Chuck Palahniuk’s Transgressive Fiction, stories that push and cross the boundaries of cultural taboos, may make readers squirm—but it also make them think.
Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread (4/5 stars, currently priced at $11.99)
Chuck Palahniuk, literature’s favorite transgressive author, gives us twenty-one stories and one novella in Make Something Up, a compilation that disturbs and delights in equal measure. In “Expedition,” fans will be thrilled to find to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precursor story to Fight Club. And in other stories, the absurdity of both life and death are on full display: in “Zombies,” the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze—electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators; in “Knock, Knock,” a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments; and in “Tunnel of Love,” a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing “relief” to dying clients. Funny, caustic, bizarre, poignant, these stories represent everything readers have come to love and expect from Chuck Palahniuk. You’ll never forget them. Just try.
Survivor (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $9.47)
Tender Branson—–last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult–—is dictating his life story into Flight 2039’s recorder. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, he will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child to an ultra-buffed, steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah. Unpredictable and unforgettable, Survivor is Chuck Palahniuk at his deadpan peak: a mesmerizing, unnerving, and hilarious satire on the wages of fame and the bedrock lunacy of the modern world.
Lullaby (4/5 stars, currently priced at $11.99)
Ever heard of a culling song? It’s a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. The lyrics of a culling song kill, whether spoken or even just thought. You can find one on page 27 of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World, an anthology that is sitting on the shelves of libraries across the country, waiting to be picked up by unsuspecting readers.
Reporter Carl Streator discovers the song’s lethal nature while researching Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and before he knows it, he’s reciting the poem to anyone who bothers him. As the body count rises, Streator glimpses the potential catastrophe if someone truly malicious finds out about the song. The only answer is to find and destroy every copy of the book in the country. Accompanied by a shady real-estate agent, her Wiccan assistant, and the assistant’s truly annoying ecoterrorist boyfriend, Streator begins a desperate cross-country quest to put the culling song to rest.
Written with a style and imagination that could only come from Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby is the latest outrage from one of our most exciting writers at work today.
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