Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Chuck Palahniuk

 I heard about Chuck Palahniuk after watching Fight Club. I thought it was a good film with great actors; and a fantastic twist!

I discovered Fight Club was actually a book, so off I went in search, and I was hooked on the style, on the shape and form of the prose - and the much more realistic ending. Then I discovered that Fight Club wasn't actually his best book. I've read Invisible Monsters and Haunted (which I never completed - trying far too hard to be gory and becoming a parody of himself, sadly), but my absolute favourite is Diary.

Haunted, incidentally, is the novel that caused several men to faint at a reading as Palahniuk gave a graphic account of some damage to the male anatomy.
 
Chuck Palahniuk's Goodreads page
Diary is about a woman who always wanted to be an artist but never thought of herself as any good. She got married, had a daughter, acquired a pushy mother-in-law, and then her husband ends up in hospital in a coma. The flashbacks are really well-handled, in that they don't glare off the page, they flow with the rest of the story.

The plot jumps along at quite a pace, and I must admit, the idea of a man in a coma for the whole novel inspired a character in my latest novel MS. It also - much to my dismay, because I'm not sure how to recitfy it - leant itself to the tone of half of my novel, until a point where Palahniuk's voice fades out and mine appears. One of my betas who knows me very well actually noticed the change of voice, so I know it's obvious, and I know I can't attempt to sell a novel that's half written in someone else's voice. Especially a voice as obvious as Palahniuk's. But because it's so strong, and because it lends itself so well to that part of the novel I can't even re-write the first sentence - it's just so perfect the way it is!

I would add that if you're going to check him out on my recommendation, go for some earlier stuff. The repeated hooks - almost refrains - that I thought worked well in Fight Club and Diary are used to excess later on. Maybe he thought because it worked in a couple of novels it would work in them all! Actually, I may have more mixed feelings about Palahniuk than I thought!


My aim of this post wasn't to advertise, but coincidentally...
C is also for Cat and the Dreamer, my new novella.
Please feel free to check out the links on the top of the left-hand column :-)
Thank you!

52 comments:

  1. Becoming a parody of oneself. That's gotta bite.

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  2. Nothing wrong with self promotion! I'm embarrassed to admit I never heard of the author. How sad is that? I'll have to check out Diaries. The rest sounds a little too gritty for me.

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    1. I think he's one of those 'if you know about him, you really know about him' types. All of his stuff is highly imagined, to say the least :-)

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  3. I love Chuck Palahnuik although some of his books are a bit too hard to stomach. Never read Fight Club as I loved the film too much but Diary is brilliant. My favourite is probably Survivor though. He's not an easy read but, as you say, definitely worth reading some of the earlier stuff.
    Good luck with your novella. It sounds fab! :-)

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    1. I've never read Survivor, but I've heard someone else say that, so I might give it a go.

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  4. Thank you so much for the information. I will have to check him out, as his work sounds interesting. Thank you for mentioning your new novella as well. I am going to check it out too.

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  5. It's really annoying when you write something perfect, but know it needs changing. I feel your pain!

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    1. Yes, and I have no idea how, at the moment!

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  6. I've seen Fightclub but never read the book. Didn't realize the movie was made from a book. But then again, aren't majority now made into movies? I've heard of Cat and The Dreamer :) Maybe that will be a movie one day!

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    1. I'm not keen on the way all films seem to have come from books these days. If it happened to mine, I'm not sure I'd want it to go ahead... I suppose the money might sway me, but I hate to think that!

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  7. Think I'll skip Haunted then...

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    1. Reading his account, I think a couple of women also fainted :-D

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  8. I've never read his work. Think I'll have to now. But I'll follow your recommendation and stick with the earlier works.

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  9. I need to add Pal...Pulin...Chuck to my reading list.

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    1. Haha... I wrote that whole post spelling his name wrong, then had to change it. I remember it now - Palah-ni-uk. I remember the ending because I'm from the UK - I wrote that without checking the post!

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  10. Chuck Palahniuk is really an interesting writer. I've never read Diary before but I'll be sure to look for it while I'm at the library today.

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    1. I'd be interested to hear what you think of it. All this recommending is making me question my tastes :-)

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  11. Ok, ok, I need to just read a CP book. Also Vonnegut. I have them on my shelves, somehow I just haven't gotten around to it yet. But I will!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. I should read Vonnegut, he's somehow passed me by.

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  12. THanks for introducing us to Chuck. Sounds like his books could be something I'd enjoy reading. :)
    Great A-Z post!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  13. Palahniuk and I have so much love for each other (okay, I just have love for him because he doesn't know I exist, but I try to emulate his graphic style when I delve into certain scenes in my writing).

    He's not afraid to "go there" and I think a lot of other writers are. Haunted is a perfect example of that.

    Did you read Pygmy? There was one graphic part, but the style in that was so different from his other books, and I actually really liked it.

    - RADesilets
    My writing blog

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    1. I've not read Pygmy, I'll check it out. I just found Haunted was too self-absorbed, if that makes sense in a novel.

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  14. I've seen Fight Club, twas good, but I wouldn't call it a favor. The only CP book I have read was Diary, and to be honest it wasn't for me. It's one of those weird books though, we're I'll never forget it, but I didn't like it.

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    1. I love books that are outside expectation.

      Brad Pitt helps the film flow, doesn't it? ;-)

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  15. I've not read his books but I'm guessing they wouldn't be for me - I'm pretty much a complete wimp.

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    1. Ah, maybe not... You never know though - just stay away from Haunted!

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  16. I've never heard of him, although I know of the movie Fight Club... he sounds a bit too gory for me. As you say, maybe one of his earlier works would be better to read...

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    1. The early ones are still quite gory (although I've completely forgotten what order they're published) but the later ones try too hard to be stylised, so the story gets lost under the writing.

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  17. I didn't even know Fight Club was based on a book! I feel totally ignorant now LOL. I will have to check Palahniuk, Diary sounds really intriguing to me.

    Congrats again on Cat and the Dreamer! I have it on my Kindle and can't wait to read it. As soon as this crazy blogging month is over LOL.

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    1. Thanks for buying Cat! It is crazy, isn't it, even four days in?

      I didn't realise it was a film either, until Hubby pointed it out.

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  18. congrats on your novella and I think shameless self promotion is good - hey, I plan to promote My Zoo World (yep, a book on Amazon). Anyway, Chuck P. can be a tough read, but he's a great writer and worth discovering. Nice to meet you on A to Z. Come visit www.wordsplash-joannefaries.blogspot.com

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    1. Hehe thanks Joanne - self-promo all the way! I'll pop over to visit you soon!

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  19. I have heard good things about the book and movie, but have seen neither. I really should remedy that!

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  20. My WRiTE CLUB has rules based on Fight Club. Never read the book though.

    DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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    1. I expect there's a lot less blood in WRiTE CLUB?

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  21. I haven't seen or read this, but it does sound interesting.
    Karen

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    1. His work is definitely 'interesting' :-)

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  22. Hello dear - popping over to say hi! I'll have to check these out - i love what DL Hammons just said about his Write Club :D

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    1. Hi Melissa! How's the A-Z going for you?

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  23. I haven't read all of his but my favorite so far is Rant. I never hear anyone talk about it but I really loved it.

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    1. I've not read that one either - to be honest, I hadn't realised how many books he's written. I've got a couple to check out myself now!

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  24. Loved Fight Club...will have to check out your suggestion! DL Hammons...haa Write Club is perfect!

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    1. I think the book is better, it makes a little bit more sense in a couple of places.

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    2. Hi again. I'd love to return your follow, but I'm not sure which blog to follow - let me know and I'll drop by!

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  25. I'll have to add him to the list - I'll definitely go for the early stuff though :-)

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    1. Be prepared for a little weirdness, and you'll be fine!

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  26. I think Fight Club (very relevant if you're a guy) and Survivor are my favourites.

    mood

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Please comment - I love a good chat!