NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Friday, August 21, 2009

PYGMY

by Chuck Palahniuk



"Number one best selling author Chuck Palahniuk presents Pygmy, a comedic and satirical take on American xenophobia. As part of a massive terrorist plot, a handful of young adults head to the Midwestern United States disguised as foreign exchange students. Palahniuk focuses on one of the young terrorists, Pygmy, who chronicles his time in the American Midwest as he and others plan a horrific, spiteful act." (From the CD container.)

The broken English in which the entire book is written actually made it funnier than it would have been otherwise and added a layer of emotion to the serious parts that may have ended up lacking impact. Telling the experiences of Operative Me in straight-up, easily coherent language would have sounded just plain stupid for the most part. Kudos to Palahniuk for realizing that and finding new ways to introduce juvenile comedy and general crudity into our reading. At the same time, the bizarre presentation effectively exposes the good, the bad, the humor and the hypocrisy in some of Western culture's most closely held customs, beliefs and institutions and in human eccentricities. The reader must, however, wade through a lot of Palahniuk's patented disturbing weirdness to get to the heart of the matter.

If you've never read a Chuck Palahniuk novel, I wouldn't start here. I'm thinking there are not going to be many readers who aren't already big fans of his literary shock jock ways who are going to go the distance with this offering. The ones that do will be rewarded with the sort of oddly touching ending we've come to expect and that usual post-Palahniuk uneasy feeling of suspecting you shouldn't have liked it as much as you did if you don't want to be hauled off to the psychologist for some sorely-needed analysis.



The curious can read a PDF of the first chapter of Pygmy on Amazon. Additional Books 'N Border Collies posts about Palahniuk books can be found here.

Other bloggers' thoughts on Pygmy:
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21 comments:

ANovelMenagerie said...

Congratulations! Your blog has been nominated for a 2009 BBAW Award. I'd like to send you a note about it, however I need your email address. If you could email me your email address plus the name of your blog, I'll send you a note about the nomination.

Sheri
BBAW Awards Committee
anovelmenagerie@aol.com

Lezlie said...

Thank you so much, Sheri! I'll get that info to you right now!

Lezlie

Jenny said...

My hubby loves Chuck Palahniuk and is looking forward to reading this. Sounds like he'll like it... I haven't read any so I definitely won't start with this one though, lol. Maybe Invisible Monsters.

Lezlie said...

Jenny ~ My husband is mortified every time I tell him about one of Palahniuk's books. He can't understand for the life of him what it is about them that attracts me. And to be completely honest, neither can I! :-) I haven't read Invisible Monsters yet, but it's here on the shelf for that elusive "someday". I'll be curious to see what you think of his work!

Lezlie

Jenny said...

I'll definitely post about it when I do! I was telling my husband about your review today and while we were out we stopped at barnes and noble and I bought it for him. I'm assuming he'll like it too!

Lezlie said...

Jenny ~ I'll be on the lookout for it, for sure! It would be fun to know your husband's thoughts, too. I don't know anyone who reads him.

Lezlie

Trish said...

"uneasy feeling of suspecting you shouldn't have liked it as much as you did if you don't want to be hauled off to the psychologist for some sorely-needed analysis." Ya--I figured that. :) Actually, the only thing I've heard of this one is from people who didn't finish it. Glad you found it somewhat gratifying. Have you ever read anything by Tim Robbins? Not as crass and maybe a lot more philosophical, but not read a lot on the blogosphere.

Trish said...

Tom--Tom Robbins. I always get him and the actor mixed up.

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ I read one Tom Robbins a long time ago when I was not a mature enough reader to appreciate it. I have one sitting here, though, that I plan to get to when I polish of these challenges. I think it's called Another Roadside Attraction. Any other recommendations?

Lezlie

Serena said...

I've only read of his books, but I keep meaning to get to the others...though lately the library books, just get back on the library shelves without me having read them.

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ It's all too easy to overload ourselves with library books we know darn good and well we'll never get to. But it's still so much fun! I don't know why. . . :-)

Lezlie

Trish said...

Let see. I've read Still Life with Woodpecker, Even Cowgirls get the Blues, Jitterbug Perfume, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, Another Roadside Attraction--think that's it. It's been years since I've read any, but I think Cowgirls is probably his most well-known, but Jitterbug Perfume I remember being a favorite. Another Roadside Attraction was good, too--one I passed to my dad.

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ Thanks! Now that I think about it, I remember my uncle telling me a long time ago that Jitterbug Perfume was really good. I'd better get started!

Lezlie

Trish said...

LOL--I'm just glad you've been reading good ole Chuck lately--Robbins will be a really clean read in comparison! (Robbins is one of those guys that I love but am apprehensive about recommending).

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ Then I'll probably love him! I'll be sure to get to it when I finish out the Read Your Own Books Challenge and report back. ;-)

Lezlie

Joanne said...

I agree about the broken english making it better, even though it took me about 30 pages to get through a paragraph without having the re-read to get the actual meaning (lol)
It was such a relief to read and enjoy Pygmy after not being much impressed by his last book (Snuff) Palahniuk is once again my hero :)

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ Yay! A Palahniuk fan! I listened to this on CD, so I got the hang of the language fairly quickly, thankfully!

Snuff was my first by him, so I had nothing to compare it to. I recently finished Haunted, and I think that one may be my favorite so far. I still have a bunch to go yet, though, and I haven't read Fight Club yet. Do you have a favorite?

Lezlie

Joanne said...

Haunted is one of my faves, but I think it's because I liked the multiple narrative style.

I've only listened to one audio, Survivor. I had read it and felt so-so, but listening made me enjoy it so much more. Got a much better feel for the main character that way.

It would be hard to pick an all-time favorite - they all appeal in some way to me. Maybe Invisible Monster and Lullaby.

Then again Palahniuks non-fiction is incredible too! (yeah I'm a Chuck fan-girl) lol

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ That's one of the things I liked about Haunted, too. All the different characters were so interesting. Thanks for the suggestions! I have both Invisible Monster and Lullaby here, so as soon as I get these challenges finished up, I'm all over it!

Lezlie

Anna said...

I already know how disturbing Palahniuk is, but I'm not sure I want to read this one. I'll have to think on it.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ Yeah, this one is odder than most. However, if you have a chance to listen to the audio version, it's really well done and takes the frustration out of trying to read the broken English. I didn't have any trouble following what was going on.

Lezlie