Synopses & Reviews
"Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc."
Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.
It's a comedy.
"Palahniuk's 10th novel (after Snuff) is a potent if cartoonish cultural satire that succeeds despite its stridently confounding prose. A gang of adolescent terrorists trained by an unspecified totalitarian state (the boys and girls are guided by quotations attributed to Marx, Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, etc.) infiltrate America as foreign exchange students. Their mission: to bring the nation to its knees through Operation Havoc, an act of mass destruction disguised as a science project. Narrated by skinny 13-year-old Pgymy, the propulsive plot deconstructs American fixtures, among them church ('religion propaganda distribution outlet'), spelling bees ('forced battle to list English alphabet letters') and TV news reporters ('Horde scavenger feast at overflowing anus of world history'), before moving on to a Columbine-like shooting spree by a closeted kid who has fallen in love with the teenage terrorist who raped him in a shopping mall bathroom. Decoding Palahniuk's characteristically scathing observations is a challenge, as Pygmy's narrative voice is unbound by rules of grammar or structure (a typical sentence: 'Host father mount altar so stance beside bin empty of water'), but perseverance is its own perverse reward in this singular, comic accomplishment." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"In a time of justifiable concern about terrorism, Palahniuk has written a hilarious novel about an unlikely terrorist cell....[He] leaps over the line of good taste — and lands squarely on his feet." Booklist
Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of Pygmy, a thoroughly indoctrinated little killer who hates America with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire.
About the Author
Chuck Palahniuk's nine novels are the bestselling Snuff; Rant; Haunted; Lullaby; Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher; Diary; Survivor; Invisible Monsters; and Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, a nonfiction profile of Portland, Oregon, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.