Understanding Chuck Palahniuk
In this first comprehensive introduction to Palahniuk's fiction, Keesey reveals how this writer's outrageous narratives are actually rooted in his own personal experiences, how his seemingly unprecedented works are part of the American literary tradition of protagonists in search of an identity, and how his negative energy is really social satire directed at specific ills that he diagnoses and wishes to cure. After tracing the influence of his working-class background, his journalistic education, and his training as a "minimalist" writer, Understanding Chuck Palahniuk exposes connections between the writer's novels by grouping them thematically: the struggle for identity (Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, Choke); the horror trilogy (Lullaby, Diary, Haunted); teen terrors (Rant, Pygmy); porn bodies and romantic myths (Snuff, Tell-All, Beautiful You); and a decidedly unorthodox revision of Dante's Divine Comedy (Damned, Doomed).
Drawing on numerous author interviews and written in an engaging and accessible style, Understanding Chuck Palahniuk should appeal to scholars, students, and fans alike.
"Keesey's study of literary America's enfant most terrible is remarkable for an economy that never compromises comprehensive insight into Palahniuk's many fictions. Understanding Chuck Palahniuk is the best kind of vade mecum—it will be valued by readers at every level, from those who are discovering just how far 'shocking the bourgeois' has come since the early days of modernism to those seeking to assess the viability of the avant-garde in literary environments that are postmodern and (some would say) post-postmodern."—David Cowart, author of The Tribe of Pyn: Literary Generations in the Postmodern Period
"Understanding Chuck Palahniuk is the resource Palahniuk's readers have been waiting for. Douglas Keesey's comprehensive guide to this quirky, timely author is elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and always engaging, informative, and accessible. This book is sure to become the go-to reference for students, scholars, teachers, and fans."—Naomi Mandel, University of Rhode Island
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