Oriana's Reviews > Snuff

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
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Feb 23, 10

bookshelves: read-2008, why-werent-you-better

before reading
I'm presuming that this will be enough of a departure from Against the Day that it will help me remember how to read regular books.

(Also noted: the print is really big. Odd.)

after reading
Ok I'm really sorry to say this, but this book blew. I suppose that given the subject matter, that's kind of a double entendre, but fuck it. Actually, you know what? That's about as hard as it seems Palahniuk tried to make this book any good. It was like some college student aping Palahniuk for a second-rate writing class. A pale, pale imitation of the things that I know he can do really well. What a fucking letdown.

I guess you could call this a spoiler, but probably everyone who cares already knows that the plot here is that Cassie Wright is setting a porn world record by getting fucked by 600 guys in a row. The story is told in alternating perspectives by three of the men in line (numbers 72, 137, and 600) and by the "talent wrangler" who set the whole thing up. The multiple narrators — which worked so well in Rant — here are stupid and not believable. All three men talk basically the same, with a few halfhearted token phrases thrown in to differentiate them. (For example, #72 constantly says "I don't know." Oh yeah, Chuck, great.) I was hoping and hoping that the last chapter would be by Cassie herself, in order to possible do something trickerish and clever with a reversal of some kind at the end, but oh no. She basically never talks, and Chuck misses a chance to actually say something, make some kind of statement about the kind of woman who would get banged by 600 guys.

The whole book feels like just an excuse to catalogue three things: gross facts about how movie stars keep themselves beautiful & viable (cutting the heel off one shoe to make your ass grind together sexily, drinking crushed eggshells to get a smoky, husky voice); unfunny names for men who jerk off a lot (monkey-milkers, ham-whammers, sock-soakers); and clever fake porn movie names based on books & movies (To Drill a Mockingbird, Chitty Chitty Gang Bang, Gropes of Wrath, A Midsummer Night's Ream). And look, I love a good porn pun, but that is not enough, Mr. Palahniuk, to use as the backbone of an entire novel.

Sure there's some twists and a smidge of character development, but I'm telling you, the whole thing was just uninspired, insipid, and boring. Fuck.
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Comments (showing 1-30)




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message 30: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. Big print=publisher trying to stretch a novella into a novel? ...I read that the publisher plans on releasing this around Mother's Day as some sort of sick joke.


Oriana R.: Yeah, I probably think so too. They know they'll make sick money off anything he does, even if it's printed like it's meant for fourth graders. And I think sick jokes are kinda par for the course for Palahniuk, but I doubt a lot of people would get it, about the release date. Funnier woulda been Valentine's Day....

Robert: Indeed, Vonnegut would have been a very nice choice to follow Pynchon, though I probably would have gone for one of the softer, less war-intense ones. Too bad indeed that I've already read all his books.

Patrick: Dude, if I was editing a Palahniuk book, I would probably crap my pants with ecstacy. No, but it's cool how I did get it -- at the bookstore I used to work at, Chuck came to do a reading a few months ago. Apparently he was so happy with things that he emailed last month to say that his new book was in proofs, and he wanted to say thanks to the managers who helped him by sending everyone a copy. One of whom is one of my best friends. So after she & her roommate read it, it's in my hot little hands.


Imogen Y'know, I have been missing new york lately, but I've been on a Palahniuk kick lately and now I'm not just nostalgic but jealous. Hooray for proofs and
Bibbi and Sarah! Unless those are not the things and people you're talking about!


Oriana Awww, hey Imogen!! How's it going? Don't be too nostalgic... it's cold as shit here, and full of angry people. But of course you are right on all counts... I guess there are some perks to working at the silly Strand after all. Too bad they fired my ass, or I'd have my very own proof.


Imogen Yeah, New York has its suck parts, I sure remember that. I feel weird about how many times (and in what proximity) I used the word "lately" in that last post.

Hey, I am a book buyer in a used book store now! I am like Neil Winokur.


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Oriana, you may be a good book reporter, but you are full of shit. It was beautiful here today! Balmy and lovely with blue blue skies. I basically just hung around Bryant Park all day in my bikini, getting a tan. Okay, not really, but it was total Bay Area weather.... not that this made most citizens behave any more pleasantly.

The food and coffee's always better in Berkeley, though, and so are the bookstores (what's left of them) and record shops. Both five star places, IMHO, though mostly for different reasons.... The Strawberry Snatcher v. The Power Broker, maybe....

I have never read anything by Chuck Palahniuk. Should I?


Oriana Hahaha, busted! You're right Jessica, it was super nice here today. But I was just saying that NY is cold in general, trying to make Imogen not miss Brooklyn so much.

I am totally in love with Palahniuk, so I say you should definitely read him. I might suggest starting with Rant, his most recent (up to this one). I think it's a fantastic balance of gross-out / arcane trivia / surreal ideas / great characters. Invisible Monsters is also totally amazing. I think everyone else on this thread is a fan of his too, so they can all give their own opinions...


Oriana Oh! and Imogen, you can totally not be Neil (I can't believe you remembered his last name) until you smack someone on the knuckles with a book they're trying to sell. Have you done that yet?


Imogen Well, no. Also, I had to look up his last name by looking up his photography book on amazon. So I cheated.


message 21: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. I can only hope he's getting the bad writing out of his system to gear up for a kick-ass Rant sequel.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Chitty Chitty Gang Bang?? That's freakin' hysterical. (Does that make me twelve?)


Oriana R.: Christ, I hope so too. let's just pray that this was a half-baked effort that he was pushed to publish too soon, and now he'll be able to get back to blowing all our minds.

Tracy: Thanks!!

Matt: You know, I totally thought about that, but I really just think that this book sucked, regardless of any reading-order connection.

David: No I agree, Chitty Chitty Gang Bang is hilarious. As is the 'all facial revue' Catch Her in the Eye. But I'm saying, a bunch of clever porn titles does not a good novel make. My bf was actually real pissed when I told him about this book. He was all "That's what I do all day is research obscure gross facts and come up with hysterically bad porn names. And people are all up this guy's butt, giving him millions of dollars to do the same thing?"


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Oriana, methinks this is the time to ask what your bf does for a living... (Catch Her in the Eye??? *titter, titter*)


Books Ring Mah Bell thank you so much for chitty chitty gang bang!

I will add that to the other titles... Sperminator: the 2nd coming
Spankenstein
Throbbin' Hood
On Golden Blonde..


Oriana what does your boyfriend do?? Does he at least get paid for the research???



message 16: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. Chuck's pal Marilyn Manson utilized the possibilities (pushed them, really) of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang first (and best) with the tone poem Shitty Chicken Gang Bang, available on the taster's sampler Smells Like Children EP.




message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 07, 2008 11:13AM) (new)

Here are some that don't even need "improvement":

American Tail
Hannah and Her Sisters
The Black Hole
First Blood





Books Ring Mah Bell gladiator....


(glad-he-ate-her, for those of you who have not had coffee yet)


message 13: by brian (last edited Mar 07, 2008 12:20PM) (new)

brian   david, that's genius! i'm not so clever. here are my 'alterations':

the load warrior
the rodfather
bright lights, big titties




message 12: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. The New Breastament; The Audacity of Hoes; Something Licked This Way Cums; The Fine People You Meat in Heaven


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Brian, I'd see Bright Lights, Big Titties. It sounds like another one of those Merchant & Ivory films.

R: I'm duly impressed that you even remember that there was a film version of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

For the fetish market:

Mr. Mom
Room With a View
Harry and the Hendersons
Batteries Not Included
Yentl (Don't ask.)






message 10: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. David - Hey, have Jason Robards vs. Evil and I'm there.

Eat This, Not That: Thousands of Simple Wife Swaps; A Thousand Splendid Buns; Horton Hires a Ho; Blacks on Blondes 28: Astroglide and Prejudice.


message 9: by R. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R. I did, as far as I know, filch Horton Hires a Ho from...what?...MAD magazine? Night Court? Somewhere...


Oriana Good grief, you guys. Yet again, I missed all the fun. To clarify: my boyfriend most certainly does not get paid to spend all day coming up with band and porn names, and reading kotaku and wikipedia. He's a dog walker, actually. Awfully glamorous, I know. But that doesn't slow him down. Today's band names were all variations on fuck/funk, to wit: "The Motherfunkers", "Stop Funking Around", "Funked in the Ass", etc. (Hey, it worked for ska...)

And the research from last night yielded this tidbit (not for the faint of heart... though fitting for a thread based on a Palahniuk novel):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unusual_...

The real "gem" on the page is this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armin_Me...

I asked if I could post some of his in-fucking-credible porn names, but he is a jerk & doesn't want anyone stealing his ideas. Sorry!


Oriana Oh honey. And I'm on the east coast, meaning it's 3am here. I'm going to sleep after this cigarette, I swear, but first I'ma download some Dinah Washington. You always know what's up, Robert.

And I meant to say before, stellar effort all. My faves: Throbbin' Hood, Bright Lights, Big Titties, Something Licked This Way Comes. You guys are amazing!




Nick Man, I LOVED Against the Day! Sure it was long, but not nearly as unreadable as i found Gravitys Rainbow. I honestly had a hard time putting it down.

That being said, Snuff...I think when i attempted to read this book i said Chuck Palahniuk has become a parody of himself. I havent read anything since by hime to change my mind.


message 5: by J.P. (new)

J.P. oriana wrote: "R.: Yeah, I probably think so too. They know they'll make sick money off anything he does, even if it's printed like it's meant for fourth graders. And I think sick jokes are kinda par for the cour..."

R. wrote: "Big print=publisher trying to stretch a novella into a novel? ...I read that the publisher plans on releasing this around Mother's Day as some sort of sick joke. "

oriana wrote: "R.: Yeah, I probably think so too. They know they'll make sick money off anything he does, even if it's printed like it's meant for fourth graders. And I think sick jokes are kinda par for the cour..."

R. wrote: "Big print=publisher trying to stretch a novella into a novel? ...I read that the publisher plans on releasing this around Mother's Day as some sort of sick joke. "

oriana, thank you for writing such an honest & vivid review. It made for better reading than the book it was based on.


message 4: by Oriana (last edited Feb 24, 2010 06:54PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Oriana Nick: oh man, I also loved Against the Day; one of the best books I ever read, hands down. And you're right about Palahniuk becoming a parody of himself. So sad, especially because some of his earlier books were so so good.

J.P.: Aw! Thanks, that's super sweet of you to say.


Nick Oriana, have you read his take on the soft boiled detective novel? I really enjoyed it, but its a HUGE departure from his normal oeuvre. I wish I could get through Gravity's Rainbow. That and Infinite Jest seem to mock me, though my latest attempt at Jest really soured me on it, found it just horribly pretentious.


Oriana Wait, which book do you mean? The new one? If so no; it's extremely silly, but I, um, refuse to read hardcover books. But! As soon as it's out in pb I will be all over it. I did Gravity's Rainbow the first summer after I finished college -- I just felt like I needed to do something intellectually devastating, and that really hit the spot. I liked it more than I liked Infinite Jest, I'll admit.


Nick Yea, Inherent Vice is the title. The library I work at received some advance copies, I think. It is extremely silly! Kind of a novel of Pynchon's weird humor, with some plot and setting thrown in too. Definitely one to check out, especially considering it could be his last book given he publishes only about once a decade.


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