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Palahniuk is using the elements!!! May 22, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

I am reading the brand new Chuck Palahniuk book Pygmy. I’ll not describe the storyline to spoil anyone else’s reading (and there are lots of synopses out there already). But one thing he does repeatedly that got my attention is that the main character recites the names of the elements in his mind through most of the book.

A mental note as he listens to someone blathering, for example, might be senon, ytterbium, yttrium or argon, arsenic, astatine. It strikes a humorous note to me.

There are a few obvious errors that do not match the chronology or storyline, like seaborgium or hassium not being discovered and accepted names in the time (at least ten years ago in the person’s remoniscing) or that these are temporal ghost elements with minute half-lifes. But Palahniuk is not a radiochemit.

Addendum: I will say this about Pygmy, since I have read every book, fiction and non-fiction that Chuck Palahniuk has written. It joins Fight Club, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, Diary, Choke, and Lullaby on my good reads list, along with the two not Fiction books Stanger than Fiction and Fugitives and Refugees. Unfortunately, Haunted, Rant, and Snuff were not on that par, but Pygmy might be a good sign that Palahniuk can still pick topical areas to skewer.



1. Ψ*Ψ - May 22, 2009

I wasn’t a huge fan of Haunted either. Never got around to reading Rant or Snuff…I’ll have to pick up a copy of Pygmy, though.

2. fetzthechemist - May 22, 2009

Rant was on pandemic diseases, but he did not take the right tack with the theme, I think. He got diverted on a lot of side topics, like car culture, casual dating, small-town clanishness. Snuff was parodying porno movies, but it got too much into parodying the Hollywood mentality.

But this one has that bent and funny take on state-sponsorred terrorism and third-world indoctrination about the West. It definitely has it good moments.

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