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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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Damned

by

Damned Cover

ISBN13: 9780385533027
ISBN10: 0385533020
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison," declares the whip-tongued 11-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk's subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a marijuana overdose — and the next thing she knows, she's in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone's favorite detention movie. Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won't buy them off.

This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where The English Patient plays on end­less repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hard-sell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine.

Review:

"Move over, Dante, there's a new tour guide to hell: Madison Spencer, the 13-year-old narrator of Palahniuk's cliché-ridden latest bulletin of phoned-in outrage. After self-asphyxiating, Madison wakes up in hell and quickly finds, as she's put to work prank-calling people at dinnertime, that her new home is not much different from Saturday detention in The Breakfast Club. Embarking on a field trip with some new friends, Madison fights demons, raises an army of the dead, and storms the gates of Satan's citadel. At the same time, she flashes back to her unhappy life as the daughter of a self-absorbed movie star mother and a financial tycoon father who collect Third World orphans. Unfortunately, Palahniuk's hell turns out to be a familiar place, filled with long lines, celebrities, dictators, mass murderers, lawyers, and pop culture references and jokes repeated until they are no longer funny. In the end, the author seems to be saying that the real hell is the banality of our earthly lives, an observation that itself seems a little too banal to power this work of fiction. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's 11 best-selling novels — Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Lullaby, Fight Club, Diary, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke — have sold more than five million copies in the United States. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journey Series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

graveflame, January 18, 2012 (view all comments by graveflame)
Another fantastic book by Chuck Palahniuk, but not his best work. As usual, the plot is scattered throughout the various chapters, not really following a coherent order, but the twist at the end leaves you wondering about the entire book you just read...
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Eric Stern, October 18, 2011 (view all comments by Eric Stern)
Isn't there a book called Heck that came out a few years back with exactly the same premise? I've seen it in stores: two teens at the gates of Hell, trying to solve why they were sent to the Underworld, leading a rebellion against Satan, etc. I haven't read either of the books, to be honest, but people keep talking about how original Chuck's idea is and it doesn't seem to be. Maybe it was to him, I don't know.
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Tyler Jones, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Tyler Jones)
Chuck Palahniuk’s books just keep getting weirder and weirder. I read and enjoy all of his novels, some more than others. “Pygmy” was a strange experiment, but unique and compelling nonetheless. “Tell-All” was a fun and enjoyable romp through the golden age of Hollywood, although it never quite became what it could have been.

And now, here is “Damned,” a journey through hell (literally) with a sharp tongued and lovable young woman named Madison who died from…you’ll have to read to find out, and it’s not a marijuana overdose.

Frankly, this book is about as strange and bizarre as they come. The underworld is depicted as a place of grotesque monsters with lakes of sperm and mountains of toenail clippings. There were times when I thought this book was completely unclassifiable in any genre, forcing a new one to be invented. Afterlife Black Comedy.

“Damned,” at its core, is a satire, and Chuck is at his best in skewering the affluent Hollywood lifestyle. Madison’s parents are a movie star and a real estate mogul/business man who adopt children from war torn countries for the PR.

More importantly, in my opinion, is the writing, and Chuck breaks free from whatever has bound him over the last couple years and writes with an eloquence not seen since…well, maybe ever. Palahniuk has a very distinctive voice in his writing, all of his fans have gotten used to it, and look forward to it with each new book. But with “Damned,” there is something more, a careful attention paid to craft more than story. The sentences flow artfully in Madison’s voice and bring her to life with all her hopefulness and intelligence.

“Damned,” is not a great book in the sense that it’s a new classic, but I think it is a step in the right direction for Chuck. The story is just weird, but the way he tells it is what makes it such a fun read.

It’s okay for books to be both fun and well written.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385533027
Author:
Palahniuk, Chuck
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20111018
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.7 x 1.04 in 0.94 lb

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Related Subjects

Children's » General
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Locked Case
Fiction and Poetry » Satire
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

Damned Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385533027 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Move over, Dante, there's a new tour guide to hell: Madison Spencer, the 13-year-old narrator of Palahniuk's cliché-ridden latest bulletin of phoned-in outrage. After self-asphyxiating, Madison wakes up in hell and quickly finds, as she's put to work prank-calling people at dinnertime, that her new home is not much different from Saturday detention in The Breakfast Club. Embarking on a field trip with some new friends, Madison fights demons, raises an army of the dead, and storms the gates of Satan's citadel. At the same time, she flashes back to her unhappy life as the daughter of a self-absorbed movie star mother and a financial tycoon father who collect Third World orphans. Unfortunately, Palahniuk's hell turns out to be a familiar place, filled with long lines, celebrities, dictators, mass murderers, lawyers, and pop culture references and jokes repeated until they are no longer funny. In the end, the author seems to be saying that the real hell is the banality of our earthly lives, an observation that itself seems a little too banal to power this work of fiction. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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