From the author of the international sensation FIGHT CLUB comes a powerful and hilarious novel about love and strife between mothers and sons, the addictive power of sex, the terrors of ageing, the ugly truth about historical theme parks, and much else. ..
Chuck Palahniuk is the author of fifteen best-selling novels - Make Something Up, Beautiful You, Doomed, Damned, Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Diary, Lullaby, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, and Fight Club. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees and the non-fiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him on the web at chuckpalahniuk.net.
In the course of his three novels (e.g., Fight Club), Palahniuk has become a master of depicting the dark and depraved underbelly of our society through the voices of mordantly existential protagonists. Choke is no exception. This time around, readers are ushered into a world of sexaholics, historical theme parks, and other bizarre matters by Victor Mancini, a medical school dropout who has resorted to fake choking in restaurants in order to pay the hospital expenses for his elderly mother, Ida. Ida also happens to be an anarchist whose social terror campaigns made Victor's childhood less than stable. Such is the universe of Palahniuk, who calls the norms of our society into question by presenting us with a parallel world where most of what we hold to be true is exposed as hallow or insane. His writing is as good and as funny as ever, and like many other Palahniuk characters, Victor is quite memorable. Some readers may be shocked and even repulsed by much of the subject matter here. Still, it is recommended for most public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/01.] Heath Madom, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
While it's always interesting to hear authors read their own work, this production is not likely to prompt a narrating career for Palahniuk (Fight Club) on par with his literary accomplishments. That's not to say, however, that his style doesn't work with this offbeat story of a sex-addicted medical school dropout whose gift is pretending to choke in restaurants and reaping the sympathy checks of the people who "save" him in order to pay for the care of his sick mother. Palahniuk reads with a husky, occasionally whiny voice that's rushed and intense. At times it seems like he's not reading at all, but reciting the novel from memory as he paces the floor with a cup of coffee in one hand and the fingers of the other pressed to his forehead while a cigarette smolders away in the ashtray. He brings a unique sensibility and opts for inflections that other narrators probably would not. After the book implores listeners to turn away and go no further in Chapter 1, for instance, Palahniuk reads the words "Chapter 2" in a tone of voice that says, "OK, you asked for it." That's a fitting sentiment for those who choose to listen, as this bizarre story is by turns hilarious and depressing, read in an idiosyncratic manner by an idiosyncratic author. Based on the Doubleday hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 2, 2001). (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Palahniuk's grotesque, exaggerated portrait of American society
certainly isn't pretty, but it grips like a vice all the same * The
A wonderful writer with a raw take on modern woes * The Face *
Mining a dark vein opened by Bret Easton Ellis and George Saunders, Palahniuk specialises in producing nightmarish visions of American society that manage to be both repugnant and hilarious - the reckless brilliance of his imagination keeps you turning the pages * Literary Review *
A raw and vital book, punctuated with outrageous, off-the-wall moments * New York Times *
The pungent imagery, the witty twists, the chunky rhythms are great * Financial Times *