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Mr. Palahniuk's Wild Ride

  • Dec 16, 2001
Rating:
+3
Chuck Palahniuk continues to startle us with his unique voice in literature. During a time when the world is at a peak of madness few of us ever dreamed, most of us seek solace in works of wonder, of wisdom, of elegance in writing - books such as the ones by the late, much missed WG Sebald, or Jose Saramaga, or Jim Crace, or Mark Doty. But that level of this sublime needs comic relief. And here is the wildest ride of mayhem, madness, and just plain imagination that one could encounter!

Reviewed so many times in this section, it is unnecessary to outline the characters or the plot. In ways, though they are succinctly and cleverly drawn, the people of this opus seem less important than the afterburn that follows reading "Choke". Sifted through this intricate maze of a sexaholic's dealing with his questionable heritage, his Alzheimer's stricken "mother", his meanderings through countless sexual encounters and interactions with a hooty group of friends...sifted through this are eloquent musings on where we are today, members of a world gone nuts, and what we can do to survive it. In Palahniuk's words: "Every ddiction, she said, was just a way to treat this same problem. Drugs, overeating or alcohol or sex, it was all just another way to find peace. To escape what we know. Our education. Our bite of the apple. Language, she said, was just our way to explain away wonder and the glory of the world. To deconstruct. To dismiss. She said people can't deal with how beautiful the world really is. How it can't be explained and understood". Beautiful writing like this in the background of a story of mental mayhem is indeed wondrous.......and it makes this book very much worth reading for just about any-thinking-body.

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More Choke (Chuck Palahniuk book) reviews
review by . December 10, 2008
Choke
This is hands down one of my favorite books of all time.  I first read Choke well over five years ago, yet somehow, I keep finding myself telling people about this book, whether it's a close friend or someone who I just met, something in our conversation always triggers my memory of Choke and I can't help but describe it to them.  It usually goes...      Choke is a book about a twenty-something year old sex-addicted, ex-med student named Victor, who had to drop out …
review by . June 24, 2010
Choke is the tale of Victor, a sex addict whose life is in several ruts. He is tied to a dead-end job in a colonial theme park, and his mother is the latter stages of dementia and thinks he is one of several dead lawyers she once knew. To supplement his tiny income he pretends to choke in restaurants, receiving checks from those who eventually save him (and subsequently feel responsibility for his life). As his mother’s life begins to fade away, we learn why Victor is the way he is, and Victor …
review by . August 11, 2010
I laughed the entire way through this book.  Being a Palahniuk fan, I know in advance that a reader without a strong stomach, seeking chic lit, is not the right reader for this (or any of Chuck's books,) but was somewhat disappointed in this one compared to his other titles.  All in all, I would recommend this book.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
I read this in high school and really loved it. I think I might like it a little less if I read it now, though. It's funny and does come up with a point, but I think the alienation of the characters would annoy me now.
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
Not my favorite Chuck Palahniuk book as I find the main character somewhat less endearing than the usual misguided protagonist of Chuck's works, but nonetheless another fantastic example of his penchant for strange factoids, odd points of view, interestingly applied researched, and, of course, many different themes cavorting around with one another and occasionally crashing into one another face first.
review by . July 08, 2010
 This is the first book I ever read by this author and although it was thought provoking I’m pretty sure it will be my last. The story was disconnected which there was a warning label for so I guess that should have come as no surprise. The characters are highly un relatable, at least to me as a person. How many people do you know who are semi crazy and were kidnapped as children? Oh none? How surprising! I don’t know what his goal was in writing this book, but I would gladly like …
Quick Tip by . June 29, 2010
My favorite! I love this author
review by . June 27, 2010
Another twisted tale from Chuck Palahniuk, Choke gives us possibly my favorite anti-hero from any of his previous novels. Victor, a Medical School drop out and now "historical interpreter" plays on the emotions and dependency of others by nearly killing himself night after night in various eateries across town. In return for their hero status? Money. Victors misadventures all tie into paying for his absolutely nutty but fascinating Mother to stay in a rest home. With hilarious dialogue …
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
Palahniuk's dark comedies make you take a hard look at reality. not as strong as Fight Club
Quick Tip by . June 22, 2010
a totally insane & in-depth look into the lives of people you would never know (some may never care) about.
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Wiki

Choke is a 2001 novel by American author Chuck Palahniuk. 

Victor Mancini is a ruthless con artist. Victor Mancini is a med-school dropout who's taken a job playing an Irish indentured servant in a colonial-era theme park in order to help care for his Alzheimer's-afflicted mother. Victor Mancini is a sex addict. Victor Mancini is a direct descendant of Jesus Christ. All of these statements about the protagonist ofChokeare more or less true. Welcome, once again, to the world of Chuck Palahniuk.

"Art never comes from happiness." So says Mancini's mother only a few pages into the novel. Given her own dicey and melodramatic style of parenting, you would think that her son's life would be chock-full of nothing but art. Alas, that's not the case. In the fine tradition of Oedipus, Stephen Dedalus, and Anthony Soprano, Victor hasn't quite reconciled his issues with his mother. Instead, he's trawling sexual-addiction recovery meetings for dates and purposely choking in restaurants for a few moments of attention. Longing for a hug, in other words, he's settling for the Heimlich.

Thematically, this is pretty familiar Palahniuk territory. It would be a pity to disclose the surprises of the plot, but suffice it to say that what we have here is a little bit of Tom Robbins's Another Roadside Attraction, a little bit of Don DeLillo's The Day Room, and, well, a little bit of Fight Club. Just as with Fight Club and the other two novels ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0385720920 (pbk.)
ISBN-13: 9780385720922 (pbk.)
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Horror, Strange Fiction
Publisher: Anchor (June 11, 2002)
Date Published: (June 11, 2002)
Format: Paperback: 304 pages, Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 0.2 inches
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