13 Sep

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk, 2011

Chuck Palahniuk Damned What’s hell to you? Is it an author who uses a handful of literary devices over and over again until you want to throw his damn book across the room? A book that’s probably trying to go somewhere, but you’re not sure, and you’re confused about the point it’s trying to make for a reeeeally long time? Okay, these aren’t hellish exactly, but goshdarnit if they aren’t really annoying by the end of a novel.

Anyway, those points aside, Chuck Palahniuk offers a pretty good idea of hell. It’s all grimy and gross, and the landscape is dotted with features such as the Great Ocean of Wasted Sperm, Mountain of Toenail Clippings and Swamp of Partial-birth Abortions. Demons roam, torturing then devouring the souls they encounter (naturally, the torn-apart bodies reassemble themselves, the damned unable to ever escape their fate).

Oh, and those annoying market research calls you get at dinnertime? They’re made by people in hell who are just doing their job.

I’m a fan of the Chuckmeister – I like his voice and the way he seemingly always sets out to jar people out of their everyday existences. And I did enjoy this book. The narrator, Madison, is quite likable: she’s a recently deceased 13-year-old girl, the daughter of a billionaire and a movie star, who was on that weird border of being interested in boys but not really knowing what to do with them anyway. She tells the story of her life – and, eventually, her death – with a charming mix of innocence and precociousness.

But sometimes there was just too much imaginative detail about hell thrown in, making me wonder if the story was actually going anywhere. Some parts just seemed to drag: a lengthy chunk was devoted to a single encounter with a giant demon (and the description of one of Madison’s friends giving said giant demon oral pleasure). It wasn’t even a very exciting encounter (in spite of the giant oral sex action). It was lucky I was really hungover so I was physically unable to do anything other than read on the day I picked this up, or I may have put it aside for a while.

Anyway, drifting plotlines aside, was there an eventual payoff? Yes. Was it worth it? Well… yeah, actually, it was. The Chuckster does love a bit of a twist, and the one finally offered in Damned was pretty sweet. And in the end, I was wondering if all that meandering had been on purpose after all. That crafty bastard.

This was the third book in my MS Novel Challenge. Sponsor me?


One Response to “Damned”

  1. Dixie September 16, 2011 at 3:54 am #

    i’d heard about this book & it sounded like an interesting premise (i mean, it’s chuck!)…i think i may have to pick it up!

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