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2.97  ·  Rating details ·  27,225 ratings  ·  1,973 reviews
The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park—Chuck Palahniuk’s finest novel since the generation-defining Fight Club.

“Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc.”

Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young a
Hardcover, First Edition, 255 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Doubleday
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Average rating 2.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  27,225 ratings  ·  1,973 reviews

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Nov 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2005-2010
May 2009

Begins here account of reader me, Agent Jacob, located rural area _____, date _____. For official record, here review novel "Pygmy," tenth fictional account written master of mediocrity Chuck Palahniuk, borrowed community literature repository of city _____.

Pygmy novel written strange style, uneducated broken English like dumb child. Much time reading, but eventual comprehension. Still not like. Other authors try, much mocking critics. However Chuck much genius, many hipsters want fellat
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Mar 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
CW: rape, violence, racism, sexism, school shooting

This review is going to have spoilers, so feel free to skip if you don’t like that.

What the literal fuck? I cannot read this for another second. This book is only 256 pages but it felt like eternity. I only have an hour left of the audiobook but I will not subject myself to this any longer. If I could give this zero stars I would.

The story centers around what I assume to be an Asian spy from a communist country. He comes to the US as a foreign
Aug 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
Begins here paragraph the first of reviewer me, goodreader Chris, upon completion great American subversive novel. ISBN: 978-0-385-52634-0. Title: Pygmy. Author: Esteemed sodomite Chuck Palahniuk. For official record, expose novel as shit of iguanadons.

Sales of novel great, fueled by author prior reputation as popculture satirist. For establish goodreader history, this reviewer previously read Choke, disliked as bite in testicle by rabid wombat nut-chomp, however, is willing to give chance the
Jun 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
I got so caught up at reading the mangled English that I forgot I was reading a Chuck Palahniuk book, and I had not properly mentally braced myself when the first horrible thing happens in Chapter 2. After getting that shock, it was easier to remember who I was dealing with.

This has got everything you'd expect from a Palahniuk novel. Dark humor, graphic violence, and a bunch of disturbing characters with an outlandish plot and outrageous twists.

This story of a spy trained since childhood by an
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
"I am Palahnuik damn it!"

He may be the Vonnegut of our age. Scathing satire with all the subtelty of a sledge hammer. And a fun read, too, though the stream of consciousness pigeon English took some getting used to.

Flying panda kick! BAM POW!

Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: the uncharacteristically intelligent who does not have sticks up their a**es
Pygmy is focused on the experiences of Agent Number 67, a 13-year old secret agent from an unnamed totalitarian state. Agent Number 67 along with 11 other young men and women take a journey to America disguised as foreign exchange students with the ultimate goal of executing a terrorist attack named Operation Havoc upon the American society.

When I was watching Angelina Jolie's movie, SALT, I couldn't help but think of this vintage Palahniuk novel. It left me wondering if the people who wrote Sal
Christy Stewart
I'll give it another chance as soon as they translate it into English. ...more
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If your reading level and vocabulary aren't excellent, you don't have a good grasp of 40's-80's Communist history, and your tolerance for extreme sexual weirdness isn't pretty high, don't read this book. All of Palahniuk's books are a little... extreme, but this one has reached a whole new level of weird.
As a quick check of the synopsis should tell you, Pygmy is an exchange student from an unnamed Communist country. His story is told in a series of mangled-English dispatches back to his masters.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, usa
This was a mission to read. Deciphering every sentence was a bit of a pain but it was such an unusual book and you did get used to it during the better chapters.
La Petite Américaine Cash App: $Covid2020sucks
Honestly, what the FUCK?

I wonder how much money Palahniuk made on sales of this piece of shit from fools like me who wanted to give the author one more chance.

Behold, one sentence (just pages after the ass-rape scene in mangled English in the Wal-Mart bathroom): "Here worship shrine, all male neck must bind around with knotted banner, silk banner knotted at windpipe so dangle two long strands down chest to waistband trouser." I get that the main chartacter is supposed to be a Chinese exchange st
David Barbee
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really liked Pygmy. It’s Palahnuik’s brand of demented satire, only this time it’s aimed at traditional American ideologies. Here, a group of youngsters from a far off communist state are sent to America as exchange students. It doesn’t matter what country they’re from, just that their native land is the pinnacle of everything America isn’t. The kids are drones that have been conditioned almost since birth to carry out the will of their hyper-socialist state. Basically, they’re everything righ ...more
Nicholas Karpuk
May 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Masochists
"Pygmy" is not a good book. Unlike some of his other works, I'm not even going to praise him for experimentation, because what he did doesn't feel like all that much of a risk.

You will not find a review of this book that does not address the prose. If you haven't already read the book or an excerpt, please do so before continuing this review.... go ahead, I'll wait.......alright, now we're on the same page on the ridiculous way this is written. It's hard to adapt to because it doesn't feel like
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Do I dare say that Chuck Palahniuk is back? I mean, not quite "Fight Club" back, or "Choke" back. But at least "Diary" back, and that was the novel that got me to join Team Palahniuk in the first place, so it's a start. Especially after the grueling, repetitious, obsessive-compulsive, list-of-porn-movie-titles disaster that was "Snuff" [which I ranked among the Top 3 worst novels I read in 2008:].

"Pygmy" is fantastic social sattire: Portrait of suburban Americana, through the lens of a foreign
Adam McDonald
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chuck Palahniuk fans and people who enjoy twisted fiction.
CLASSIC Chuck! Hard to read (literally, hard to read in the way it was written), gross, yet making great points about consumerism and how it has infected the American Way. Trust me here, you won't like it at first. It takes at LEAST 20 pages to get into the dialect it's written in (if you've read Trainspotting, you'll understand what I'm talking about) and even after that, there were times I had to re-read the same paragraph a few times to get what was going on.

Chuck presents an anti-hero you re
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Finally, I got around to reading and reviewing a recent book. Feels good to be with the times. Though I have to admit that I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near the new releases table if I hadn’t been anxiously anticipating this book for the past year. Ol’ Chuck is one of the few authors whose entire bibliography I’ve taken the time to read. He has rarely disappointed me. I was nervous about this novel, because his previous novel Snuff was one of those rare disappointments. Fortunately, Pygmy was m ...more
I just started this book yesterday, and I can already tell that I'm going to despise it. The broken English is absolutely horrible. I read for pleasure, not to spend ten minutes a page trying to figure out what the hell is being said and trying to follow along.

Further review to come once I've finished it. Providing that actually /do/ finish it.


I could not finish this book, and I do NOT just put books down. It annoyed me so badly that I closed it and returned it to the library before it a
Zuky the BookBum
Jun 20, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
I legit read 50 pages of this and gave up. I'm not wasting my time on this shit. I don't want to have decipher every fucking sentence in the entire fucking book. No. ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel, 2009
Questing again after the elusive interview.

I'm struggling with the voice a bit. I imagine I'll hit a point where it will click into place and flow a little more smoothly in my head, but right now I'm struggling.

I may have hit a wall with this book relatively early. There was a scene I found disturbing and repulsive, and now I'm in the hands of a narrator who makes my skin crawl. I'll continue, because clearly Palahniuk wants to challenge me, and I don't like to back down from a challenge. But I
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Let my biases ring clear: I typically love Chuck Palahniuk. No single author has influenced my love of reading and writing more than Chuck has over his career.

"Pygmy", as the book jacket says, is a romance and a comedy (satire would be closer to the truth). It is by far the most obviously humorous of his books (the running joke about Colonel Sanders made me chuckle several times). It's at once a biting send-up of American values (the observations about public education were absolutely priceless
Amy Wong
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
TW: rape, sexual assault, racial slurs, violence

Obviously from the trigger warnings this is a highly uncomfortable book. I have not read Palahniuk's other books yet however I knew to expect dark humor and controversial writing. That doesn't mean I was ready or that I won't feel uncomfortable because I very much did. I should and do recognize that Pygmy (the word and everything the character represented) is alot directed at me but I'm still mulling it over because this is satire. That doesn't mea
If you came here looking for the next Fight Club then walk away now.
Sentimental Surrealist
The Vapidity Wars: 1,188 Words and Running

This was originally a long rant about not just Palahniuk but also Bret Easton Ellis, Rick Moody, and Jonathan Franzen, who I feel have problems similar to Palahniuk's, although I'd take Moody and Franzen over Palahniuk and Ellis. I saved the whole rant in Word and plan to work it into a much more elaborate and less Palahniuk-focused essay, because while I really wanted to publish the whole thing here, this review is long enough even without the outside a
David Joseph  Mikels
Aug 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book was poop .... That being said it was hard to read the writing style was ridiculous... Chuck will always have a place in my heart for writing fight club but his other works have been disappointments altogether
Dec 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
One of the good things about reading for pleasure (instead of, say, reading for school or because someone has a gun to your head and says “read it or die!”) is that when I don’t like something, I can put it down without finishing it.
Thus ends my experience with the second Chuck Palahniuk book to disappoint me(the last one being Snuff). I’m sure this book is brilliant on some level, but after 2 chapters of this 1st person perspective story told in some kind of broken Pidgin English, about a terro
Jun 06, 2012 rated it did not like it
I tried really hard to like this book, but I could not bring myself to give more than a half smile every now and then. I have to comment on the prose. It makes the reading incredibly difficult. Usually, when the writing is strange (A Clockwork Orange) it’s consistent and one gets used to it after a while. However, with Pygmy I felt that fluid reading of the book was hindered by the writing and I was struggling to understand passages. I often had to read parts over again just to understand what w ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own

Quality of writing: 3
Plot development: 3
Pace: 2
Characters: 3
Enjoyability: 3
Ease of reading: 1

So... Ummmm...
Everyone probably knows that I love Chuck Palahniuk. It pains me to give this book such a low rating, but, dammit, it's not good.
Pygmy has some good elements but overall it just falls apart. It's a satire and an attack on American culture. The writing stile is unique (why I love Palahniuk - he's not afraid to experiment) but it's also pretty unreadable. I tried reading it, then switch
Jul 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No-one
I had completely forgotten about this book until I found it while packing up all my books yesterday. A couple years ago I was put on to Palahniuk's books and enjoyed Fight Club, Snuff and Choke. Then I heard he had a new book out and thought I'd give it a try.

What a waste of money. The writing style was horrible, I just couldn't get into it at all. I gave up after a few chapters and will not ever pick it up again. It turned me off Palahniuk to the point that I've never read another of his books.
Ashley Daviau
This book was such a huge disappointment for me. I adore Chuck Palahniuk and his wonderfully twisted stories but this one was just not for me. From the very beginning it failed to capture my interest and I really struggled to keep with it until the end.

I think the main reason I struggled with it so much is the way it’s written. It’s done in such a broken English that sometimes I had absolutely no clue what was going on and would have to reread a page multiple times to make sense of it. Not real
Sarah Marie
3 stars. I didn't hate this, but sometimes this was far too gratuitous, but I do love satire, so it wasn't all bad. Review to come. ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page count: ISBN 978-0-307-47750-7 2 20 Mar 24, 2014 06:04PM  

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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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