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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