- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (5 July 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224061909
- ISBN-13: 978-0224061902
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,698,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Choke Paperback – 5 Jul 2001
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More About the Author
Imagine watching live images of a runaway stolen bus on TV, and imagine that that same bus comes crashing through your own street, maybe even your own wall, into your existence, and you will have imagined what it is like to read Chuk Palahniuk's third novel, Choke. This is satirical literature for the DVD surround-sound generation. As with his debut novel, Fight Club, which has since been adapted into a critically acclaimed film, Palahniuk's central character, Victor Mancini, is a cruiser of support groups, this time sexual addiction groups. Victor is reminiscent of Patrick Bateman, Bret Easton Ellis's central character in American Psycho, and of David Bell, Don Dellillo's character in Americana. He is a social outsider, psychologically fragmented, unable to function in modern society, uncertain of his true identity, a con-man diner struggling to connect to other diners in a godless and consumerist society.
This is a novel full of big ideas, sharp social commentaries; through Victor's actions and his memories of his dysfunctional crackpot mother, a world is revealed in which addictive behaviour is a way of escaping the banalities that pass for realities, a world which could end with a "discreet, tasteful announcement". However, Victor is also a redeemer, his selfish actions, blackly comic, bring meaning into the lives of the strangers he cons, turning him into a creator of heroes, each one claiming to have saved Victor Mancini from choking to death, each one Victor's benefactor, saving them from the emptiness of their existence.
In portraying Victor's attempt to condense his identity from the chaotic waters of his life, Palahniuk reminds us of the struggles that we all face as individuals in our fast and puzzling new millennium. His prose is quick and inventive, his plot never predictable, and he has the unerring ability to make the reader question himself in the context of his fiction, a mark of truly good writing. --Iain Robinson
"A wonderful writer with a raw take on modern woes" (The Face)
"A raw and vital book, punctuated with outrageous, off-the-wall moments" (New York Times)
"Mining a dark vein opened by Bret Easton Ellis and George Saunders, Palahniuk specialises in producing nightmarish visions of American society that manage to be both repugnant and hilarious-the reckless brilliance of his imagination keeps you turning the pages" (Literary Review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is that of a sexaholic named Victor Mancini. Victor has an ill mother's whose medical bills are eating him alive. To make money he fakes choking on food in restaurants--the payoof is that the person who saves his life each time feels as if he's done something good. And of course, the money that's involved.
What struck me immediately about this novel was Palahniuk's ability to make the character so real, unlikable, yet human and with vulnerable qualities. I've only know two other books that achieved this: "She's Come Undone" and "Barring Some Unforeseen Accident," and both books are equally riveting. But "Choke" takes a lot more detours and seemingly unimportant events come together at the end.
Another amazing aspect to the author's work is that the writing style is remarkably simple and spare, yet peppered with graphic descriptions and sex. I read somewhere that the majority of readers are women, and while there are certainly some that will wamr to this book, it's really more a "guy's" book, much like "Fight Club." A cult classic, as with all of Palahniuk's work, this one will last the test of time.
The style of writing, the way it handles everything, is unique, for what I've read any way. The story is strange, but each chapter changes situation and setting and characters, apart from the Victor Mancini, and each reveals a new part in his life.
It's an amazing story detailing one mans struggle with his sexual addictions, his dying mother and his mysterious past. One of the best books I've ever had the pleasure to read.
By cataloguing Mancini's despicable behaviour, Palahniuk makes short work of a plethora of complex, seemingly contradictory and unrelated issues, revealing the protagonist to be both a victim of his erratic mother's parenting techniques and of the inherently selfish motivations at the heart of modern American society. So far, so cynical. Thankfully, Mancini is possessed of other, more redeeming qualities which eventually enable him to break the mould, and in this respect Choke is an inspiring, inspirational novel. Furthermore, in dealing with traditionally delicate topics such as mental illness and addiction, Palahniuk succeeds by injecting a healthy dose of pathos and humour into his writing, resulting in one of the funniest and thought-provoking books to have emerged in recent years.
Choke is certainly not for everyone - the language is spectacularly simple, occasionally profane and littered with graphic depictions of lewd sexual antics, while the dialogue is markedly 'dude'-heavy. For these reasons, it will appeal primarily to men of a certain age and demographic.Read more ›
Okay, with that said, I found Chuck Palahniuk's "Choke" to be a very strange, perverted, dark, and bizarre novel....but it's supposed to be. And, it's a very creative novel, despite if you love the novel or hate it.
I had read "Fight Club" after seeing the movie, and I found the novel to be just as entertaining and creative, if not more. So, I wanted to read another novel by him, so I picked this up. Wow....nothing could've EVER prepared me for this.
"Choke's" main character is Victor; a compulsive sex addict who creates heroes by purposely choking at restaurants and allowing himself to be saved. He does this to feel better about himself, and to help pay for his very sick and dying mother's medical care. And as the story and novel goes on and on, the more twisted and darker it becomes, adding up to one hell of a shocking climax.
The novel is told by the narrator, just like in"Fight Club." He still uses the same sense of thinking, the same amount of sarcasam, and the same dark humor found in "Fight Club." And yet, it's still just as refreshing. I never thought of novels told by the narrator to be all that great, until I read his work.
Again, this is not for kids, and this is not for those who get offended easily. It is a VERY sexually explict novel; I don't think I have ever read anything so sexually graphic! It's going to be one of those books where you're going to be embarrassed to read in public, fearing that somebody just might snatch it out of your hand and start reading it aloud. As intense as the sexual content is, it fits the story.
I found "Choke" to be a really entertaining and thought-provoking novel.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very difficult to read at first as the style is incredibly raw and brutal - but stick with it and it unfolds hilariously, dangerously to a surprisingly poignant conclusion. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Mr. Mark Charlton
CP's writing is always original and subversive. This one is no exception -- it's worth reading right to the end, when it suddenly transforms into a totally unexpected strong and (I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Alcemeg
Not the type of book you give to your Mom for Xmas, but edgy, hysterical, and aggressive - all in a great way.Published 3 months ago by Neil
Chuck's dark style really works for me, and this book has it in spades. For most of the book one wonders if this is a story that is merely a playpen for Chuck's frolicking... Read morePublished 5 months ago by A. McLeod
I recommend it quite often at work; as it made me laugh out loud and provoke some thought afterward. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Brilliant book. Thoroughly entertaining and a joy to read. Palahniuk at his best!Published 10 months ago by devon