Entertainment » Books


by Daniel Scheffler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Oct 18, 2013

From the famed "Fight Club" author comes his latest shock novel, "Doomed."

Shock may be the easiest way to describe Chuck Palahniuk's work, but genius should be in brackets soon after. The man, a wild thinker and creative maverick, has written for decades and never seems to lose a moment of ingenuity.

"Doomed" is the second novel in a trilogy that started with the novel "Damned" (and the last of the trio might then have to be "Delivered," "Dread," or even "Destined." In all reality it will be "Delivered," and it will feature heaven.)

But enough about the future: What's now and right now is this novel. It follows fat 13-year-old (read: Snotty and awful) Madison Spencer who, luckily it seems, escapes from Hell and is, yes, doomed to walk on earth in what the author calls a "state of purgatory" for a year (it's just a year after all) to haunt her parents.

In true Palahniuk fashion, nothing is ever taboo. This time he tackles Hell, death and, of course, the proverbial devil (if he even exists). We see the character Madison in a much clearer light, and we understand as readers just why we, and Madison, are as crazy as we all are.

Whether Palahniuk uses his personal pet peeves (like telemarketers) and his dreams to suck you right to, in this case, hell. And willingly we go.

What good old Palahniuk does so well is humor. Crazy twisted and always more crazy and twisted than you imaged -- but always funny. He takes you to the edge where things are no longer funny, and cracks open an egg on your head just for a laugh. Masterful, I call it. His best novel to date, "Fight Club," took us to a place so dark and uncomfortable, and yet gave us a glimpse of light just to let us laugh. "Doomed" does something similar, of course. Whether Palahniuk uses his personal pet peeves (like telemarketers) and his dreams to suck you right to, in this case, Hell. And willingly we go.

Madison, after 500 pages of non-stop reading, remains compelling even though she's a terrible fat girl who is certainly in a place she could possibly deserve to be in. She meets people along her way; she likes some and hates others. But they feel similarly about her. The devil lurks and, of course, she is heading right for him.

That's the magic of Chucky: He keeps you interested. he holds you to the book waiting for his sin-bound twist that you know he'll throw in any minute now. Just think the wondrous twist in "Fight Club" or even better in "Choke" -- keep reading.

Like every feature and review will say, read this book -- you're doomed if you do and damned if you don't?

Chuck Palahniuk

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.


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