I have tried, valiantly, to keep up with Chuck Palahniuk. Upon moving here in 2005 he was one of my favorite contemporary authors. I worked at Barnes & Noble in Lloyd Center where we were all thrilled when he strolled in, unassuming, polite, clad in cargo shorts and running shoes, to sign copies of Haunted, which I had read and loved. He worked at a steady clip and never failed to be creative, provocative, and hilarious. The following year, when he put out Rant, I was eager to read it. I picked the novel up in its first week of release and read the first five pages or so. Then I put it down for about a week, picked it up again and read the first five pages or so. Then I put it down for a month.
After that I decided to get off my ass and read the book. I made it about twenty pages in before giving up. The book then made its way to the bottom of my shelf, and eventually I gave it to a friend.
And so it has gone with every subsequent Palahniuk novel. I don't want to go so far as to say Chuck's lost it, but the last three novels have not grabbed me. I was optimistic reading the liner notes for his newly released Tell-All, but a sampling of the first chapter and Paul Constant's brutal take down at The Stranger have me doubtful. Have I simply read too many of his books? HAS he lost it? Or am I just waiting for another polished, sprawling work like Haunted? Let me know so I don't have to wait for the Mercury review next week.
All that said, the synopsis of next year's release Damned, posted on his website, does sound pretty cool.
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