5.0 out of 5 stars In Fine Company
Crazy, sick, and wickedly good. These are just a few ways to describe my wandering feelings about 'Stranger Than Fiction' by Chuck Palahniuk as he wanders from subject to subject. His meandering thoughts that always seem to come back home to make a point and come together in fascinating round about story fashion is amazing. Really the only true comparisons are 'My...
Published on July 1 2004 by joe ross
3.0 out of 5 stars Possessing a few full and a few hollow promises.
I started reading Chuck Palahniuk's books a few years ago when I read Fight Club and loved it, so Stranger Than Fiction seemed like an interesting read, and for the most part it was. It's nonfiction, and the stories it tells are interesting while giving us a little insight on how Chuck's mind actually works.
What we're given is a compilation of stories and articles...
Published on July 1 2004 by noitome
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Fine Company,
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is,
This review is from: Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (Paperback)I think this is Palahniuk's best work since Fight Club. Each story in the collection takes the reader into a fascinating fringe land. From the shocking tour of the world of amateur wrestling ("Where Meat Comes From") to the poignant experiences of a rescue dog trainer ("Bodhisattvas"), the author uses the words of his subjects as well as his own to make darkly honest literary jewels.
Most interesting to me was the story of three Americans building castles in the modern world. They press on despite money-shortages, questioning neighbors, zoning problems, and hostile bankers. What really got me was the contrasting natures, goals, and backgrounds of the three builders. Each so different, yet they share a common but unusual achievement. It's striking that while they live within driving distance of one another, they don't even know of each other's existence.
The only true negative of the book is a puff piece on shock-artist Marilyn Manson. Mostly an interview, the author merely reiterates Manson's shopworn yarn about his life, tragedies, art, yada, yada. This article alone doesn't reach for some deeper truth and comes across as inauthentic.
I recommend you read this book today or, at the very latest, tomorrow. Must also recommend Jackson McCrae's "Katzenjammer" for another great book---along the lines of this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Inevitably not Chuck's best work,
This review is from: Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (Paperback)There is an inevitable problem with anthologies; that being that there are always weaker works within the collection, always at the back of the book. It is a near-on universal law.
That being said, the book is still an interesting collection of personal essays by Chuck Palahniuk. I've always found Chuck's writing style to be surprisingly personal and honest; Stranger Than Fiction is most certainly no exception to that rule. The writings in this book are facinating windows into worlds which we are not privy and, perhaps, we would be a little less for not having be let in a little to them.
I am very glad that I read this book, but I passed it on rather than keeping on the shelf with Invisible Monsters and Lullaby.
5.0 out of 5 stars So bizarre that you won't believe them,
This review is from: Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (Paperback)I can do no better than give you an excerpt from this book as there's really no way to describe it:
In the ballroom at the Airport Sheraton Hotel, a team of men and women sit inside separate booths, curtained off from each other. They each sit at a small table, the curtains enclosing a space just big enough for the table and two chairs. And they listen. All day, they sit and listen.
Outside the ballroom, a crowd waits in the lobby, writers holding book manuscripts or movie screenplays. An organizer guards the ballroom doors, checking a list of names on a clipboard. She calls your name, and you step forward and follow her into the ballroom. The organizer parts a curtain. You take a seat at the little table. And you start to talk.
As a writer, you have seven minutes. Some places you might get eight or even ten minutes, but then the organizer will return to replace you with another writer. For this window of time, you've paid between twenty and fifty dollars to pitch your story to a book agent or a publisher or movie producer.
And all day, the ballroom at the Airport Sheraton is buzzing with talk. Most of the writers here are old--creepy old, retired people clutching their one good story. Shaking their manuscript in both spotted hands and saying, "Here! Read my incest story!"
A big segment of the storytelling is about personal suffering. There's the stink of catharsis. Of melodrama and memoir. A writer friend refers to this school as "the-sun-is-shining-the-birds-are-singing-and-my-father-is-on-top-of-me-again" literature.
In the lobby outside the hotel ballroom, writers wait, practicing their one big story on each other. A wartime submarine battle, or being knocked around by a drunk spouse. The story about how they suffered, but survived to win. Challenge and triumph. They time each other with wristwatches. In just minutes, they'll have to tell their story, and prove how it would be perfect for Julia Roberts. Or Harrison Ford. Or, if not Harrison, then Mel Gibson. And if not Julia, then Meryl.
Then, sorry, your seven minutes is up.
Have to recommend two other books: THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG and the novel CARNIVORE DIET both of which are worthwhile.
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than I Expected!,
2.0 out of 5 stars yeah, right.,
Unfortunately, this autheticity and interest enters far too late to have any chance of redeeming this flat, meandering book, which seems to have no rhyme or reason except to help Mr. Palahniuk pay his bills this month. The stylistic cleverness, sharp satire, and dark humor that punctuated "Fight Club," "Survivor," and "Lullaby" seems like a distant ghost Palahniuk has lost contact with, and it shows. I'm really beginning to wonder if the aforementioned novels were as great as I remember them being, and if I just wasn't swept up in the tidal wave of philosophical brilliance in "Fight Club" that caused me not to question the author's authority. For a while, Palahniuk seemed to be ushering in an era of renewed expectation for modern fiction, but with his increasing yearly output, it's becoming painfully obvious he's having a hard time keeping up. I'd rather wait five years for one well-developed narrative or memoir instead of receiving two substandard pieces of writing in a year. But like Marilyn Manson, Palahniuk's shock value has ceased to be shocking, his style has become predictable, and if he hopes to keep his fan base, he'd better concentrate on expanding his talents outward as opposed to keeping them confined, as he has with "Stranger Than Fiction." Another total letdown, redeemed somewhat by the last section.
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved It,
By A Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Possessing a few full and a few hollow promises.,
What we're given is a compilation of stories and articles Chuck had written for magazines, so for those of us that don't buy into magazines, it's interesting to finally see some of the stuff he's written for them. The downside is that not all of the stories are interesting.
The stories about steriod use, a day as a dog, the submarine, and the psychics are all great reads, ones that I enjoyed a lot. The personal ones were also good, which felt more like excerpts from a novel he may have written than magazine articles, but there are also the boring ones, which unfortunately bring the score down a few notches. I was personally bored by the article about castles. I bought the book to hear more Palahniuk's voice, and some of the articles do deliver, but then there are others that do not have the voice or sounds a little rough around the edges.
All in all, it's good if you have a little time and want to read another Palahniuk book, but don't be expecting another Fight Club.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Departure,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Insane in the membrane.,
"Maybe our generation has found its Don DeLillo."
"Among sick puppies, Palahniuk is the top dog....A unique talent."
"Palahniuk is one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time."
"Dark riffing on modernity is the reason people read Palahniuk. His books are not so much novels as jagged fables, cautionary tales about the creeping peril represented by almost everything."
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Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - May 10 2005)
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