Stranger Than Fiction

ISBN: 1415900825
ISBN 13: 9781415900826
By: Chuck Palahniuk

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Chuck Palahniuk Essays Favorites Memoir Non Fiction Nonfiction Palahniuk Short Stories To Buy To Read

About this book

L'auteur livre dans ce recueil d'essais une description de la société américaine à la recherche de contacts humains. Mélange de réflexions sur l'écriture romanesque, essais autobiographiques et reportages baroques pour mieux cerner l'écrivain.

Reader's Thoughts

Veach Glines

[Page 220]: "...brinksmanship, the tendency to leave things until the last moment, to imbue them with more drama and stress and appear the hero by racing the clock. "Where I was born," Georgia O'Keefe used to say, "and where and how I have lived is unimportant." She said, "It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of any interest."[Pages 156-157]: People who come to interview (Marilyn) Manson, his publicist asks that they not publish the fact that he stands whenever a woman enters or leaves the room. After his father was disabled with a back injury, Manson bought his parents a home in California and supports them. When checking into hotels, he uses the name "Patrick Bateman" the serial-killing character from Bret Ellis's novel American Psycho.[Page 56]: As a white man, you can live your whole life never not fitting in. You never walk into a jewelry store that sees only your black skin. You never walk into a bar that sees only your boobs. To be Whitie is to be wallpaper...[Pages 31-32]: ...Heidegger pointed out how human beings tend to look at the world as a standing stock of material, ready for us to use. As inventory to be processed into something more valuable...he called this world of raw natural resources bestand. It seems inevitable that people without access to natural bestand, such as oil wells or diamond mines, that they'd turn to the only inventory the do have—their lives.

Claudia

This is the book that demanded I take this man seriously. A collection of short essays shows the commitment he has to the craft of writing. Some are hilarious, some are touching. All are entertaining.

Infernal Apex

This collection of journalistic pieces, anecdotes and offbeat essays by Chuck Palahniuk was an entertaining read. He's a keen observer and this is written in a very straight forward, minimalistic way. Included is a wide variety of material, including celebrity profiles, an insider’s view from the violent world of amateur wrestling and mixing among the Navy aboard a nuclear submarine. Some of the pieces are much more personal, written in a brutally honest manner which are at times funny (bumping elbows with Hollywood during the filming of "Fight Club") and also deeply sad (the murder of his lonely father by the crazed ex of a woman he was dating).The most heart-wrenching story is about a girl who gave up corporate America to work in search&rescue with her two dogs in South America. Through it all, Palahniuk says there's a link driving the people in these stories. It's their need to feel special and a part of something. I believe this is a major theme behind the explosion of social media today. Our behavior has fundamentally shifted as information technologies have advanced, and in turn the way we think about ourselves, other people, and reality itself has shifted with it. We are becoming something new.

Kathryn

I missed the pattern to this book the first time around. Part of it is Palahnik's collection of anything he's encountered that he thought could be used. "Fight Club" used a lot of his experiences at a charity hospital, "Survivor" had as many interesting cleaning methods that he could find, and calls to telephone sex numbers ended up, well, everywhere. "Stranger Than Fiction" is a collection of the tidbits that he liked best, or hasn't been able to fit into a novel yet.But you also need to pay attention to the introduction, because the book has an even larger meaning. "Every story in this book is about being with other people. Me being with people. Or people being together." All the live-sex in a Montana festival (and the parallel story of the amateur wrestlers), or the corpse-hunting dogs, or the smug-but-scared story of the psychics he's VERY sure (oh yes, he is indeed) were pulling a scam, they're all stories about people trying so hard to reach out to someone, ANYONE, who will confirm that, "Yes, it's perfectly okay to do what you do, be who you are, and feel the way you do, because I feel exactly the same way."I loved the story about the castle builders, the Rocket Guy chapter made me sad, and looking at the book as a collection of people trying to make a link to other people makes the final story VERY hard-hitting. Because all his father was trying to do was to start dating again.

Courtney

If you are familiar with Chuck’s work, you know that it is very bizarre and out of the ordinary. If you are not familiar, well – he is the author of Fight Club. Stranger Than Fiction is his collection of non-fiction essays. Most of them are about other people, but there is a section at the end that is all about his experiences. Throughout the book, he gives clues as to what influenced some of his novels. He gets his inspiration from talking to people and hearing their stories. It is interesting to see what exactly influenced books that I have read. That being said, some of the stories seemed a bit longer than they needed to be and they got a little slow at times. There were also some very interesting ones. The ones that entertained me the most came from his own experiences and also the story about him talking to Marilyn Manson. 3/5 stars. It was interesting, but it did get a little slow at times. I guess every story isn’t for everyone.

Mallory

I will admit I was a little bored by his demolition car story, and the testicle festival wasn't my cup of tea, but the rest of the (chapters? essays?) I was in love, and as a whole I can definitely say I loved the book. I recommend this to anyone who likes good writing and smart writing and funny writing and isn't a sensitive reader topic/description wise.Chuck Palahniuk is a genius. He is funny, cohesive, and writes very well: eliminating cloggy words but not going overboard (you know- when you can tell the aim is artistic fluency, but it really sounds like a stage actor cheesily overacting an already overdramatic scene, like "the wind--it hurts. The pain! My love. Oh life!") and picking out the good parts of a story. I love his voice. I love that he made me laugh out loud. Several times. I loved how real his "portraits" of others felt. He talks to you like a normal person, not super loaded and elegant syntax-wise or with diction that's just there to prove you know every four-syllable word in the dictionary. He is just...awesome.4.8!

Ensiform

A collection of pieces covering a variety of subjects: autobiographical, ruminative essays; a portrait of Marilyn Manson; a look into amateur wrestling; an expose of a middle-America monster, uh, combine derby; and so on. All written in Palahniuk’s Ernest Hemingway gone jaded, bare-bones, non-judgmental “minimalist” style. Which style he also writes about, by the way.A lot of the stories are extremely interesting, especially the ones that creep into seldom charted territory (like the combine derby story, or a piece on life in a Navy submarine) --- but no matter how much magic Palahniuk’s got in his writing, he just can’t make Juliette Lewis interesting. He’s also very compelling when he writes personal stuff --- not so much about his poor murdered father (some things are too troubled to make really engrossing material), but like his times popping steroids or volunteering with AIDS patients or staying at a “haunted” house. Now, if he hadn’t written Fight Club, would this collection of stories in “manly,” terse prose, some startling and some rather boring, be published as a hardback? Probably not. But what’s very good here outshadows the mediocre.

dejah_thoris

Disclaimer: The only book of the author's I've read previously was Haunted. I think I expected more from the author than I actually got. Much of this book is self-reflexive and tends to drag in parts, so I'm glad it was an audiobook because I probably would've given up on the hard copy. The opening is especially strange and I'm not sure why it was there beyond shock value. Comparatively, the rest of the book is pretty mediocre, some interviews with celebrities and ordinary people who do interesting things like build castles. (Seriously, that's the most memorable chapter.) I think I'll try another novel of his to see if I still like his style but this collection of nonfiction just didn't work for me.

Caitlin Constantine

I wanted to like this way more than I did, as I love stories about the things and the people who occupy the margins of society. Unfortunately many of the essays read like collections of notes, rewritten as to form a cogent narrative, but really lacked that certain something that makes them readable. There were a few times I nearly dozed off during an essay - never a good sign.HOWEVER. There were two really wonderful pieces that I think made the whole experience worthwhile. The first was about the writers at a writer's conference, you know, one of those deals where a writer pays $75 in exchange for the opportunity to pitch her story to agents and publishers. It was so sad and yet so poignant, to think of all of the people out there hoping they can peddle their story into something bigger, some recognition or some money, perhaps. He took it beyond that, and talked about the way writers mine the world around them for material, to the point where sometimes they get so wrapped up in thinking about how they will turn this thing or that person into fodder for their latest story that they lose the ability to take life on its own terms. I really loved this essay. I also loved the final one, which mostly pivoted around the murder of his father by some jealous lunatic ex-husband of a woman he had just started seeing. Very powerful.But aside from those two essays I didn't really like much about this book.

Brad

Chuck Palahniuk wrote one great novel fifteen years ago. This collection of essays solidifies that Fight Club was a fluke; A glorious fluke, but a fluke nonetheless.The voice of all the essays is highly similar to the Fight Club narrator- whom we presume- is similar to Chuck P, himself. The thing is, 'Jack' from Fight Club is a deeply alienated, confused soul- afraid of intimacy- insecure in his role as a man. Fight Club works because of this- it is literally the story of the destruction of 'Jack' and his rebirth. This isn't rocket science analysis here, folks.Essay after essay confirms that 'Jack' is really Chuck. A narcissistic, confused man- jumping from attachment to attachment, never quite landing anywhere.He tries steroids until his balls shrink one summer. He passes a kidney stone in drunken/stoned oblivion. He relates attending big parties and being someone, after Fight Club is made into a movie. Brad Pitt gave him a shout out!The interviews are the worst. Marilyn Manson, Juliette Lewis, a misogynistic inventor. They seem deeply contrived, calculated to appeal to a certain demographic- and worst of all in a colleciton- horribly dated. In 2010, how exactly are Marilyn Manson's Crowleyish songwriting rituals interesting? Or relevant? Juliette Lewis' last decent performance was as a radio DJ in Grand Theft Auto- not exactly a compelling statement that she is an artist for the ages.I take that back- the pieces about his dad and the piece about the Navy are the worst. Horribly, Chuck Pahlniuk's father was murdered. I respect him for attempting to write about the experience surrounding that tragedy. That said- his take is so superficial- and so sadly self-centered that the end result is painful to read.Oh, and the navy. The idea of sending a gay writer, who's biggest success was about distorted masculinity in the 90's to do a cruise a nuclear sub is a good one. Chuck makes it boring. He makes an extended tour of duty on a nuclear submarine boring. Read that sentence again.An excellent, powerful argument for retaining anonymity a la Salinger after publication. Books are written by people, obviously. But seeing the man behind the curtain as such a pathetic (not tragic!) figure undermines his entire body of work. He has limited insight, seems entirely too concerned with looking good at parties, and generally comes across as the sort of self-absorbed douche that one avoids studiously in reality.Nice work on Fight Club though.

vikki

i stopped torturing myself at the half way point and burned the book over my stovetop and ate the ashes in hopes of regaining the 3 hours i put in. didn't work. this was one of the worst things i've read since i tutored freshmen in their first writing course.to anyone who happens upon it and can't resist, here are the only nuggets worth digesting: {you are here} and {the lady}. and i'd say the latter was more so, if only for the quick spill on palahniuk's personal history. also it's worth taking into account that i didn't read much past the second section of portraits where the mental yawns became unbearable.

Jan

"This is the first novel Chuck has done in which every story is a true event, not based but really a true event and thus why I consider this book to be Chuck's best book in my eyes. I personally think reality is a lot stranger than fiction and maybe that is why we constantly go to fiction a lot because fiction is something people can dive into as in their lives could be something different or it could be a parallel of what their life is now. However, reality is just as awesome if not better depending on how you play the rules during life and yes there are rules while living life in my opinion.My personal favorite stories in this book are easily going to be the time when Chuck was writing the script for the moview version of ""Fight Club"" as well as his praise letter to Ira Levin who is one of Chuck Palahniuk's influences when it comes to his writing. I perssonally found this to be worth the read and thought ever story relative since it is about Chuck's life in some way, some fashion, some form and I enjoyed reading about his life even if they were a just a few short stories here and there. A read for those who want to know the author besides his work."

Serena!

L'ho letto nel "lontano" marzo 2011, la recensione (scritta su aNobii) è la stessa di allora, ma ripropongo anche qui :DSono fortemente convinta che sia il miglior Palahniuk che io abbia mai letto. E giuro, è difficile, perché li ho adorati tutti.. I punti stima per quest'uomo crescono ormai in maniera incontrollabile: costui -dopotutto- ha un cuore, è intelligente e pure modesto. Lo voglio sposare. O conoscere. Mi accontento di conoscerlo!! Il sottotitolo del libro è parecchio indicativo: Quando la realtà supera la fantasia.. E la fantasia di Mr P. è sconfinata, vedete voi!! Sono una serie di articoli sulle cose più disparate: interviste, esperienze in prima persona, testimonianze.. E' stupendo vedere quanto la gente sia sciroccata e senza speranza.. Avete presente quando dite: "Ma tutti io li becco quelli strani?!". Ecco. Dopo aver letto questo libro, capirete che in realtà ancora non avete visto niente..Il libro merita già per la sola introduzione: adesso me la stampo e me l'attacco a casa, poco ma sicuro :DLe storie più belle sono: La mia vita da cane (stima assoluta) La signora Non cerco Amy (Adorazione pura) Egregio signor Levin, (Persona stimata di riflesso) Accompagnatore"E' una cosa davvero da femminucce pensare che la vita debba comunque continuare per sempre" (Pag 126)"Fino a quando non andò a vivere alla fattoria, Patrick era come me: equilibrato (Ma dove?? Ma quando?? O.O), razionale, sensato."(pag 138)"Non esistono i fantasmi. Ma se esistono, cazzo, mio padre farebbe bene a venire a dirmelo di persona." (Pag 145)"Leggilo. Se non ti piace, non abbiamo niente in comune" (Pag 173) [Esattoooo! Eliminare una persona dalla propria vita perché non apprezza un determinato autore.. xD]"Estrai qualsiasi pezzo dal suo contesto e perderà di efficacia" (Pag 177)"Quando il problema appare troppo grande, quando ci viene mostrata troppa realtà, tendiamo ad arrenderci. Ci rassegniamo. Non riusciamo a mettere in atto alcun tipo di azione perché i disastri ci appaiono inesorabili. Siamo intrappolati." (Pag 219)"Con la scrittura, ci dà la possibilità di avere meno paura di vivere" (Pag 226) [adorazione più assoluta ]"Ecco dunque perché scrivo. perché la maggior parte delle volta la vita non è divertente, nel momento in cui accade. La maggior parte delle volte riesci a malapena a reggerla. [...] Ecco perché scrivo, perché la vita non funziona mai, se non con il senno di poi. E scrivere ti permette di riguardare al passato. Perché se non riesci a dominare la vita, almeno puoi dominare la tua versione" (Pag 239) [A questo punto, sono già innamorata persa di costui]

Alex

I think the title of this book kind of throws you off. Palahniuk writes some very weird, dark, strange characters in his fiction books, so I expected this book would be about similar things or people hes discovered in real life. It's actually not very strange at all. I guess the strangest person was the fairly non-strange interview with Marilyn Manson. It's really just a collection of his magazine articles and interviews. It's very 'This American Life'-ey. Which is to say it's good and interesting, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

Erik

Palahniuk is right. These essays of his are most certainly stranger than fiction. Just from the every first essay alone, you’re hoping that he’s making all this up. But no. The annual Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival just outside of Missoula, MT, detailed in the aptly-titled “Testy Festy”, is the kind of bizarre and mind-boggling public orgy that you think can – or should, rather – exist only in the most perverted of minds. (The shocking writing and fantasy worlds of Marquis de Sade comes readily to mind.) Yet it is all very real. (Too much Viagra and Spanish fly, perhaps? One can only wonder.)Luckily for us, the rest of this volume of odds and ends Palahniuk composed in-between his novels are much less pornographic, but just as equally bizarre. In the first section “People Together”, we meet semi-professional wrestlers hoping to make the U.S. Olympic team (with or without cauliflowered ears), desperate amateur screenwriters making their three-minute pit to studio hacks, die-hard combine demolition derby contestants in rural Washington State, Northwest castle-builders (a favorite chapter of mine, as I too fantasize about living behind medieval walls…with modern amenities, of course), and psychic shyster who are surprisingly capable of actual divination (but only after one too many glasses of red wine). In the section “Portraits”, Palahniuk spends a lot of time shedding light on the oddity known as Hollywood. Whether it be his odd interview with Juliette Lewis (mainly for her naïve belief in Scientology – that racket of all rackets), or even Marilyn Manson’s depressing tarot-card self-reading in his attic, I am reassured once again that a lot of money – no, make that too much money – can make a self-deluding nut out of you. (The spirit of Howard Hughes is alive and well in the Hollywood Hills and the ephemeral and fickle world of celebrity-dom.) In “Personal”, his third and final section, Palahniuk exorcises many a demon by confessing to a brief addiction to anabolic steroids – which he kicked after his balls shriveled up (which may classify as TMI for some people) – as well as the odd encounters that he still gets to this day from fans of Fight Club, his novel-turned-cinematic-hit.Palahniuk’s prose is best described as a form of personal confession, but told with the eye of a cultural anthropologist, voyeur, and journalist all wrapped in one. I may not know his fiction one bit – except for seeing David Fincher’s cinematic adaptation of his novel Fight Club – but my curiosity is now piqued. Let’s hope it’s just as riveting and astonishing as his non-fiction.

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