddenly interested in Snuff? The book jacket features what appears to be the mouth of a giant blow-up doll, and the plot revolves around a porn star undertaking a 600-player gangbang before exiting the sex industry. Skeevy more than titillating, but I think this could be the book I pick up to find out once and for all if Chuck Palahniuk is actually a big fraud with only one voice in his head dished out to an array of pitiable characters.

I can’t figure it—this is not going to be any different to any other Palahniuk rant, but I’m drawn. Maybe in the same way I was drawn to that Annabel Chong movie? Maybe Chuck has me pegged, after all?

Palahniuk is all over the place this week, with the book about to hit shelves. Here he talks to Los Angeles Times about his influences, his style, and his passion for short fiction:

Punk songs all sounded alike ... They started really intense, for 2 1/2 minutes, and then ended abruptly. And I found that really colored my taste in short stories. I wanted a story to enter midstream, and then go for several pages, and then end on these rushed, clunky notes.

Cherie Parker at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reviews the book rather positively here.

And then there’s this piece in Black Book—the one article that might truly have sealed the deal and forced me into buying Snuff. Just check out this intro:

It’s about time Chuck Palahniuk did porn. The author—cult hero to millions—has scribbled his acid ink all over the grotesqueries of contemporary American society. But never has he twisted a tale around the adult entertainment industry. Maybe it just spoke for itself. Well, now that Palahniuk is finally doing porn, he’s not wearing any protection.

Yep—I’m so buying it.

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