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Stranger than Fiction

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  18,914 ratings  ·  673 reviews
Chuck Palahniuk’s world has always been, well, different from yours and mine. In his first collection of nonfiction, Chuck Palahniuk brings us into this world, and gives us a glimpse of what inspires his fiction.At the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival in Missoula, Montana, average people perform public sex acts on an outdoor stage. In a mansion once occupied by The Rolli ...more
Paperback, 233 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2004)
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Fight Club by Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters by Chuck PalahniukSurvivor by Chuck PalahniukChoke by Chuck PalahniukLullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
Best Chuck Palahniuk Books
12th out of 20 books — 324 voters
Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
186th out of 1,973 books — 1,510 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
Aug 10, 2007 Dan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Chuck Palahniuk fans
I liked this book.

This is a collection of true stories of very bizarre things that have occurred or occur regularly. They are all as the old adage goes: So strange they could only be true.

In the intro to this book Chuck Palahniuk even admits that he is something of a one trick pony. He views everything in America as the following struggle: We strive to be alone. We fight our way to independence from our fellow human beings by pursuing whatever interest we have, and then we get there and find our
I have often said there is no reason to read fiction as life is far stranger and more interesting and it is this premise that leads award winning and best selling author Chuck Palahniuk to write this compilation of real life oddities and bizarre observations.

Organized into journalistic sketches, Palahniuk describes such things as:

out in the open pornography
wheat field combine demolition derbies
the art of American castle building (there is a castle near where I live that hosts a Renaissance fes
You will like this book if you are easily amazed by the things your fellow humans do for fun or to make a living, or to survive or to fend off loneliness and despair' if you are not surprised but what we do to light the flickering light of "I am special". You will like this book if you prefer understatement and no-sentimentality in presentation of the harsh and the painful and the noble, and if you prefer examples of the profane in the presentation of the mysterious and even the mystical. If you ...more
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 th
In the spirit of this years motto, to boldly go where my inclinations have never led me to browse,I applied myself to finishing this collection of essays.I had liked the introduction very much but got bogged down immediately in alien territory and put it aside.Although he is better known as a novelist, I reasoned that if I was going to read only one thing by him, this might be the book to give me some kind of perspective on Palahniuks work.I determinined to finish with it already.I started agin ...more
I don't yet have the stomach for Chuck Palahniuk's fiction. I've tried reading pretty much all of his novels and 'Fight Club' is the only one I've been able to finish, and that's because I'd seen the movie and pretty much knew what was going to happen. His writing is just so over-the-top graphic, filled with human suffering and self-loathing that for me they're too much of a mental, emotional, and physical workout to get through. But at the same time I would like to one day be able to read his ...more
Axel Marazzi
Terminé «Error Humano», de Chuck Palahniuk. Es lo primero que leo de él, y ya logró que lo quiera y lo envidie.

El libro se divide en tres: «Gente reunida», «Retratos» y «Personal». Su nombre los describe lo suficiente.

Todos son relatos cortitos que cuentan historias tan interesantes como extrañas.

Desde un festival de sexo donde todos garchan porque sí hasta su paso por Los Angeles durante la época de «El club de la pelea».

Tiene una franqueza y simpleza que nos hace sentir identificados. Se acer
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
Adoro Palahniuk, e in questo libro è interessantissimo scoprire da cosa gli sono venuti alcuni degli spunti poi confluiti nei suoi libri.
Situazioni assurde della vita reale, raduni di gente che trova un proprio scopo in un'attività e fa in modo di ritrovarsi con altri suoi simili. Sia questa attività il sesso esibizionista, la lotta, gli scontri tra mototrebbiatrici, la costruzione di castelli in pietra.

Interessante anche la parte con i brevi aneddoti tratti dall'esperienza personale di Chuck, p
Stranger than Fiction es una lectura obligada para todo fan de Palahniuk, aunque no lleve el mismo estilo narrativo que el resto de sus historias. Es una respuesta a muchos por qués que uno se plantea cuando lee sus novelas: sobre su estilo, los temas que aborda, e incluso sobre su propia vida. Los primeros capítulos y algunos retratos son un poco pesados; otros, y sobre todo en "Personal", están buenos.
Me parece genial que, escribiendo historias reales pero inverosímiles, cuestione esa crítica
So it started out all right, but really crashed and burned in my opinion, maybe because I lost patience. This is a collection of stories, some interesting and indeed, almost stranger than fiction, others average. It is at its best when relating other people's stories, worst when it Palahniuk recording his own musings, which to me seemed as if he's trying too hard, and personal stories, which are not generally strange but seem more the experiences of a person who doesn't want to be well-adjusted, ...more
José Vivas M.
Con todo el punch que promete, y habiendo disfrutado ya de algunas novelas de Palahniuk, debo decir que la lectura sucesiva y continuada de estas crónicas, que en su forma original obviamente no estaban recopiladas, me dio pronto una sensación de hastío, de haberme topado con una fórmula para asombrar. Rompedoras como sean algunas de las historias, el tono de Palahniuk para presentarlas, esto-es-lo-que-hay-no-sé-por-qué-ofenderse-o-asombrarse, las iguala en cierta forma en la que, pues ya que to ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2008 Katy rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
If i could've given this book no stars I would've. I got about three stories in and realized I was forcing myself to read the next story. I ended up skimming through the rest and decided I wasn't missing anything.

I think the book is an interesting concept; this fiction writer writes a non-fiction book about different people and how they live their lives. It's a book of stories to glimpse into how other people live their lives. The problem is, isn't that what books are in general? It's a glimpse
Jul 18, 2010 Brad rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sad
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 'Jac
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 read ...more
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 at
This book was strangely good, I didn't like Haunted by him. I'm setting the bars high for Fight Club, and glad I gained a better perception of him. His writing is really good, and interesting. Some of the chapter/story/essays were better than others. In my honest opinion, the first story/essay/chapter was complete utter nonsense, testicle festival? please. The murder of his father, ghost stories, confessions in stone, and introduction were my absolute favourite. It was so intriguing to read abou ...more
Eve Kay
The high rating is purely because:
This is still one of the good ones from Palahniuk. This is still one of the ones he writes actual sentences and thinks. You can read all the thinking! I truly enjoyed reading about things that I knew to be actual facts, never mind how much I've heard urban legends about fem fight clubs or people choking on food at restaurants for money, I know the stuff Manson said is true coz I've read his book years back.
There is a certain kind of honesty in Stranger than Fict
Adam Busuttil
I thought this book would be a bit more out there. Some of the stores were intriguing, but others were just plain boring.
Edgar Avalos
I read just a couple of chapters of this book, not because the rest of the book is not good, but it is just because this book is not a novel, but rather it is a collection of independent experiences. It seems like his book was written in-between majors works.

“Reading is a pastime that seems to split us away from others”. “I write, because life never works except in retrospect. And writing makes you look back.”. These are some of the sentences that struck in my head because it sounds odd and true
Nigel Bird
What drew me to my first selection were the author and the amazing cover. Even with a fantastic cover and the author’s stamp to recommend it, I still entered Chuck Palahniuk’s Non-Fiction with mixed feelings. True stories and journalistic pieces are things I often struggle to focus upon, especially in a magazine or newspaper format. If they’re of particular interest, I’ll usually hang in there, but even then they’re not something I really enjoy.
The introduction to Non-Fiction is excellent and d
Corinna Scott
Here’s a question for you: can Chuck Palahniuk do wrong?? It doesn’t seem so to me. From someone who I associate so strongly with dark, twisted, soulful fiction I have now found dark, twisted, soulful nonfiction as well. Stranger Than Fiction is a masterful blend of storytelling, lecturing and questioning; in every way that Palahniuk explores his stories to find something deeper about them, he does the same to his readers and pushes them to look beyond the ordinary. Through Palahniuk’s way of sp ...more
You know how you read Chuck Palahniuk's novels and go, "Where the fuck does he get this stuff?" It turns out, mostly from what's right around him. You know when you read stuff in his books and you go, "Is that true?" Yes, it probably is true.

The book opens with him hanging around and observing the Missoula Testicle Festival. What he describes is a streak of horror, orgiastic excess that is the exact opposite of sex. Car crash exhibitionism. Yet this, along with the rest of the essays on 'People
Randall Krebs
Let me begin with a confession: Fight Club is my favorite movie of all time, but I have not (yet) read the book. So, that should give you a clue that I share the kind of nihilistic point of view that many of the one-star reviewers of Palahniuk's works accuse him of. (He claims to be a romantic.) If you see reality unadorned with mystic beliefs and unrealistic hopes, you can't help but be something of a nihilist. After all, this universe does not need human beings to keep on keepin' on. And take ...more
Farhan Khalid
Lonely Person

All my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people

The dream is a big house, off alone somewhere

How you write a novel

You plan and research. You spend time alone, building this lovely world where you control, control, control everything

You stay in your story world until you destroy it. Then you come back to be with other people

Reading a books is not a group activity

In my own cycle, it goes: Fact. Fiction. Fact. Fiction

Journalist and Novelist

The jo
Stewart Mitchell
Another one down while I pull all nighters and cram for exams. Go me.

I have a lot of good books on my shelf right now, so it's been hard to decide which one to read next. I picked this one because I thought that it would be a quick read and I wouldn't lose focus because it's just a bunch of short essays. And, of course, it's Palahniuk, who I was very interested to read as a nonfiction author. I'm so glad I decided to read this book, as lately I've been less than impressed with his stuff, and thi
Paulina Sanchez
Chuck Palahniuk never ceases to amaze me.

This compilation of stories range from some that will show you the strangest parts of human behavior to stories of human behavior that is nothing short of amazing. The things that we humans do to each other and for each other are shown by Palahniuk in his unique style. From stories about Hollywood stars to stories about people no one knows about but you end up wishing you knew them so you could hear more about their life, Palahniuk manages to teach us th
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
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Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more
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“A good story should make you laugh, and a moment later break your heart.” 850 likes
“That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. You can't control life, at least you can control your version.” 765 likes
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