Take in as much air as you can.
This story should last about as long as you can hold your breath, and then just a little bit longer. So listen as fast as you can.”
An excerpt from a short story that should last about as long as you can hold your breath, and then a little bit longer. So how long is a short? Well, that depends on how fast you can read. Or at least, how fast Chuck Palahniuk thinks you can read.
A cult icon and a writer first; a human being second. Palahniuk has that ability: the ability to rip open his reader’s minds and let them fall face first into his writing. The reprehensible scribbling of this novelist is inspired by friends, family, and personal experiences. He can flesh out the best and worst possible events that could ever take place in one’s lifetime and perhaps even beyond. And the reader gets to live it, through the 300 hundred pages or so that they are betrothed by.
1962 a symbolic year for the future of our culture: it was the year we entered our corporate fate with the opening of Wal-Mart, a beloved idol by the name of Marilyn succumbed to addiction and perished, the Cold War sustained, Andy Warhol decided soup was considered art, and silicone breast implants were used for the first time.
1962 also brought an imminent life form into the world by the name of Charles. A boy from Burbank Washington who graduated in 1980 from Columbia high, with the prominent “Most-Wittiest” student award: clearly a prophecy to the rest of his life. This clever young man quickly unraveled into the transgressional fictional novelist we know today as Chuck Palahniuk.
Chuck’s most celebrated novels include the dirty secrets of sex addicts and porn stars, detailed recipes for explosives, satirical fates of the working poor and legends of an uncensored society. Chuck’s characters all seem to run some sort of scam and have an unorthodox way of getting their dirtiest desires met which can relate in so many ways to today’s wicked society.
Chuck’s first book Insomnia: If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Already remains unpublished, however some aspects were salvaged and used in his third and most successful novel Fight Club. Invisible Monsters was the second novel written by Palahniuk but was considered to be too dark to be published. Ironically Fight Club - a much more ominous novel was then published, which just goes to show just how sinister our society really is. Invisible Monsters was later released. Survivor was the next book that was published which is considered to be a satirical commercial cultural story of a man involved in a death cult whose life is exploited when he is the only member of this religious group left. This marked the beginning of Palahniuk’s own cult following. Other substantially famous novels include: Snuff the story of a porn priestess who intends to top her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication in a porn movie; Diary which is the “coma-chronicles” kept by a women whose husband has been left in a coma after a suicide attempt as well as Haunted which is made up of twenty-three of the most horrific, side-splitting, stomach churning narratives centered around a group of people taking part in a secret writers’ retreat.
Several of Chuck’s novels have been successful enough to become movies. Most famously Fight Club starring Edward Norton and Brad Pit as the deeply disturbed schizophrenic character Tyler Durden. Adapted by director David Fincher, the film was released in 1999. Another novel turned movie was more recently Choke directed by Clark Gregg depicting the life of a sex-addict con-man who scams people into giving him money by pretending to choke at restaurants. Titles such as Survivor, Invisible Monsters & Haunted are also in the process of becoming major features. It is still too early in production to predict the future of such films.
The known future of Chuck Palahniuk lies with the upcoming novel to be released in May of 2009: Pygmy, based around a protagonist terrorist whose science project is intended to kill millions when it explodes in Washington. The unknown future is just about as mysterious as the inner workings of Chuck himself. The man’s ability to merely describe, whether it be through his short stories, fiction or non-fiction can send the most intense chills up your spine, implant horrifically detailed images in your mind, and make you sick to your stomach just by words. His use of the English language has the capability to take the breath straight from your lungs.
“Now you can take a good, deep breath. I still have not”