I finished my first Chuck Palahniuk novel a month or so back. It was on LC‘s advice that I picked it up initially after he was surprised to learn that Palahnuik wasn’t on my ‘list’. So I bought the first novel I saw of his because I had no preconceptions about what would be good and what would be bad. As it turned out, Choke was an excellent first read.
Choke is a novel about sexual addiction, although only about half of the book focused on that. The remainder of the book was about Victor’s – the protagonist’s – elderly (and devious) mother, and his best friend, Denny, who was also a sex addict. The three of them, and the many characters they met (and shagged, generally) along way were a sorry bunch all told, but it made for great reading. It became rather more a novel about lonely and lost souls than about addictions to sex.
By my guess, Palahniuk’s main art is in the creation of despicable characters for whom we can’t help but develop an affection. I base this suggestion on Victor, mainly, but also on his manipulative mother. They’re both vile in many ways but I found myself really growing to like them. Fight Club’s Tyler Durden also comes to mind, but as I’ve only ever seen the film, I’m not sure how closely the film character was to the Durden of the novel. Here are three characters, however, who most of us would avoid in real life, but who absorb us in the written form. We don’t like them, probably, but we do sort of love them. In fact, I’ve often wondered had Durden been played by someone much less pretty than Brad Pitt, if this trait would have been more obvious. Marla Singer – there’s another one.
In any case, I want more Palahniuk now – he’s a very talented man. Suggestions are welcome.