“Some of his best work is here. . . . It could be Palahniuks most ambitious novel to date, certainly the most ambitious since Fight Club.” —The Washington Post Book World
The introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your groups reading of Diary,Chuck Palahniuks latest tale from the dark side. We hope they will provide interesting ways of thinking and talking about this chilling, hallucinatory, and compulsively readable novel.
Snarlyreader, August 20, 2007 (view all comments by Snarlyreader)
This is one of those books that you have to keep reading just you can put the pieces together and figure out what the heck is going on. And once you've finished the book, you have to keep puzzling on it for the next couple days "Oh, so THAT'S why she . . ."
The main character is pretty likeable and the more you find out about her life and her surroundings, the more unbelievable it seems. Not predictable at all - very innovative.
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by Kirkus Reviews,
"[R]emarkable....Palahniuk restrains his more comic voice to deliver moving passages on inspiration, art, and suffering as a driving force....A loose-limbed nightmare both vaporous and all-enveloping: awe-inspiring."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[Palahniuk's] catchy, jarring prose, cryptic pronouncements and baroque flights of imagination are instantly recognizable, and...this twisted tale [is] one of his most memorable works to date."
by John Green, Booklist,
"[Diary] lacks the manic humor that makes his better novels so engrossing....Still, excellent plotting and a compelling allegory will satisfy the majority of Palahniukites."
by Janet Maslin, The New York Times,
"For all his trademark toughness, Mr. Palahniuk has never sounded more like a latter-day Kurt Vonnegut than he does here....His use of singsong repetition...can be as soothing as a lullaby."
by Marc Nesbitt, The Washington Post Book World,
"This is Palahniuk at the height of his style....Diary may be trying to be too many things at once, but when it's on, it's on, and it could be Chuck Palahniuk's most ambitious novel to date, certainly the most ambitious since Fight Club."
by Mark Lindquist, The Seattle Times,
"While the book suffers some of the usual shortcomings of genre novels...it is far more inspired and philosophical than one would expect from even a top-drawer horror novel."
by Adam Mansbach, The Boston Globe,
"Misty's narrative voice is funny and urgent, tragic and clear, and Palahniuk draws from a strange palette of worldly nihilism and supernatural conspiracy to paint a compelling portrait of the artist as an unwitting conduit of evil."
by Douglas Levin, The Oregonian (Portland, OR),
"Though absurd and darkly humorous at times, Diary is no joke. Palahniuk has had great success with dangerously madcap characters and situations. This novel taps a similarly wild vein..."
by Michael Miller, The Village Voice,
"Palahniuk delightfully pushes Diary into the ludicrous, but his restless intelligence coheres plotwise....The pleasure here resides in his awesome ability to transform gleeful absurdities into a well-sculpted riddle."
by Taylor Antrim, The New York Times Book Review,
"Diary really hits its stride when the blood starts flowing....Palahniuk is better at sensation than philosophy, a pulp writer who excels when he stops worrying the big ideas and channels his wild, misfit heart."
by Ira Levin, author of Rosemary's Baby,
"Just for the record, Diary is as hypnotic as a poised cobra. Chuck Palahniuk demonstrates that the most chilling special effects come not from Industrial Light and Magic but from the words of a gifted writer."
by Library Journal,
"[P]aranoiac horror along the lines of Rosemary's Baby....Neither plot nor theme is brought to a persuasive conclusion, but the journey is consistently engaging. Recommended."
by James Sullivan, Book Magazine,
"A deft meditation on great art and the toll it takes, the book is sometimes easier to admire for its literary daredevilry than it is to enjoy."
by L.D. Meagher, CNN.com,
"Palahniuk constructs his story as precisely as a stage magician's grand illusion, building to a powerful climax that leaves the audience stunned and breathless. Diary triumphantly exposes the evil that lurks in the banality of everyday life."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Madly inventive....It simply, exuberantly, escapes literary categorization."
by Vanity Fair,
"Palahniuk is a bracingly toxic purveyor of dread and mounting horror. He makes nihilism fun."
by Pittsburgh Tribune Review,
"To read a Chuck Palahniuk novel means being shocked, enlightened, disturbed, buoyed, horrified, delighted and perplexed — sometimes on a single page."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"The closest thing to a plain old mystery Palahniuk has ever written....Stunning, funky stuff."
by Michael Swindle, Dallas Morning News,
"Reading Chuck Palahniuk's sixth novel, Diary, one can almost hear in the background, as if from a great distance, the theme from The Twilight Zone. The book is creepy fun — accent on creepy."
by Kera Bolonik, San Francisco Chronicle,
"This is just sloppy, invasive writing. It's as if Palahniuk simply enjoys the sound of his own voice as it were, and his gratuitous repetitiveness is his way of saying, 'get it?'"
by Carole Goldberg, Hartford Courant,
"This is a very dark and not altogether logical tale, but Palahniuk's famously off-kilter imagination keeps disbelief suspended for the willing reader....Just for the record, this is a book you won't soon forget. Just wait and see."
by Deborah King, Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram,
"Recalling such classic horror tales as Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery,' Diary's dark side reveals itself slowly, quietly, like a creeping fungus....[D]eliver[s] entertainment as well as enlightenment."
by Eric Miles Williamson, Houston Chronicle,
"Palahnuik has the chops to deliver musical language when he wants. He can lock onto a physical scene and describe it in such a way that a reader will never forget the image. At his best, Palahnuik can deliver fiction as adroitly as any writer around."
by Michael Hopkins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
"Another inventive page-turner that fuses eccentric elements of suspense with supernatural overtones to create a modern symphony of psychological horror....With its attention to detail, Diary rings with originality and realism."
by Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer,
"The incidents may be bizarre, but you sure keep wanting to know what happens next and how it all turns out....Palahniuk is a fabulist. And an entertainer. Like every good entertainer, he knows his audience — and gives it exactly what it wants."
The bestselling author of Fight Club, Choke, and Lullaby continues his 21st-century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at mankind's quest for some sort of immortality. Diary takes the form of a "coma diary" kept by one Misty Tracy Wilmot as her husband lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt.
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