Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon” as Want to Read:
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (Crown Journeys Series)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  8,649 Ratings  ·  448 Reviews
Want to know where Chuck Palahniuk's tonsils currently reside?
Been looking for a naked mannequin to hide in your kitchen cabinets?
Curious about Chuck's debut in an MTV music video?
What goes on at the Scum Center?
How do you get to the Apocalypse Café?

In the closest thing he may ever write to an autobiography, Chuck Palahniuk provides answers to all these questions and m
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published July 8th 2003 by Crown Journeys/Crown Publishers/Crown Publishing Group/Random House (first published June 8th 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Fugitives and Refugees, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Fugitives and Refugees

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book hooked me in the Purple Room at Powell's with the first sentence, a quote from fellow Portlander and author Katherine Dunn's Geek Love: "'Everyone in Portland is living a minimum of three lives.'" (I'm not suggesting anything insidious here, but there are so many references to the other Doubleday author Dunn and her book that the word "product placement" did cross my mind.) I was there for a week on a work trip and even then I caught a glimpse of at least three Portlands: a fit wealthy ...more
Brooke Preston
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: portlanders, curious tourists, but not to the easily ruffled or those unwilling to skim
Recommended to Brooke by: Josie (co-worker friend)
It's a quick read, and a fun primer (in parts) of Portland's underground and history, mixed with a bit of Palahnuik's attempt at autobiography. I actually give this book more like two and a half stars, but since Goodreads doesn't work like Star Search, I don't have that option.

The book lost points with me for being uncomfortably seedy in places; to put it more plainly, a chapter with restaurant recommendations, great local gardens, or tips on how to pronounce local streets was often immediately
Aug 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: some
Just go to Portland. I have been there 7 times. Just outside of the city are the mountains and waterfalls (a five minute drive). Perhaps my favorite city in the U.S., it is full of life, culture, hate, and wonder and yet still costs as much as living in Tulsa. I plan on moving there after my Bachelor's degree. Screw the book, just book a flight.
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non-Fiction. Palahniuk takes us on a tour of Portland's sex clubs, hardware stores, gardens, and ghosts. As long as you consider Newberg and Maryhill to be part of Portland, which they decidedly are not.

I'm not sure if this book will have any appeal to people unfamiliar with Portland -- the travel guide aspect is thin on the ground -- but I liked it. Sometimes you just want to read a book about the place where you live. That self-satisfied thrill when you recognize the landmarks, the off-hand di
Jul 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
I had issues with this. For one, the ONLY time he talks about ethnicity in the book was when he was jumped by a group of "black men with black hoods". Identifying his muggers as black (and OTHER) sets himself on pretty shaky ground, and in a city that is 80+% white, i can't see how this is NOT an issue.

ALSO-- he talks about a gay man who was trying to sleep with him which was "capital NOT going to happen." Again, you weren't going to sleep with anyone else in the book, so why single this man out
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Review from my blog:

I started and finished Fugitives & Refugees, thus ending my resolve to not read any more Chuck books this week. Yes, we're on a first name basis. That's mainly cos I don't really know how to pronounce his last name and I feel better about just calling him Chuck. Anyway, Fugitives & Refugees was really good – a series of vignettes and travel tips about and within Portland, Oregon – my close personal friend Chuck‘s home since 1980. Some of them are crazy, some are fun,
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People thinking of moving to Portland
In short, this collection of non-fiction essays is a love letter to Portland. If the style of this guide book appeals to you, if the odd, macabre, and sometimes loathsome puts you in just the right mood, if you want an adventure, come to Portland. Then read Fugitives and Refugees. The rain merely keeps the riff raff out and the green in. The battle for Canine Equal Rights has been won. The microbrew revolution began here and is thriving. And the people are as weird and welcoming as you could eve ...more
Peter Derk
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Love this book. It is, however a decade old by now, so some of the stuff has aged and passed on.

The Willamette Weekly did an awesome job covering all the stuff in this book in July 2013 to see what was still there, what was gone, and to make some suggestions.

There's the first article which gives a nice little history of the book itself

And the second which goes through just about everything between the covers to see what's what in 2013
Ian Forsyth
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, portland

"Everyone in Portland is living a minimum of three lives," says Katherine Dunn, the author of Geek Love. She says, "Everyone has at least three identities."
"They're a grocery store checker, an archaeologist, and biker guy," she says. "Or they're a poet, a drag queen, and a bookstore clerk."

The Devil's Triangle: The triangle formed by W Burnside Street and SW Stark and Eleventh. Occupied for years by the Silverado bar and the Club Portland men's bathhouse.

Lake No-Negro/Fake Lost Ego/Fake
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of all kinds of tidbits for Portland. Cool stories, experiences and must sees. I'll be keeping this arou7for when I go, so I can hit at least a few of the places mentioned.
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Finished this in two sittings. Great fun. An absolute gem. A guide to Portland in that down-and-out in Paris kind of way that might already be out-of-date, but who cares, it’s not like I’m planning to visit. By that measure it’s impressive how entertaining it is. The postcards in between every other chapter are the real delights.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
This series by Crown is an interesting one - 2nd tier celebrities (or, maybe better put, major figures in sub-major circuits) pen brief volumes that are half ode to their hometown/half visitors guide to the city they love. In a way, it could be a comprehensive guide to where that person would take you if they really cared about you, enjoyed your company, and were putting you up for a month.

As a volume, this particular book isn't terribly strong. The writing is often pedestrian, and the structur
Grainne Rhuad
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's not a secret that Chuck Palahniuk is one of my favorite writer's but I had never read this, his foray into non-fiction. This is an ode to Chuck's hometown, Portland, Oregon. The delightful thing about this book is it is a tour-guide to what some would call the "underbelly" (and certainly includes the famous Underground) of this city. Within these pages you will find out how to hook-up with housewives, businessmen (if that's how you swing) and prostitutes. You will find directions to the loc ...more
Kevin O'Keeffe
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I burned through this thing in less than 24 hours (its very short ie., about 165 pages). It was really quite enjoyable, being both interesting and informative about numerous, often-strange aspects of life in Portland, well as containing some sheer hilarity (the anecdote about the "laser Floyd" show in 1980, may be the single funniest thing I've read since finishing John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy of Dunces," nearly two years ago).

Having been published in 2003, its doubtless out-o
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Chuck Palahniuk seems much better suited to this non-fiction writing than his usual books. In Fugitives and Refugees he manages to convey the heart and strange soul of Portland in a very human way. The oddities that he mentions he does so with a humble love and wry smirk that is difficult to not find utterly endearing. It made me want to visit Portland rather badly, though I unfortunately didn't quite have a chance.

The section on Santa Clause is particularly memorable. As is, always, the myria
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone traveling to or living in Portland
In this book, Palahniuk gives an insiders guide to some of the more odd things in and around Portland. He describes the neighborhoods, places of interest, and the things that makes Portland weird and oh so loveable. It's a quick read that should be bought before traveling, whenyou move here, or even if you've lived here your whole life. There is all kinds of information in this book no one would know otherwise. Plus, he gives his own personal experiences living and traveling here to make it more ...more
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
It was ok. Some parts were really interesting, and I loved the "postcards" which were basically just snapshots of his life in Portland, but I felt like a lot of times it was here is a sentence about this place and seven sentences of directions on how to get there also their phone number. I think I might have liked this more if I had been to, or knew more about Portland. It was entertaining , and I enjoyed it, but over all just alright, nothing super spectacular.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun and easy read about the city of Portland and Palahniuk's experiences in the city, I read in less than 24 hours. 3/4 of it was a tour book and 1/4 autobiographical - I wish that were reversed. There was a long section about the zoo, but not a single personal story of him at the zoo. The ghost stories were a lot of fun and after reading the history about Darcelle's I really want to go back. Maybe after my tour of the Shanghai Tunnels...
Hannah Cook
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
if you're after a travel guide (and you're going to portland in like 2001) then this is five stars. but it's actually a bit boring skimming through the lists of places to go and all their phone numbers etc. His "postcards from.." chapters are great though. Little snippets of his past in Portland.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
To be honest I would have been comfortable giving this 1 star, except it would probably be useful for people who are moving to or maybe visiting Portland. More an exploration of the strangeness that is Portland Oregon than an autobiography. Mildly entertaining at best, Chuck fans can skip this one.
I recall buying this book waaaay back when it first came out, before the Kindle was a thing. I got less than half way through it and I either left it somewhere or someone stole it - I can't really remember - and I never got around to finishing it. I wasn't engrossed enough to go out and buy another copy, so I just let it go. Until last week when the eBook was on sale and I just couldn't resist.

I love love love Chuck P.'s early work - Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Choke, Lullaby, and Survivor a
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
An alternative tourist guide to the weird, wacky, wasted, and well, bawdy, attractions of this somewhat unique corner of America. Sure, just about every city and town has its unusual and salacious (and disturbing) hidden historical (with supposedly haunted) spots, but Portland, Oregon, seems to have them in abundance---as well as a more-open and freewheeling local culture that seems to thrive on it. More power to them. Still, this is not a travel guide I would offer to my children. I, on the oth ...more
Jim Lyons
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's dated (as is my own Portland knowledge), but fascinating, and funny. It seems he knows ALL the gritty and unseemly spots and people in my home town, at least as of 2003. Some interesting history is included as well, like on the Shanghai tunnels, and some good Fight Club trivia. A theme of the book, borrowed from novelist Katherine Dunn, is that everyone in Portland is living (at least) three lives. I wish he would learn to properly spell "Oaks" - as in the Park and Bottoms - no "e". The Kin ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Part travelogue, part reminiscence of his life in Portland. This is a quick and fun romp through the city and Chuck's life. If I was spending more than a few days here or lived here, I would definitely check out some of the places. But for a short stay traveler this is really more of a glimpse into the weird of Keep Portland Weird scene. It's fun and nice and all the folks who share there stories seem like good people enjoying their slice the world. Though this is a bit dated and some of the pla ...more
John Soderberg
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've only ever read Fight Club by Palahniuk, but I did grow up near Portland and was quite curious what this book would hold. About half-way through reading it (so, a day), I realized this was just one in a series of "A Walk in CITY" books. This book certainly shows some peculiar sides of Portland, but I would not use it as a guide book in any way, and I would not particularly recommend it to a fan of Fight Club. Overall, this is a dramatized book which gives zero indication of what "A Walk in P ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
(3.5) If you're visiting Portland in 2002, then this is a definite 5/5 kinda book. But if you're reading it for any other reason, it gets a solid 3.5. While it does serve as an off-the-beaten-path tour guide to Portland, a lot of the places mentioned in this book are long gone. BUT it is the closest thing we'll probably ever read to a Palahniuk autobiography and that makes it so freakin' worth it. The stories in this book are wild and wonderful and gives great insight to Palahniuk's body of work ...more
Giuseppe Siragusa
Si tratta a tutti gli effetti di una guida turistica. Assolutamente consigliata se avete intenzione di visitare Portland. I luoghi più interessanti e più strani sono elencati tutti qui. Per tutti i fan di Palahniuk invece, questo libro può rappresentare la descrizione dei luoghi e delle esperienze che hanno ispirato lo scrittore per i suoi libri più famosi. Decisamente bizzarro, ma apprezzabilissimo.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Outsiders
Recommended to Kim by: Your mom
Thinking of visiting/moving to Portland? Read this R-rated unofficial travel guide first. As a native, I can vouch for the authenticity of most of it. Perhaps the reasons why I think dementors are circling SE can be found within the pages.

If you're a native and don't want to be, don't bother. It will just confirm your suspicions that you are in the wrong place. The stuff you don't already know, you won't want to.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good times

and memories. This was a lot of fun to read, making me laugh more than once. It has been years since I've had wandering around time in PDX, and I'm guessing a fair number of these things are gone in the 15 years since publication, but it would be so worth seeing what's still there. Also, I'm glad I didn't know that's why there were all the peacocks on the Maryhill Museum grounds.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
Trademark Palahniuk: quick-read and stranger than fiction. As I have pretensions to being a hardcore off the beaten path traveler, this is an ideal guide for my future visit to (or residence in?) Portland. The autobiographical insertions are rather middling, though I do envy the variety of off-tilt experiences he's had. Time to make it weird!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
portland is the best place in the world. 2 42 Jun 05, 2008 09:02AM  
  • The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself on the Pacific Crest Trail
  • How to Beat Up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion
  • Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey
  • Dirty Sexy Politics
  • Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown
  • When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism
  • Plan of Attack
  • Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: An Optimist Afloat
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me about Christopher Columbus: What Your History Books Got Wrong
  • 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
  • The Curse of Lono
  • Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need
  • A Practical Guide to Racism
  • The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War
  • A Brave Vessel: The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown and Inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest
  • The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal?
  • I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts
  • You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I Am Jack's Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection
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
More about Chuck Palahniuk

Other books in the series

Crown Journeys Series (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown
  • After the Dance: A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel, Haiti
  • City of the Soul: A Walk in Rome
  • Washington Schlepped Here: Walking in the Nation's Capital
  • Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg
  • Blues City: A Walk in Oakland
  • Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park
  • Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket (Crown Journeys)
  • Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago
  • Time's Magpie: A Walk in Prague (Crown Journeys)

Nonfiction Deals

  • Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany
    $15.99 $3.99
  • The Monster of Florence
    $10.99 $2.99
  • The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob
    $9.99 $1.99
  • April 1865 (P.S.)
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Jesus Is ______: Find a New Way to Be Human
    $7.99 $0.99
  • Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Lab 257
    $8.74 $1.99
  • How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Last Lecture
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
    $12.74 $1.99
  • Not Tonight, Honey: Wait 'Til I'm A Size 6
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Feast: True Love in and out of the Kitchen
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
    $12.99 $2.99
  • An Appetite For Wonder: The Making Of A Scientist
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    $27.99 $2.99
  • Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography (Dakotas)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Restless: Because You Were Made for More
    $7.49 $1.99
  • Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman
    $10.24 $1.99
  • The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions
    $16.99 $2.99
  • Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After
    $13.99 $3.99
  • Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Pukka: The Pup After Merle
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Buddhist Boot Camp
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Flour: A Baker's Collection of Spectacular Recipes
    $21.99 $3.99
  • The Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D-Day
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Van Gogh
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Woman's Worth
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Do the Work
    $4.99 $1.49
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Suck at Girls
    $10.74 $1.99
  • The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women
    $14.99 $2.99
  • A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Peace Is Every Breath: A Practice for Our Busy Lives
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
    $7.24 $1.99
  • The World's Last Night: And Other Essays
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Tracks: One Woman's Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Life
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society
    $13.24 $2.99
  • Grace, Not Perfection (with Bonus Content): Celebrating Simplicity, Embracing Joy
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Through the Eyes of a Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Why We Run: A Natural History
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
    $12.99 $2.99
“The most I can ever do is write things down. To remember them. The details. To honor them in some way.” 4 likes
“Это как будто идёшь в тумане и не видишь, что там, впереди, но идёшь всё равно, потому что тебе любопытно. Просто идёшь, шаг за шагом.” 2 likes
More quotes…