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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how we know what we don't know...
This was my first stab at a Palahniuk novel, and initially, I was preparing myself to be let down. The blurb on the back cover didn't really sell the plot to me, and the opening few chapters - although extremely well-written - give away nothing of the overall tone and direction of the book. However, as the story progresses, the narrative becomes richer and richer, and...
Published on 12 July 2005 by bangbangshootshoot

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did you like Fight Club, Survivor and Invisible Monsters?
Then this book is not for you. Those three books by Chuck Palahniuk are some of my all-time favourite books, but this did just not cut it for me. For one, it tries to be horror, but it just isn't. There isn't a single scary moment in the book, and unlike Haunted, there's no shock value either. Despite being a fairly short book, it feels overly long and tedious; especially...
Published on 11 Jan. 2012 by Frederik


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how we know what we don't know..., 12 July 2005
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
This was my first stab at a Palahniuk novel, and initially, I was preparing myself to be let down. The blurb on the back cover didn't really sell the plot to me, and the opening few chapters - although extremely well-written - give away nothing of the overall tone and direction of the book. However, as the story progresses, the narrative becomes richer and richer, and each little random nugget of wisdom (or nonsense!) encountered along the way begins to take on meaning: '...an artist's job is to make order out of chaos. You collect details, look for a pattern, and organize. You make sense out of senseless facts.' By the end, I was totally wrapped up in the story: I read 'Diary' in one sitting, incapable of putting it down. Detailed descriptions of the painter's materials, as well as frequent references to tortured artists of the past, lend vitality to the ambitious plot. My only gripe is the repeated phrase 'Just for the record', which jarred slightly. Otherwise, Palahniuk's writing is brutally honest, beautifully emotive, and refreshingly shocking in parts. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everything is a self-portrait", 9 April 2007
By 
Matt Pucci "mattpucci.com" (Here, there and everywhere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk's sixth novel takes the form a 'coma diary' written by Misty Wilmot, a washed-up art student whose husband, Peter, has been left unconscious after a botched suicide. Long-time readers of Palahniuk will immediately recognise the author's distinct, so-called nihilistic style, and like Fight Club and Lullaby before it, Diary is both blackly comic and astoundingly original. Take for, example, the opening line from the book's second entry (June 22): "By the time you read this, you'll be older than you remember." In the four pages that follow, Palahniuk succeeds in identifying Peter as a rather despicable character and eliciting sympathy for the long suffering Misty - all by way of a simple science lesson about the movement of the facial muscles.

In truth, there is nothing pretty about Palahniuk's writing, and his 'informative', minimalist style - not to mention a cast of rather bizarre characters - will turn off as many readers as it will attract. The author makes little attempt to hide the fact that he is trying to deliver his own message; indeed, sometimes he seems at pains to get his point across - to the slight detriment of the narrative's flow. And while the numerous artistic and historical references scattered throughout clearly serve a purpose, there is occasionally a sense that ol' Chuck is being a bit smug. For example, the name of the island on which Misty has wound up - the place that still, in spite of everything, holds the key to her dreams - is called Waytansea. Geddit?

And yet this is a beautiful book; an intricate, well executed piece of fiction-writing with a plot that unfolds in an intriguing and twisted manner, as Misty makes one unpleasant discovery after another about her senseless husband. Once again, Palahniuk manages to take the reader and show them a world beyond life's little tragedies, wherein his characters find inspiration from the most unlikely of sources and discover the true strength of the human spirit. Diary is an ambitious, transcendent and inspiring book, and as such, it's one that I highly recommend.

Matt Pucci
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did you like Fight Club, Survivor and Invisible Monsters?, 11 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
Then this book is not for you. Those three books by Chuck Palahniuk are some of my all-time favourite books, but this did just not cut it for me. For one, it tries to be horror, but it just isn't. There isn't a single scary moment in the book, and unlike Haunted, there's no shock value either. Despite being a fairly short book, it feels overly long and tedious; especially because the plot just doesn't seem to move, and the main character seemingly has no effect on the plot what so ever. Another thing I have to critizise is that this is probably Chuck's least original book. While he is one of the most interesting, original and unpredictable contemporary writers, this just doesn't live up to his standards; I mean, an island full of crazy people? If you've seen "The Wicker Man", you already know the basic outline of the story. The ending was extremely unsatisfying too (I'm not going to spoil anything) and just left the reader feeling "oh well, that's that". The perhaps biggest flaw of the book is the characters; all of them are unlikable. Kudos to Chuck for trying to write a book with a middle-aged, fat, useless woman as the main character, but it just doesn't work.

If you're looking for mystery, go read Invisible Monsters. If you're looking for horror, go read Haunted. If you're looking for action, go read Survivor or Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk can, and has, done much better than this.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 23 Dec. 2004
By 
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
This book is the most darkly compelling novel I have ever read. I would read, disgusted, almost unwilling to continue, but nevertheless unable to stop; something that I share with the main character of the book. If you enjoyed Fight Club, and Chuck's perfect little narrative soundbytes, you will love this book as much as I do. Here is a classic example:
"Just for the record, the weather today is bitter with occasional fits of jealous rage".
The book is graphic, gritty, and overwhelming. Chuck's repetition of phrases throughout the book such as the one above give it an almost hypnotic quality. You will see where the story is going long before the main character, you will scream for her to stop, to run, praying that she will evade the inevitable.
Books this involving may just save us all from illiterate damnation :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He writes like a pro, 8 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk is one of those writers who, after you've read one of his books, you have to read all the others. It's the same way with the works of David Sedaris and Jackson McCrae; Christopher Moore, too. And so I came by way of Diary through Fight Club and Survivor.

Palahniuk's works are dark and disturbing, but there's a wry, cynical humor there also. He obviously owes a debt of gratitude to Kurt Vonnegut and the likes of even Oscar Wilde, but he's made his style his own and it's one heck of a style.

As usual, the author wraps his books around some theme (infanticide, choking, etc) but the ideas go deeper and more complex than you can imagine. Much in the same was as McCrae's Katzenjammer does with its odd twists and turns. Or the way Martin Amis convolutes his plots in his Money and Success. If you want a book like no other--if you want a lot of them--then read Diary and all other C.P. books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Distubring in true CP manner, 28 April 2013
By 
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
So yes, perhaps this isn't as great as Fight Club or Choke (although, I've yet to read Choke), and it might be a little tamer than usual, in terms of being thrilling, spine-tingling and action-packed. However, that's what I like about it. A little change in pace is always healthy for a writer.

I personally found the story to be extremely interesting and Chuck knew how to hold my attention until the very last page. I wanted to know what the hell was going on with this bizarre town of Waytansea. I wanted to know what the hell this diary was that Grace kept reading telling her exactly what would happen the NEXT day with Misty. And what was going on with Misty? What is so important about her paintings? Who is Angel? And why did Peter want out?

In journal format, we go through 3 months of Misty's life, as the diary is directed towards her comatose husband. Misty is a washed-up art student who has lost her inspiration, but was picked by Peter to become his wife and save the family. Why and how? We don't know until the end.

All the questions are answered in the end, in addition to the usual dose of Chuck's philosophical quality of writing that make his novels ambitious, transcendent and exceptional. At times, I found myself absolutely disturbed and disgusted by some of Palaniuk's descriptions, but that never stopped me reading. The repetition of certain phrases in the book only make it more entrancing and irresistible to the reader. His style of writing is very engrossing, dark, cynical and sarcastic as well as comical at times (in a dark comedy kind of way).

I honestly found this to be a great mystery, the plot twisting and untwisting in true Chuck Palahniuk manner. You are involved with each and every character, keeping you on your toes the whole time, wanting to help the detective with his case, wanting to pull Grace's hair out, wanting to scream at Misty to run, and wanting to warn Angel of all that's going on.

The writing is absolutely impeccable, as always. I enjoyed reading this book and unfolding the events of the story.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow and obvious but well written., 25 Mar. 2011
By 
P. Albone "Noxy" (Bedfordshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
I'm a great fan of Chuck Palahniuk, his writing style is unique and quirky and like his other books this is true for Diary. The book is basicaly about a diary written for a man left in a coma after presumeably trying to take his own life and the events that take place there after. The main character is the wife of this man, Misty a former art student. She is left with their daughter and lives with the man's mother in a creepy seaside resort where nothing is as it seems. The plot unfolds from here with the heronie of the story being pestered to start painting again, but for what reason?

At times the novel works and gets under your skin in the same way Lovecrafts books do but it often feels that Palahniuk is trying too hard to write something a little twisted and 'out there' but falls a little short. The book plods along at a slow pace rarely kicking in to any high gear and the consequence is that you foresee whats going to happen far too early. Perhaps i'm wrong and perhaps that was always the intention,to see the outcome before the heroine does but you still have the same helplessness to stop it.

Aside from my problems with the narrative it is clearly well written and as it's a fairly short book you won't waste much time investing in it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Just for the record..., 8 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
Any Chuck Palahniuk novel should have the following: Sickening realisation of mutilation/illness/violence, Esoteric Fact-Checks (eg, Yellow watercolour paint is produced from the urine of overfed cows), questionable morals and UNPREDICTABLE plot-twists.

The ingredients in place and a few pages in you know you're back in CP's domain and although the territory becomes familiar the terrain is constantly littered with enough new shocks and dark comedy to make it enthralling and captivating. Diary follows suit and from the opening chapter the bleak routine and frustration of the central character becomes the vehicle to launch a story which gradually unfolds from an everyday waitress in an off-shore holiday resort to an overblown, inter-generational conspiracy.

Throughout the central story's domino revelations Diary remains dark, witty, disturbing and engrossing. I would recommend it above any other of Chuck's offerings I have read and he has a few gems already in his collection. I also noted on that on the American Amazon a lot of reviewers were really critical of Diary, which I find so surprising. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this genre.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck D-livers, 8 Sept. 2003
By 
Andrew Cottier (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
As usual I read this Chuck's latest in like 1 day, he is the only author who i actually get excited about and really anticipate the publishing date. With such high expectations it would be easy to be let down but thankfully once again he didn't.
Perhaps less funny than previous works it's still a cracking read, at times quite graphic in the detail and the amount of research he does for his books surprises me every time.
As usual he keeps you off balance, you're never really sure where the book is going until you get there. Fans will probably wondering if there a twist, and as usual you can't really say anything too much of the plot without giving it away.
If you're a fan you won't be dissapointed and if you haven't yet discovered Paluniuk this is not a bad place to start, although I would recomend the classic fight club, because it is just that.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wrong side of a different track..., 4 Sept. 2005
By 
This review is from: Diary (Paperback)
Diary is another of Mr P's extraordinary books, which will enthral and exhilarate readers from the first to the last page.
One of the things that frustrates me about Palahniuk, which is also probably the greatest reason why he is still manages to evades cheesy main stream writing by continuing in his nihilistic style, is simply this... you never see where a plot line is going. The depth of this book is undeniable. This can lead to frustration when reading Diary as he often leaves you with a substantial headache as you try to figure out the plots twists and turns before they happen.
This book is for the Palahniuk fan not the Chuck starter. Read Survivor, Choke or Lullaby (probably in that order) to get you started... You could even give Fight Club a miss completely. I say this because if you have seen the film you already know the story.
Be amazed, refreshed, stunned, shuffle uncomfortably as you cheer for the antiheroes that Mr P creates and begin coveting from a far at the sheer genius of this awesome writer.
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Diary
Diary by Chuck Palahnuik (Paperback - 2 Sept. 2004)
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