March 26, 2009

Paint Moar.

Chuck Palahnuik is one of those authors where I feel like, as an English Major, I am required by law to enjoy his writing, much in the same way I am required to take smoke breaks during night classes and to go out drinking every night to facilitate talking about “deep” topics. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I assumed I wouldn’t like Diary, a novel of his that I had to read for my novel class. My only real knowledge of his work was watching the movie of Fight Club, which Brer swore up and down I would connect with and I didn’t really at all, and hearing stories about his short story Guts but never looking it up to actually read it. This information told me, when I looked on the syllabus for my novel class, that I would dislike this book, but hey, at least it was short, so I wouldn’t have to suffer long.

When I started reading, it felt like my vague, baseless assumptions were right. Misty, the main character and narrator, is kind of hard to like. She’s extremely confrontational towards her husband, whom the book is “written” for and thus is aimed at with “yous” and whatnot. She seems very much like a complainer, blaming everyone for her problems, then blaming herself, then blaming everyone who tells her that she should be blaming herself. It’s just not all that fun to read.

However, the more and more I got into it, the more and more it’s brilliance got to me. Misty, the character, is a bit unlikable, but as her situation is slowly revealed, it’s clear why she’s so angry and so like she is. The plot is revealed very well, the situations are a bit surreal but not surreal enough for you to not believe they could be happening. I don’t even want to talk about the plot too much, actually. I feel like the way it is slowly shown to you is a lot of the book’s charm. It’s much like a Lost or something like that, only it’s very clear that every little fact is very planned, and every bit of it is going to pay off, (whereas I look at Lost and just see a bunch of cool ideas thrown together with a weak promise they’ll make sense, but then again, I haven’t seen much Lost, so take that as you will.) and that just keeps you turning pages again and again.
It’s also a really good example, to me anyway, of Post-modern fiction done well. Like anything, art can get really bogged down in tropes of movements like that, but this book uses them effectively, and that’s really great. The book breaks the fourth-wall in really fun ways, not just from the use of “you” throughout confusing the characters in the book and the reader, but also in other, spoilarz sort of ways.

Basically, the book hooked me, and before I knew it, it had overcome my prejudices and I was all in. I finished the book in two days of hard reading, and thoroughly enjoyed it. After the last two novels letting me down, pretty much, I was very glad that I hit another novel that really excited me. I can very easily recommend the book, especially since it’s fairly short. It’ll be an easy, fun read. Hopefully. It was for me, anyway.

Leave a comment