Chuck Palahniuk (Ukrainian, pronounced ‘paula nick’) author of Fight Club, Survivor, Rant, Choke, Lullaby and other brief one-word book titles, has earned high marks in literary circles. Fight Club is now a movie. What kind of a guy writes a book called Fight Club? Let’s find out. According to my bookworm son, Chuck Palahniuk is a demi-god. But Alb (my son) has never been much of a groupie, with books, music or any media/entertainment genre. The definite exception being Stephen King and the possible exception, Dan Brown. But Chuck Palahniuk still earns a bro fist.
I always struggle to find just the right words to describe an author, personally and literarily (I just coined that word). In order to accurately describe and summarize an author’s style, I have to draw comparisons. The closest I can get for Chuck Palahniuk is an adult’s version of Gary Paulson, with less rural and more urban involvement. I hope that pleases Chuck; Gary Paulson has done for boys books what few other authors have. Jack London, Thor Heyerdahl, Robert Louis Stevenson and Stephen Crane gave us classic boys coming of age, wilderness and warfare survivalist genre. Gary Paulson personalized it and incorporated a modern-day survivor feel (Hatchet, Brian’s Winter, River, et. al). Chuck Palahniuk has age-progressed the genre from boys to men; ‘coming of age’, finding the manitou, ditching urban for the rural jungle style of literature.
Memoirs have become an outrageously popular fiction genre. Memoirs aren’t precisely auto-biography. They are fictionalized, psychoanalytical re-tellings of based on truth events. Look at the freakish success of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray,Love. What is this but a memoir? Chuck Palahniuk’s books are essentially memoirs. The guy has lived an interesting life. Chuck Palahniuk has that rare gift of adventurous life plus great story-telling ability. Few authors can boast this; one or the other is lacking. Either a great storyteller has a boring life and must draw purely from imagination. Or else a guy who can climb mountains, forge rivers and fight bears, can’t tell a story to save his soul. Fortunately for the memoir, adult male coming of age genre lovers, Chuck Palahniuk, like his predecessor Gary Paulson, can do both.
I predict that if educators, parents and publishers play their cards right, Chuck Palahnuik (Fight Club) with memoirs, Dan Brown (The Davinci Code) with historical fiction, the new, improved Stephen King for psychodrama, Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie) with introspective literature and Seth Graham-Smythe (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) with horror can get the adult male out of the reading slump many have been stuck in. I think think these men can give Tom Clancey’s male author monopoly a significant shake. For more on books and literature, check out my linked blogs.