The Palahniuk Problem

After spending countless hours poring over Chuck Palahniuk’s 2013 novel “Damned” for my Senior Research Thesis, I found him to be a remarkably relevant and yet complicated author. This observation is nothing new, no doubt, but my love for Palahniuk only goes so far…

In my project, I speculated that Palahniuk, being a postmodern author himself, was, in a twisted and grotesque way, through the quirky narrative of Madison Spencer, seeking to redefine the horrible perception of Hell as shown by Dante Alligheri in the “Divine Comedy”. Dante’s three part narrative, is perhaps updated by Palahniuk in Madison’s (hopefully) three fold story, of which the third is still pending.

I was lost in the genius of Madison’s narration, the sarcastic and satirical portrait of Hell and Satan was incredibly intriguing. So, naturally, as soon as I graduated, I set out to read the entirety of Palahniuk’s collected works. Which is where my Palahniuk problem is found.

I devoured Snuff and Lullaby, both of which were a bit underwhelming. Palahniuk’s seemingly strong obsession with the grotesque nature of the human body was hard to swallow in Snuff, but I could understand its intention. Lullaby was uniquely Palahniuk, and yet the story was just okay. I can’t imagine the movie being anywhere near as popular as Fight Club. Which brings me to Diary, which I barely got through.

I came to the conclusion that Palahniuk is an author best served in moderation. Reading four Palahniuk novels back to back will surely give you an unpleasant mood and demeanor as well as a sour outlook on humanity.

Though, admittedly, I need that every once and a while.



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