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With a first page that captures the reader hook, line and sinker, Palahniuk (Choke; Lullaby) plunges into the odd predicament of Waytansea Island resident and ex-art student Misty Marie Kleinman, whose husband, Peter, lies comatose in a hospital bed after a suicide attempt. Rooms in summer houses on the mainland that Peter has remodeled start to mysteriously disappear-"The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing"-and Misty, with the help of graphologist Angel Delaporte, discovers that crude and prophetic messages are scrawled across the walls and furniture of the blocked-off chambers. In her new world, where every day is "another longest day of the year," Misty suffers from mysterious physical ailments, which only go away while she is drawing or painting. Her doctor, 12-year-old daughter and mother-in-law, instead of worrying about her health, press her to paint more and more, hinting that her art will save exclusive Waytansea Island from being overrun by tourists. In the meantime, Misty is finding secret messages written under tables and in library books from past island artists issuing bold but vague warnings. With new and changing versions of reality at every turn, the theme of the "tortured artist" is taken to a new level and "everything is important. Every detail. We just don't know why, yet." The novel is something of a departure for Palahniuk, who eschews his blighted urban settings for a sinister resort island, but his catchy, jarring prose, cryptic pronouncements and baroque flights of imagination are instantly recognizable, and his sharp, bizarre meditations on the artistic process make this twisted tale one of his most memorable works to date.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Palahniuk's sixth novel takes the form of a so-called coma diary written for Peter Wilmot, who is comatose after a running-car-in-garage suicide attempt (he started with the gas tank half-empty, proving his inability to do anything well). While Peter wastes away in a hospital, his family and friends waste away on Waytansea Island ("Everyone's in their own personal coma," Palahniuk writes with his trademark optimism). Peter's art-school-prodigy-turned-bitter-waitress wife, Misty, can't afford the family mansion anymore. Tourists have overrun the whole island, and the old-money families have spent all of their old money. But no one on the island seems to care about their community-wide coma. They just want Misty to paint. She refuses--until she begins to suffer tortuous headaches that only abate when she paints. The islanders seem suspiciously keen on seeing Misty's work continue, and the only way to keep her painting is to keep her miserable. Palahniuk's fans haven't seen plot twists this good since Fight Club, but this book lacks the manic humor that makes his better novels so engrossing. The fantastically grotesque premise propels the story, but the writing lacks the satirical precision that made Palahniuk a hero to young nihilists everywhere (see his take on the travel book, reviewed on p.1858). Instead, it often reads like a self-indulgent complaint about the terrible suffering of artists. Still, excellent plotting and a compelling allegory will satisfy the majority of Palahniukites. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I've read most of Chuck Palahniuk's books, and they're typically hit or miss. By the time you reach the end, your either extremely satisfied or a little disappointed. Read morePublished 11 months ago by J Fisher
Diary is an incredibly entertaining, yet morbid, novel to read. I was pulled in right away and didn't put the novel down until I was finished with it, the way I was when I read... Read morePublished on March 9 2006 by Andy Birdwell
Do you ever get the feeling that you have been in a certain situation before? Have you ever learned something so quickly and easily that it seemed like you were remembering it, not... Read morePublished on May 3 2005 by Bennie Walkey (Marietta, GA)
Diary is a departure for Chuck Palahniuk. Best known for his bleak urban dramas, Palahniuk has set out to capture the mindset of a Coma Diary of a woman who's husband lies... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2005
First off, I consider myself a Chuck Palahniuk fan and have read all of his previous novels. Therefore, I was rather excited to start reading this one. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Jason Nelson
No doubt, much like many people here, I loved Fight Club (the movie) and at some point noticed it was also book (a short one at that). Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by "whosthemaniam"
Like all of Chuck Palanuik's books, this is an excellent and quirky story. I recommned reading everything he's written!!Published on July 12 2004
If you're looking for something new from Chuck Palahniuk, you probably won't find it here. This book offers the same grim, postmodern perspective all of his earlier books tout. Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by D. Hubbard
It was my first book by Chuk Palahniuk, and I just could not put it away. I have never even heard about the author before. One of my patients told me about him. Read morePublished on July 5 2004 by msafronova