Leifer's Reviews > Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon

Fugitives and Refugees by Chuck Palahniuk
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's review
Jul 20, 2010

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?

Other than suspecting Palahniuk of racism and homophobia, the book is okay, other than the fact that it lingers for a LONG chapter on Portland's sex trade. After those first gaffes, i didn't care anymore what he thought was interesting about the city. By the time I got to that chapter, i suspected that he had a rather unhealthy preoccupation with perversion. If that's you thing, it's fine. But perversion exists in CONTRAST to the normative. And I'm sure Portland has many fascinating, wholesome, even pedestrian things that are interesting as well. His memories of strippers and men masturbating isn't actually about this city-- it's about his memories, which honestly, i lost interest in.

There were some great ideas of unusual things, but I'll remember those two incidents as the entire book.
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Reading Progress

July 20, 2010 – Started Reading
July 20, 2010 – Shelved
July 20, 2010 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Seaghdha Palahniuk himself is gay - it's a bit difficult to play the role of a homophobe when you're uncloseted and writing about the "erotic underground" of Portland. I agree with your other criticism though.

Kevin O'Keeffe Mr. Palahniuk probably also took note of the fact that his attackers were Black, in an otherwise nearly all-White city. Who wouldn't? I'm sorry if he didn't take the dull, boring, pedestrian, blue-nosed, Puritannical PC leftoid conclusion about how "White racism" was to blame for his being attacked, and, oh, I don't know, offer to give those Black thugs a blowjob as "reparations," or something. On second thought, I'm not sorry at all, and I wish he'd pulled out a pistol and shot those punks dead!

Leifer Thanks, Seaghdha. That's interesting to learn that he's gay, and it certainly would have changed the way I read that chapter.

For Kevin... well, thanks for your comment. It demonstrates that Portland is a diverse city--black, white, conservative, liberal, racist, etc.

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