Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chuck Palahniuk/CHOKE

A book that begins with "If you're going to read this, don't bother" seems likely to be a book with attitude, and CHOKE delivers on that promise.

Victor Mancini isn't really a sex addict, but he goes to sex addict meetings for tips and to pick up women. While he works at a colonial theme park during the day, his real living comes from pretending to choke at a different restaurant every night, from the 'heroes' he creates who send him money after they've 'saved his life'. The book swings from scenes of Victor's (dreadful) childhood to his (bleak) present-day life.

There's so much going on in this novel, and so much of it was a surprise, that I don't want to give away any more of the plot. (If you're interested in this book, I'd suggest not reading any other review before you read the book, as some reviewers give away even the tiniest and most interesting details.)

A few of my favourite lines:
  • About an old woman: "Her face, the powdery crushed velvet mess of her skin, is a hundred wrinkles that all run into her mouth"
  • When a friend is bringing multiples of an object (don't want to say what!) into Victor's house: "'Dude, the place is filling up,' I say. 'It feels like we're living in the bottom half of an hourglass.' Like somehow we're running out of time."
  • About dealing with senile people at a nursing home: "This is less teaching than it is damage control. You might as well try to paint a house that's on fire."
This is my first Palahniuk book, but it won't be my last. I will need a bit of a break, though, before I read the next one: the dark and depressing world that Palahniuk makes so vivid isn't a comfortable place to be.

1 comment:

Leon Basin said...

He is freaking great! How are you doing?