No one can write utter dysfunction and madness like the master himself. Every time I sit down and open a Palahniuk book I get a bit giddy. I know this book will leave me wondering what just happened but give me one great ride getting there.
Mr. Palahniuk's 8th book, Snuff, tells the tale of Cassie Wright, an aging porn star out to break the mother of all records for the pornography industry. She, in her final role, will sleep with 600 men on film in one shooting.
As you progress through just the beginning of the book you soon realize that no one expects Cassie to live through this, not even Cassie herself.
In the book you read from 3 characters 1st person recounting of them at the shoot. Mr. 72, Mr 137, and Mr. 600. You also get a narration from the days leading up to the shoot and the shoot from Cassie's personal assistant, Shelia.
Mr. 72 believes he is Cassie's son she gave up for adoption after she conceived him during her first adult movie, Mr. 137 is an out of work actor who lost his show due to a gay film he had made, and Mr. 600 is the co-star and believed father of Cassie's child.
Don't worry, it's as messed up as it sounds, but not in the ways you are thinking.
I can't say much more about the book without this review being a spoiler, which I refuse to do in any capacity for any book. Just know that if you enjoyed Palahniuk's other works you know what to expect from this one.
You're not going to have a clue what hit you.
What happened, Mr. Palahniuk? My first exposure to your wit and philosophy was through Fight Club. Your novel, Choke, was the hit that got me addicted. And then I soared through Lullaby, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Haunted. Then Rant. I could see it coming with Rant. The beginning of the end, but I could still see some of the Palahniuk I loved in Rant....but Snuff? WTH? The only trademark Palahniuk I could even remotely find in Snuff was the outrageous ending and the constant referral to men as masturbatory pet names. I felt the same way, reading this book, as I do when watching a bad Ben Stiller movie. I do not know what this book is trying to accomplish--but if it is complete and utter disgust and dismay.....
Okay, so the premise of the book is pure Palahniuk.
From the back cover:
"Six hundred dudes. One porn queen. A world record for the ages. A must-have movie for every discerning collector of things erotic.
Didn't one of us on purpose set out to make a snuff movie."
Okay, so it sounds funny and even intriguing. In reality it was extremely hard to follow. I kept wondering who was Mr. 137 again. I thought it drug along in the dust. There were a few classic funny moments. But I saw the 'surprise' ending far far away from the end. So it just didn't do much for me.
I think the genius of Mr. Palahniuk is that he takes things that are ordinary and makes us, forces us, to see them in an entirely different light. Lullaby is the best example of this in my opinion. For him to take his particular gift and turn it on the porn industry is to make himself the butt of the joke and not the industry in question.
I just didn't think it work. I hope his next book is better.
My god...I don't even know how to start on this. At times it made no sense but at times it made me laugh my ass off. The scene with 72's experience with the used blow up doll was extra hilarious!
What can you say about a book by Chuck Palahniuk that tells the story of the making of an epic porn film? If you like Chuck you know what you're in for, and if you don't know him, this is not the place to start. With that said, it is your typical ugliness, great trivial bits, and irony at its finest. Not one of my favorites, but still...if you are a fan, it is a must read. The ugliness of porn!