Darga's Reviews > Choke

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
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M_50x66
's review
Nov 18, 07

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"There is no human soul, and I am absolutely for sure seriously not going to fucking cry."

reading a chuck palahniuk novel is like one of those long booze-soaked all-night discussions with someone you've just met. by the end of it you're convinced that you've solved all the world's problems, and how to proceed seems so clear. once you wake up in the morning you remember how good it was, but details are hazy and the big plans are gone.

his books all share similar themes, but i find this to be at the top of the list. i think it's tied with haunted as his best work, and i think it's actually a more accomplished book than fight club. it's much richer.

for such a short read, this book manages to pick apart:

the nature of aging and death
the perils of being a med student
the dangers of too much knowledge
insanity and senility
sex and love or lack thereof
gender issues
language and semiotics
motherhood (and fatherlessness)
the need to have and to be a savior
the appeal and drawbacks of sarcasm and anarchy
tourism/photos/fetishes and other ways we cling to the past
religion/pornography/drugs and other ways we escape the present
idealism/ignorance/romanticism and other ways we avoid the future

it's all handled and balanced very delicately and well researched, which is a big deal for me. he's not an author who's stingy with his ideas.

he uses lots of gimmicks and touchstones in his books to hold together the narrative and make the reader feel comfortable even in his tangents, which is something i like in my novels.

some people will complain that all his books share some of the same themes, and they do.

this one has the same sort of alternating hopelessness and hopefulness that fight club has, and similar fucked up antihero characters. i always read his books when i need to be reminded how comparatively normal and pleasant my life really is.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by E (new) - rated it 2 stars

E So apparently I'm some sort of horrible person for not really digging this one. I just couldn't accept the logic that the people who'd saved him would feel responsible for him. I know I wouldn't. Also, the whole thing felt, to me, like it'd been cobbled together out of leftover Fight Club ideas.

(Shortly after reading it, I bought my usual box of black hair dye and didn't realize that the bottle inside was actually a very light shade of blond until I started putting it on my dang head. That situation did nothing to further endear the book to me.)

Anyway, your review almost makes me want to reread it. Allllmost.


Katie Wow, this is one of the most interesting reviews I've read. I hate when people give bad reviews because they don't understand the main point of the book itself and just see the authors pattern. I love when authors carry over archetypes and characters into other books. I haven't finished the book yet but I'm really looking forward to it now! So thanks.


message 3: by Erica (new)

Erica Hiser I agree great review


Christian Otte That description of reading a Palahniuk novel is spot-on. Good review.


Patrick Steele I love his work, but I never feel "comfortable" while reading it.


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