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Chuck Palahniuk's nine previous novels are the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film by David Fincher; Survivor; Invisible Monsters; Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg; Lullaby; Diary; Haunted; Rant; and Snuff. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, a nonfiction profile of Portland, Oregon, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Palahniuk's 10th novel (after Snuff) is a potent if cartoonish cultural satire that succeeds despite its stridently confounding prose. A gang of adolescent terrorists trained by an unspecified totalitarian state (the boys and girls are guided by quotations attributed to Marx, Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, etc.) infiltrate America as foreign exchange students. Their mission: to bring the nation to its knees through Operation Havoc, an act of mass destruction disguised as a science project. Narrated by skinny 13-year-old Pgymy, the propulsive plot deconstructs American fixtures, among them church ("religion propaganda distribution outlet"), spelling bees ("forced battle to list English alphabet letters") and TV news reporters ("Horde scavenger feast at overflowing anus of world history"), before moving on to a Columbine-like shooting spree by a closeted kid who has fallen in love with the teenage terrorist who raped him in a shopping mall bathroom. Decoding Palahniuk's characteristically scathing observations is a challenge, as Pygmy's narrative voice is unbound by rules of grammar or structure (a typical sentence: "Host father mount altar so stance beside bin empty of water"), but perseverance is its own perverse reward in this singular, comic accomplishment. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"A cunning mix of advertising copy, leftist sloganeering and teen slang.... Pygmy is a dish for those who like their satire well done. And without apology." --San Francisco Chronicle "Palahniuk's twisted imagination is still in full bloom." --The Seattle Times "[A] hilarious cover-to-cover read." --The Baltimore City Paper "Inventive, hilarious, moving and deeply disturbing." --Playboy "Palahniuk is brilliant." --The Washington Post Book World "Palahniuk's novels have always been driven by black humor. . . . His minimalist, verb-heavy style propels the narratives through the many bizarre, occasionally shocking events. . . . A full portrait of an unforgettable character. Pygmy is yet another unique direction for an author who continues to challenge and intrigue readers." --The Boston Globe "A rip-roaringly exciting piece of writing, a truly graphic novel. . . . It has moments of poetry within." --The Telegraph (London) "Chuck Palahniuk is William S. Burroughs and David Foster Wallace rolled into one." --San Diego Union-Tribune "Violent, outrageous, and darkly hilarious." --National Post "Palahniuk is brilliant at juxtaposing Pygmy's insane background with the madness of contemporary Western society." --The Washington Post Book World "Give Pygmy to your kid. He'll think you're rad." --Esquire "A poignant commentary on culture clash with a sinister and violent twist. It's what one might expect if movie-violence king Quentin Tarantino had written Borat." --The London Free Press "Palahniuk . . . knows all about escalating action to a thrilling finale. More impressively, he starts to make us feel for Pygmy, and introduces a more human side to this previously impenetrable character. . . . Pretty funny." --The Independent (London) "A jarring and evocative narrative culminating in something both cruel and humane. . . . Culture clash with a Palahniuk twist." --Bookreporter "Think Faulkner writing as a demented Chinese Pinko-Commie youth with a deadly killing stroke and a near constant erection. . . . The apocalypse of the American Dream has never been so entertaining." --Death + Taxes magazine