Thursday, June 24, 2010

#34: Tell-All by Chuck Palahniuk

A fading star in moviedom's Silver Age is tended to by her faithful assistant, who has to go to extremes to keep the wolves from her door in Chuck Palahniuk's Hollywood send-up Tell-All.

Although I intentionally avoided Palahniuk for a number of years after hearing others talk about his rather disturbing novels (Fight Club notable among them), I finally gave him a go and actually found him to be a very accomplished, interesting writer--though pretty much all of his novels I have read to date have to be approached with caution and an open mind.

That being said, I was probably more shocked by this book than any of the others of his I have read.  It is sort of a breezy, outlandishly plotted satire with little of the dark material of his typical work.  I honestly don't know who Palahniuk wrote this novel for; it surely will not satisfy his fans, and the casual reader who might be interested in the lighter fare would be reluctant to pick it up.  Basically it's a good fit for someone who can stomach Palahniuk's darker turns, but has a deep love for classic cinema (everyone from Thelma Ritter to John Agar to Bonita Granville are name-checked, and Lillian Hellman plays a critical role).  So I think Chuck, me, and some guys I took film classes with at Ball State are its primary audience.

That being said, I did enjoy the novel, which I heard via a good audiobook version read by Hillary Huber.  I checked it out from the Morrison-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

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