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Damned [Hardcover]

Chuck Palahniuk
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2011
Thirteen year old Madison has problems: she's overweight, ignored by her movie star parents, and in love with her adopted brother. She's also dead. But not just dead. Madison is in Hell. Chuck Palahniuk's latest, Damned, takes us on Madison's journey through Hell, as she navigates the Hillocks of Discarded Nail Pairings and the River of Vomit, meeting everyone from Charles Darwin to Marilyn Monroe, with a colorful cast of characters (damned for unspeakable acts, like wearing white shoes after Labor Day), to determine why she's really there, and whether she will be damned for eternity. In Damned, Hell really does exist, as a place where your only career choice is telemarketer (yes, that's where those calls actually originate), the currency is Halloween candy, and 'the in-flight movie is always The English Patient, never The Breakfast Club.' With witty, laugh-out-loud prose, and a twist like only Palahniuk can write, this dark comedic novel is sure to be ranked among his best.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First Edition First Printing edition (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224091158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224091152
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 309,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's nine novels are the bestselling Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Lullaby and Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg. He is also the author of the non-fiction profile of Portland Fugitives and Refugees and the non-fiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Product Description


"True to Palahniuk form, Damned is gross in parts, scandalous in others and funny throughout. And, tantalisingly, it concludes with a 'to be continued..." (Danielle Goldstein TimeOut Magazine)

"Palahniuk has described the novel as The Lovely Bones meets The Shawshank Redemption via Judy Blume. Expect to be appalled" (Vogue)

"Gleefully riffing on Judy Blume's 1970 coming-of-age classic Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, Palahniuk's dead heroine must traverse the infernal landscape in search of Satan - and of her true self - as she tries to discover exactly how she died." (Financial Times)

"Palahniuk certainly has a way with words. His ever-inventive, high-energy prose is a joy." (The Daily Mirror)

"Damned is vintage Chuck - as dark as it gets, but with loads of gross-out humour, all your favourite dead celebs, and plenty of grim details of the Inferno's unmentionable horrors." (Dazed & Confused)

Book Description

A dark, disturbing and very, very funny new novel from the inimitable Chuck Palahniuk - his best yet.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Vicarious Journey Through Hell 14 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"Damned" by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel with a lot to say about human beings and life in general. It is a highly subversive and thought provoking story. But getting past all that complex literary analysis, was it a good read?

Yeah, this is a fun book, it's a nice easy read, so if you're the kind of person who isn't into slow-burning methodical novels, this is recommendable. The aspect which has to be stressed the most is the laugh out loud humour. It's an intelligent humour, the reason I found it so funny was because of its relationship with common aspects of everyday life. The Hell aspect is executed brilliantly. Palahniuk has one hell of an imagination. Suffice to say that as you read the novel you will explore the Sea of Insects, the Dandruff Desert, and not to mention, the Field of Toenail Clippings (you may want to check me on the names of these). There's plenty of popcorn balls too!

The characters are developed well. Again, we can relate them to real life. We can ascribe them to the different social groups in our varying culture.

The only thing to nitpick is the ending. A new aspect is introduced. I won't give it away, but interesting as it is, it isn't explored as fully as I feel it should have been. It seems to come from nowhere and then disappears and isn't given a great deal of mention afterwards. Also, I wouldn't recommend the novel if you don't like to suspend disbelief. If you overlook the positive factors you might find yourself describing the novel as: Insane. Also, I feel as though it's a little too short. I would have liked to have seen a confrontation between Madison and Satan. But then again, Palahniuk suggests to us that the story is to continue. I'd certainly be interested in a sequel if that's the case.

Just my two cents. Check it out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and eccentric journey to Hell 25 Jan 2013
I find that Chuck Palahniuk's books can normally be classed into two categories - either just above average, or a fantastic, thought provoking read where the reader can't put the book down until finished. Fortunately, this title falls into the latter category.

Written from the viewpoint of a girl that has been sent to Hell and her exploits once down there, Palahniuk has managed to write a mesmerising story filled with humour, wit and the usual unpredictable and outrages detours expected from his story-telling. Filled with a cast of great, believable (albeit a little eccentric) characters and a wonderfully surreal environment in which their adventures take place, this book almost reads like a dark comedy version of Dante's Inferno scattered with pop culture references. With enough twists and turns to keep the story refreshing and captivating till the end, this really was an enjoyable journey into Hell!

I will certainly be looking to continue the adventure as soon as the sequel "Doomed" is released, if only to discover what possible mayhem Madison causes next.....and where!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Life/Story Unfinished 5 Sep 2013
By J. Ang
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hmm, two stars for a book by one of my favourite authors; do I dare justify it?

First off, Palahniuk's trademark irreverent wit and candour are still there, and they juxtapose aptly enough with a premise as morbid as throwing an overweight 13-year-old smartass, overprivileged but lonely Hollywood brat, Madison Spencer, into hell and eternal damnation. She is there due to a supposed marijuana overdose, when the novel begins, a telling sign of the kind of excess and moral decadence associated with Maddy's upbringing by celebrity parents, but this being a Palahniuk novel, nothing is as it really seems at first.

Next, there is a cast of motley characters in the form of four fellow cellmates, strategically placed in close-enough vicinity and who just "so happens" to be teenagers modelled after the cast of John Hughes' 80s cult teen movie, "The Breakfast Club", for Maddy to identify with and form a tenuous clique with quite quickly. (Palahniuk has made specific reference to the movie in interviews as an intended influence on the novel). They break out of their cells to take a tour of Hell, as a kind of induction for Maddy.

The putrid landscape of Hell is also detailed with suitably vile description: a sea of wasted sperm, land mounds of dandruff, used diapers, etc... you get the drift, and there are one or two blood-curdling scenes involving the repetitive ingesting of humans by monstrous demons.

Then inexplicably, a call centre appears midway in the story and Maddy finds herself working there, making telemarketing calls to the living, and her newfound friends fall away from the focus of the story, only to resurface later.

Perhaps I would have moved this up to three stars if the narrative hadn't moved in such a schizophrenic manner. It might be premature to judge it this harshly if indeed this was meant to be a precursor to a larger story.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A diverting but unsatisfactory read 7 April 2014
Spoilt, rich, precocious Maddy Spencer would not, at first glance, seem like an obviously sympathetic character. Yet her early death elicits pathos, particularly as she finds herself condemned to Hell, where utterly modern trappings like telesales ornament a landscape drawn straight from Hieronymus Bosch. Guided by the damned versions of the Breakfast club, Maddy discovers that life in Hell need not be that different from that on Earth and, indeed, may present opportunities for a teen with ambition.

This is the first of several novels featuring Maddy Spencer and the cosmology that Palahniuk has built around her. This first novel heralds each chapter with a diary-style note from Maddy to Satan, who in his absence becomes a confident and father figure. It's a neat narrative device but becomes repetitive and, eventually, underscores the less likeable aspects of Maddy as a character. `Snarky teen' has become a common trope over the last couple of decades and it starts to become grating as the novel progresses.

The landscape of hell is wickedly inventive and the language is often well rendered; Palahniuk knows how to package a story. The problem is that all of this surrounds some real deficiencies at the centre of the novel. The plot fails to really generate much interest, with the main twist obvious from an early point and the most significant developments being squeezed into the last few pages. Indeed, the book as a whole feels very episodic. Worse, the thematic heart of the novel just rehashes well-trodden ideas regarding the vacuity of the modern world.

Palahniuk is a flashy writer and his prose is always entertaining. The problem in this instance is that he really has nothing new to say beyond the surface gloss and, consequently, this is a diverting but, ultimately, unsatisfactory read. Perhaps it will improve when bolstered by the sequels but as a stand-alone novel it really doesn't stand alongside Palahniuk's best.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
There were subtle details which made the book very clever, it all seems to come together. Also very gruesome details, as expected from Palahniuk
Published 1 month ago by Catherine Joyce
3.0 out of 5 stars Its okay
i read a few mixed reviews about the book before i purchased it, to find out for myself. it's an interesting concept for a book and has good opportunity for growth as a series of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs D Gibson
3.0 out of 5 stars Very original, albeit harrowing and dark.
I find this book very hard to categorise. In a number of ways it is incredibly funny, in others it is very strange to the point of being almost whimsical, in other ways it is very... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jake Ratcliff
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!!
I am not disappointed by Chuck-never have. He's by far my favourite author and he has not faltered throughout his whole career. And Doomed is even better!!!!
Published 7 months ago by Steph
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I would like to tell you that its a great product fast del I would recommend this product and seller. Thank you very much.
Published 7 months ago by Pixey
2.0 out of 5 stars One for the youngsters methinks
The descriptions of muck and worse, we're too graphic for me, turned my stomach, the supposedly edgy, smartie pants style of writing,(meant to be a teenager writing) found it a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. C. McKeown
5.0 out of 5 stars LoveTo Be Damned!
If that's he'll I'd quite like to visit. It sounds like fun! Really enjoyed another alternative version to he'll and all the different rules you can break to get there.
Published 12 months ago by Saqa Jupitus
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet more incomparable fantastical satire from the pen of Chuck
You either love him or you don't. Damned is another of his penetrating and frequently hilarious observations on the general absurdity of human folly. Read more
Published 12 months ago by M. O. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Really enjoyed this book, felt sorry for poor old Madison and her gang of misfits. Loved the writing style, it is very funny in places, sad in others and outrageous throughout. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Monkey
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but bland
This was...ok. Strong start and end, sagging middle. It feels like Palahniuk has become a parody of himself - he has become become the sassy whiplash author he used so viciously... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Helen
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