Thursday, January 15, 2009


I finished another Chuck Palahnuik book, Snuff, and I am still quite impressed with his writing style. The premise of the book really didn't interest me much, but I picked it up anyway because I've really been getting into him lately.

Snuff is basically a commentary on the porn industry. The main character, porn star Cassie Wright, decides that she wants to break the record for serial fornication in a porn movie. She decides to have a porn movie where she has sex with six hundred men in a row. Men line up to get their big break in the business. The book takes the perspectives of three of the men (Mr. 72, Mr. 137, and Mr. 600) and the talent wrangler Sheila who calls the men on set. I like that Cassie's perspective is not given even though she is the main character. We can only infer about her feelings and her life from the men and woman.

Although the book is extraordinarily graphic (and of course it is because of the plot), he takes one event from one day and draws it out into an interesting book. The characters flashback to add more details to the story, making the characters become complex and intertwined mysteriously. Since it's over the course and one day and the plot slowly builds, you keep anticipating the final ending, the culmination, so it does keep you hooked.

I like serial narrators--he's really good at having them endure their own voice and style of thinking and speaking, which is very talented. What I didn't see in this book, that I did in the first and could see in Fight Club, were those stylistic ticks in his writing that were apparent in the others. He didn't use repition as much as he did in the previous works, and I liked that about him. But maybe it's good to mix it up every so often.

The repetition in this book was just in naming the tons of porn movies that Wright had starred in. Palahnuik lists so many that it's really near impossible that she starred in that many--he's really just doing this to amuse us I think. He came up with a lot of clever spin offs from popular movie titles, and I think he enjoyed putting them in there as much as possible. Those would probably count for the repetitious language he normally uses, as well as the crude way of describing different sexual scenes and positions (which I will not include here) that are mentioned over and over again.

Palahnuik really has the power to draw emotion out of his reader. He makes me feel what the characters feel, and most importantly, he evokes the senses like no one I've seen before. He makes characters feel raunchy when he wants to; he can describe scenes so well that I feel sick or can smell the disgusting smell that he sets up. He's incredible in this way.

I wouldn't recommend this book to all people because it is extremely graphic. But, it does offer an interesting commentary into the life of pornography. How does it feel to be in the spotlight? The secret life of porn is dissected in this book, and it's almost tragic. I think it was cool to look into his perspective, but I'm curious on why his books are all so sexual (or maybe just the ones I have been reading all focus around sex). Is this a common trend?

So, what did you think of Snuff or Chuck Palahnuik's work in general?

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