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Chuck Palahniuk, Copyright: Chris Saunders
Chuck Palahniuk
in: Pasco, Washington

Official Homepage:
the cult

Read the
interview at
the National Post

Sacred and Immoral: On the Writings of Chuck Palahniuk, by Jeffrey A. Sartain
"Sacred and Immoral:
On the Writings of
Chuck Palahniuk"
by J.A. Sartain
1996 .|. Fight Club
1999 .|. Survivor Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
1999 .|. Invisible Monsters Excerpt from Barnes & Noble
2001 .|. Choke Excerpt from Random House
2002 .|. Lullaby Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookworm's Comment
2002 .|. Dog Culture: Writers on
     the Character of Canines
2003 .|. Fugitives and Refugees
2003 .|. Diary Excerpt from Random House
2004 .|. Stranger than Fiction: True Stories Excerpt from Random House
2005 .|. Haunted Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookreporter.com
2007 .|. Rant: An Oral Biography
     of Buster Casey
Excerpt from Random House
.|. Bookreporter.com
2008 .|. Snuff Excerpt from Random House
2009 .|. Pygmy Excerpt from Random House .|. Bookreporter.com
2010 .|. Tell all
2011 .|. Damned
Official "Lullaby" Website: http://www.lullaby-book.com.
Official "Diary" Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/diary/.
Offizielle "Haunted" Website: http://www.haunted-book.com.
MySpace-Page for Snuff.
Bedtime Stories for Pygmy book tour
Case Study Operative Family Bear Animals
Case Study Operative Witch
Case Study Cloaked Operative Snuff

"Survivor" (Vintage, Paperback, 7th edition, 2000, read: February 2004)
"Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult, has commandeered a Boeing 747, emptied of passengers, in order to tell his story to the plane's black box before it crashes. Brought up by the repressive cult and, like all creedish younger sons, hired out as a domestic servant, Tender finds himself suddenly famous when his fellow cult members all commit suicide. As media messiah he ascends to the very top of the freak-show heap before finally and apocalyptically spiralling out of control."

A crazy and fast-paced american novel which is hard to put down before you're finished with it.
Mercilessly exaggerated and sarcastic we're told about the life of Tender Branson. He is the last survivor of a religious suicide-cult and therefore has become a media star. As long as he is able to predict a miracle every week, stay in shape and follow his agents advice his fans will love him. They buy his books and his perfume, watch his TV-specials and wear his t-shirts. But sometime or other this has to end and now he's the only passenger on board a Boeing 747, prepared to crash somewhere over Australia. Until then he tells his life's story to the black box.
The chapters and page numbers are running backwards as a kind of countdown and you already know the outcome. But what's inbetween is so absurd that you just can't stop reading. With seemingly endless repetitions Palahniuk shows how laughable the behaviour and the fate of his protagonist are. Being it the secrets of stain removal, the endless suggestions by the agent what the future holds in store for him or the problems of the people who call his telephone hotline.
But the main topic of the book is suicide. The members of the cult all commit suicide to avoid an investigation of their practices. Tender gets the callers of his hotline to kill themselves and finally he's able to die quite spectacularly and you just know that this will immortalize him in the eyes of the public.

Its a satirical requital with the american craving for media sensations, religious cults and life-confessions. A great novel for everyone who likes macabre stories.
[Dorothée Büttgen, April 04]

"Lullaby" (Doubleday, Hardcover, 1st edition, 2002, read: December 02)
"Carl Streator is a solitary widower and fortyish newspaper reporter who is assigned to do a series of articles on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In the course of this investigation, he discovers an ominous thread: the presence on the scenes of these deaths of the anthology Poems and Rhymes Around the World, opened to the page where there appears an African chant or "culling song". This song turns out to be lethal when spoken or even thought in Streator's brain, he finds himself becoming an involuntary serial killer. So he teams up with a real estate broker, one Helen Hoover Boyle, who specializes in selling haunted (or "distressed") houses (wonderfully high turnover), and who lost a child to the culling song years before. Together they set out on a cross-country odyssey. Their goal is to remove all copies of the book from libraries, lest this deadly verbal virus spread and wipe out human life. Accompanying them on their road trip are Helen's assistant, Mona Sabbat, an exquisitely earnest Wiccan, and her sardonic ecoterrorist boyfriend, Oyster, who is running a scam involving fake liability claims and business blackmail. Welcome to the new nuclear family. "

"Lullaby" is counted among the best horror novels from 2002 and the premise is really fascinating. A nursery rhyme which can kill and a man, Carl, who only has to think of the rhyme and the person next to him drops dead. Who is so crazy to travel with Carl to destroy every existing copy of the book? After all sometimes Carl doesn't even think of the rhyme on purpose. His companions go on a journey across America with a ticking time-bomb. It seems for the people involved the wish to find the origin of the rhyme is stronger than their fear of death. The origin must be a so-called "Book of Shadows" where witches write down their spells. And its possible that this book doesn't only consist of the nursery-rhyme but of other potent spells as well which might be able to change the world. The horror in this novel is in the idea that something as harmless as a nursery-rhyme can kill. And in the end of the story events happen because of witchcraft you might not want to imagine in greater detail. But most of the time its about four people traveling across the US from one library to another and the constant threat they face from Carl. In the long run that's not so horrific anymore.
I had to get used to Palahniuk's style of writing. Because it's the first book of him I've read I can't say if the writing is typical for him. Jumping around between narrators, times and plots is confusing and not always easy. In the end everything makes sense but I'm not sure if so much confusion is really necessary to tell an interesting story.
A great story which is not always easy to fathom. But definitely an author who made me curious for his other works.
[Dorothée Büttgen, January 03]

More great reviews from Bookworm's Lair:

Clive Barker, The Damnation Game     Douglas Coupland, Girlfriend in a Coma     Todd Komarnicki, Famine     Thomas Staab, Heart of Ice, Blood of Fire

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