Mike Kleine's Reviews > Snuff

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
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Jun 01, 2008

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Snuff is not for everybody. Those who have never read a Chuck Palahniuk novel will probably not enjoy the story or the way it is presented while others may be drawn to the subject matter alone. "Six hundred dudes. One porn queen. A world record for the ages." Come on, it's about porn! Palahniuk fans will certainly enjoy this short tirade that seems more like a novella than an actual novel. Snuff is Chuck's shortest novel to date. Fact. Every single letter is in brown ink! Fact. It certainly does not take away from the aesthetic feel but it may come as a surprise to some when they first begin reading though it is not immediately noticeable.

Overall, Snuff is not a bad story at all, Chuck has just put himself in a bad spot with his previous novels. He has raised the bar to such great heights with novels such as Fight Club, Haunted, and Survivor that fans may see Snuff more as something of a writing exercise, rather than a true piece of accomplished work. Opting for a multi-character narrative, the storytelling is different from his other books. There is very little dark humor, instead, the humor in Snuff is much more apparent; not that it's a bad thing, just a little different than usual. It wouldn't be fair to completely bad mouth this book. It certainly does have its golden moments. Each character definitely breathes and acts Palahniuk but everything just seems a bit toned down. For a book about pornography, it seems pretty tame. It still does have its gross-out moments but about ¾ of the novel is spent inside the green room. The entire experience does seem to have a life of its own and the descriptions are nicely depicted, making it easy for readers to picture the room.

There is a great deal of suspense during each narrative and though the chapter titles claim that a different character is narrating, it doesn't always feel unique to the specific character. Sure, one may repeatedly use the word "dude" and another may repeatedly be carrying a stuffed animal but thought-process-wise, they all think alike. Every single character in the book seems to be a walking trivia machine and though that may be synonymous to Palahniuk's style, it just detracts from the authenticity of the story. The shortness of Snuff also seems to alienate us from any of the four main characters. Though we do spend a lot of time in the green room with each character, it just doesn't last long enough for us to feel attached to any of them.

There are a few plot twists but they are all mildly predictable. Anyone who has seen a soap opera in the past month or watched an episode of Family Matters will know what to expect on the next page. The ending is a bit unexpected and true to Palahniuk's signature style but it also feels a little far-fetched. Then again, this is only a book and not real life. Some stuff needs to be far from the truth; nobody wants to read about the mundane reality of life. Palahniuk claims to have already completed the first draft for his next novel Pygmy so Snuff can arguably be passed off as something to tide us over for the wait. Though it is short, somewhat predictable at spots, and a bit tame for what it is depicting; it is full of humor, wonderful trivia, plot twists, and memorable quotes. This book may not win any awards but it certainly will be mentioned in the years to come and you will be glad to have read it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 22, 2008 – Finished Reading
June 1, 2008 – Shelved

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