Sunday, August 2, 2009

DNF. Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk


Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk

Pages: 241
Ages: 18++
First Published: May 5, 2009
Genre: Satire
Rating: DNF

First sentence:

Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67, on arrival Midwestern American airport great ###### area.


Reason for Reading: I've read quite a few reviews of Palahniuk's books and was intrigued enough to want to give him a try. I had the impression he might be like Christopher Moore (whom I love) but with a lot more edge. I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: I did not finish this book. I made it to page 91 out of 241 and just could not keep going anymore. Therefore, this is not a review but the reasons why I couldn't finish the book. First, the narrative is written completely in clipped, broken English which is full of (older era Chinese-like) Communist phrasing. This is very hard to read. At first, I thought it was a joke, but no, the whole book is written this way. It tired real fast for me. Second, the violence is brutal. There is a rape scene is the boys' bathroom which illustrates the level of violence. Plus the violence is set within a supposedly humourous satire which brings us to my third and final point. I did not find it funny, in the least. I did not laugh, giggle or even chuckle, not even once. I must say this book was absolutely not my cup of tea. I do not see myself reading the author again. Of course, your opinion may differ. Indeed Chuck Palahniuk is a best-selling author, with films made from two of his novels. Here is the publisher's description of this book, perhaps it will be more to your liking than it was mine.

“Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc.”

Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates Americans with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of a xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified.


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5 comments:

  1. I sometimes think that Chuck Palahniuk is an acquired taste. I have only read one of his books, and while I managed to read it all and therefore must have enjoyed it to some extent, it also put me off from reading anything else by him. I know lots of people love his books though. I just don't think he's for me.

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  2. I have this... I have never read him before either and also got it for pure curiousity. Have to see what I think!

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  3. Joy - I tried to somewhat tactful with my quasi-review. But you took the words right out of my mouth, girl!

    Wendy - Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I agree I've heard glowing reviews of his books hence my initial interest but, nope, not for me.

    Kailana - I will be really interested in your take on this!

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  4. I've read a couple of his books and enjoyed them. (Well, maybe enjoyed isn't exactly the right word...) This one doesn't sound like my cup 'o tea, though.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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