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Reflections of a working writer and reader




Lucy Ellmann in the New York Times gives Chuck Palahniuk a scathing review for his latest novel, Snuff.

So not only has America tried to ruin the rest of the world with its wars, its financial meltdown and its stupid food, it has allowed its own literary culture to implode. Jazz and patchwork quilts are still doing O.K., but books have descended into kitsch.

“Instead of any real creative effort,” she wails:

Palahniuk chucks at us every bit of porno-talk he can muster. But not in a good way. This is no celebration of a field in which America excels — the hatching of new vocabulary — but an exercise in deadening the English language.

I’ve come across several books I could describe in exactly the same way. Haven’t we all?

One Response to “Johnny-One-Note”

  1. Rachel says:

    That’s pretty sad – I used to be excited about his books. I devoured Fight Club, found Invisible Monsters to be both touching and intriguing, and adored Survivor. Even Choke was daringly crass but still witty in places.
    I put down Diary, unable to continue reading. I was so completely disappointed by Haunted that I can’t bring myself to give it to anyone – I keep telling them what an awful book it was. The premise was interesting, but the execution seemed to be just another reality TV show. Bland, excessively sensationalistic, and without message. The ending note from the author actually made my impression of the book worse. He set out to revolt his readers. Having seen this review, I am unlikely to pick up any of his books ever again.
    I know we can’t all like everything – but why does he need to go the route of Hostel or Saw to tell a story? I read things like Steppenwolf and Starship Troopers and I know the point can be demonstrated in other ways. I suppose I just don’t get it.