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Tell-All [Paperback]

Chuck Palahniuk
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 31 2011

Tell-All is many things: A Sunset Boulevard-inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Grand Dames like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost. A Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama full of big gestures and muted psychic torment. A veritable Tourette's syndrome of rat-tat-tat name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list. A merciless send-up of Lillian Hellman's habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond.


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Review

"America's most famous writer of transgressive fiction . . . Chuck Palahniuk has a habit noticing things in the margins that the rest of us might overlook. . . . A dark, funny tale of a vintage Hollywood. . . . Dark, occasionally violent and always irreverent, the book suggests that Hollywood in the golden days was just as shallow, self-obsessed and inane
as it is today."
--Edmonton Journal




From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

CHUCK PALAHNIUK's ten novels are the bestselling Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Lullaby, and Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg. He is also the author of the nonfiction profile of Portland, Oregon, Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in Washington state.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INVENTIVE, UNPREDICTABLE, FUNNY! AUDIO REVIEW June 4 2010
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
While voice performer Hillary Huber records for a number of major publishers this listener is delighted that Blackstone signed her on for TELL-ALL. She delivers a controlled, easy listening narration - "controlled" is not easy to do when the author is Chuck Palahniuk Those who have read or heard his previous works (Pygmy, Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, to mention a few) know he's one of the most inventive authors working today - unpredictable, ambitious in subject matter, funny, and impossible to pinpoint.

TELL-ALL has been likened by someone as a cross between Page Six and Sunset Boulevard. Palahniuk takes on celebrity - how it is perceived, what it is. He gives us a cast of multitudes headed by Katherine Kenton, an aging but not about to give up movie star and Hazie Coogan who has long been her servant, protector, flunky, and major-domo seeing to whatever Miss Kathie needs through her numerous love affairs, and major movie moments. The alcohol imbibing sexually rapacious star is adored by her public who see only the image presented to them.

Webster Carlton Westward III, one more suitor, soon appears and has little trouble in winning over Miss Kathie but he has an agenda of his own. He has already penned a tell-all memoir of their affair with a fatally unhappy ending. Another challenge for Hazie

Rife with gossip and enough name dropping to satisfy the most celebrity hungry fan TELL-ALL is a riff on old Hollywood. It's pure Palahniuk.

Enjoy

- Gail Cooke
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the Palahniuk of old Sept. 22 2010
By CB
Format:Hardcover
As an avid fan of Chuck Palahniuk and all of his work I have to say this book left me wondering what has happened to him? It's less than 200 pages and is predictable like none other of his works. The aspect of his writing I appreciate the most is the twists, the turns, the ability to take a story far beyond where the average mind is capable of imagining... in short Tell-All was not one of those books. This is a collection of Bold Faced name dropping amungst words that somehow form a sentence, and is really hard to read. More difficult even than Pygmy(and that was a struggle!) Having recently reread Choke, my favorite of all his novels I must say I miss the Palahniuk of old.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars happy! Oct. 12 2011
By Julia
Format:Hardcover
The item i chose arrived really fast and in perfect condition. I am always satisfied with amazon.ca! I would recommend it in a heartbeat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  129 reviews
130 of 145 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chuck? Chuuuuuuuuck? Where are you? April 23 2010
By Book Dork - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Discovering someone has gone missing is nothing short of tragic.

There's just no other possible explanation. Tell-All cannot be written by the same Chuck Palahniuk who wrote the brilliant novels Fight Club, Choke, and Survivor. Alien abduction, demonic possession, mind control, something. Anything. I refuse to accept depreciation of creativity and talent as a viable option.

That being said, let me explain.

Slightly Commendable:
- There's a somewhat amusing span of three pages that describes Katherine's attempt at adoption. Matching the correct shade of pink paint to a baby's skin is of the utmost importance.
- Occasionally, the shock and awe Palahniuk loves so much is relevant and entertaining (although often overdone).
- It's quite short, at less than 200 pages.

Consider Yourself Warned:
- The bolded name-droppings are annoying; fine, I get it, Hollywood revolves around brands and people.
- Speaking of unnecessary, the breaking down of the text into acts and scenes is a weak and unoriginal device. The narrator rhetorically asking me if breaking down the fourth wall is acceptable whenever I'm supposedly being made privy to some great piece of information is also ineffective.
- There is nothing prolific about exaggerated, blatant irony. Don't even try to pull the "the obvious irony is ironic" excuse.
- The characters are flat, uninteresting, and generic.
- The storyline is predictable, and in all honesty, pretty uneventful.
- Palahniuk should be beyond recycling, already having done the "poking fun at guilty pleasures" genre with Haunted, where he spoofs reality television.

Biographies are not literature. When I read fiction I want something to hold on to; characters, plot, themes, or great writing. Unfortunately, Tell-All fails to provide.

And, to whoever is holding Chuck hostage, please let us know the ransom so we can take up a collection (middle age, collection agencies, or demanding publishers need not apply).
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is there to Tell Aug. 15 2010
By Joseph Mccully - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Before I begin, I would prefer to give a bit of my background. I have been following Chuck since 2003, and have a 1/1 (1st edition 1st printing) signed of all his books (Random side note: if anyone is interested in having your books singed, and can not make the book Tour, go to Chuck's webpage and there is a link to a book store called St. Helen's Bookstore. He will go their a few times a year to sign books). The purpose of the latter setence is not to brag, but to explain just how much of a fan I am.

I believe that fans need to realize that Chuck will probably never write another Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Lullaby, or Survivor. The reason I believe the latter is that the basis for those books were in his head for decades. He is now publishing a book once a year, but it takes time for the book to be edited, published, distributed, etc. My point is that how much actual time is he putting into his newer novels? Personally, I feel very little, and it shows in certain books.

Also, people need to realize that Chuck's style has completely changed starting around Haunted. At his point in his career we all know what we are going to get American satire. Personally, I continue to read to see how he delivers his message. I agree with another reviewer that Chuck is trying to experiment with different styles of writing. In Haunted each chapter had a poem about a character, followed by their back story, then interwoven into the actual story. There was no actual narrator in Rant, instead it was a collection of people giving telling their stories of the main character (IMO this is his most underrated book, and is in my Top 3). Snuff, didnt Chuck just use this style of story telling in Rant? Pygmy, I will say that it took me a while to get use to the style of writing, but once you get use the style of writing the book is a piece of art.

Tell All seems to be written as a screenplay. This is the first time that I have ever been bored reading one of his books. For those who thought Pygmy was a tough read, Tell All is a lot harder. Also, I feel Chuck really messed up by using names in the bold face that most generations have no idea who they are.

In conclusion, if you have never read Chuck, then this should not be the first book of his you read. For all the die hard Chuck fans out there, this book is terrible, and I have never said that about any of his books. I am guessing that since he is putting out a book a year he might be under some type of contract. However, if he is not, then he needs to take some time off, and regroup. I know that he will never write material like he did in the beginning, but not to long ago he wrote Rant, which shows he still has something left.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half Formed Ideas May 10 2010
By William Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
To criticize a Chuck Palahniuk book is to invite the howls of rabid fans who will die trying to convince you that either, you don't get it, or you're stupid. I guess I'm prepared for both.

I love literature, I love what words can do when put together by a master writer. Most of what I read are novels by the tried and true practitioners of the art form: Don Deillo, William Gaddis, Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Denis Johnson etc. So, Palahniuk is not necessarily my cup of tea in terms of literature, however, I have found several of his novels to be clever if not entertaining reads. Especially Lullaby and Diary.

In recent years Palahniuk has devlolved into writing some incredibly half hearted, almost insulting books. I hesitate to speak for him, but it comes across as though he knows full well he has a cult like following, and regardless of the quality of the work...it will sell.

Tell-All falls into the same category as his last two novels, "Snuff" and "Pygmy." It is brief and uninspired, an added twist seems to be present simply for the sake of itself. It is alluded to if not completely given away long before the final pages.

Palahniuk is a writer in love with gimmicks: be it sing-song repition, backwards counting page numbers, broken english etc. Most reviews have already mentioned the celebrity names in bold type, which in and of itself is not as bothersome as the lack of creativity in the writing.

I would love to see Palahniuk set himself to writing a novel that challenges not only his skills, but those of his readers. I can't help but thinking it's time for him to grow and mature as an artist, I don't want to believe that he reached his peak with "Diary."
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clearly Chuck's worst book July 24 2010
By Jason - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In his newest book, Chuck Palahniuk gives us Tell All, a tedious recitation vintage Hollywood names, places, and objects that saturate the pages so thoroughly that the story itself becomes secondary. Told via narrator Hazie Coogan, the maid and confidant for movie star Katherine Kenton, the book is a regurgitation of Palahniuk's well researched style which usually captivates. It follows the pair through the politics, scandals and dangers of Hollywood's elite until a shocking surprise changes Kenton's life forever.

Chuck's got a niche carved out, and his literary hook carves it. In Survivor it is cleaning tips. In Pygmy it is crazy martial arts moves. In Lullaby it's ads in the paper and counting one, counting two, counting three...

This time the hook is a tool used by screenwriters, a bold application to names, places, objects. The problem is that it's self-referentially described as a name-dropping form of Tourette's Syndrome. It doesn't work. A complete distraction that glazed my eyes over with an insatiable desire to nap. To hibernate. To skip sentences. It is literally a reason to skip entire paragraphs, inserted for no other reason than to show of the efforts of extensive research. For less than a 200-page book, it took me an eternity to read.

I'm a big fan of Chuck, and I don't mind the change, the risk, but this is a clear misfire.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Film Buff Palahniuk Fans May 20 2010
By Adam E. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There's only one Palahniuk! Change the name on the cover, read the book, and you'd still know the words are him. The lines are packed with brash blunt wisdoms; they are riddled with rude and hilarious perversity; the characters are wicked /bent /dark /shameless /funny /pathetic /raw /honest. His sentences are prose poetry, and profane. The research is thorough -- careful but then spun through what seems a brain that's reckless and ever-laughing. You can hear Chuck laugh as you read his words, always, and this is true in Tell-All as well as the rest. In recommending Tell-All, the only item I'd highlight besides those signature characteristics is that the book has perhaps a more specific audience than his others. I suppose that readers who love old Hollywood / classic movies and the celebrities who made them (I think of Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve, Mildred Pierce, The Picture of Dorian Gray, etc. etc. etc.) will love this book the most. Palahniuk's research into this period is brilliant (reminds me of the type of research work -- as well as his application of the research -- that he did for Snuff) and when I didn't know the references I found myself seeking them out, often then marveling over how he'd played with the reference so cleverly, so ingeniously, to suit his purposes. For readers who love how Palahniuk tells a story, for readers who love how he shapes our language, the book's got your name on it, and for those who love old film, you're twice as lucky.
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