- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape; UK First Edition; 1st printing. edition (4 Jun. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224087134
- ISBN-13: 978-0224087131
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 807,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pygmy Hardcover – 4 Jun 2009
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'The boldest book in a long while from an author not exactly unaccustomed to boundary-pushing...ace.' -- Grazia
The most ambitious novel yet from the author of Fight Club and ChokeSee all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Now move forward to a mid-Western church in America where a female missionary feels such concern for these children that she arranges an exchange visit for a number of them to stay with American host-families. The children arrive in America to have six months of respite from their harsh existence, and as the host-father puts it, to "to sing our songs and share the fellowship of our homes and church". However, unbeknown to these generous-hearted families, these children have been given a plan: their educators have shown them how to wreak "Operation Havoc", a terrible act of destruction on the evil American town in which they have come to stay.
This book is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. The whole book is written in the first person by one of the children, Operative 67, using a sort of pidgin American which takes some getting used to but provides considerable insight into the regime they have been brought up in.
The book is a satire, but on both cultures. The host-family are a sort of Simpsons-like parody of the ideal American family, mixing a mindless involvement in their church community while indulging in all the excesses of American culture.Read more ›
Beneath an alienating structure, Palahniuk is courting the type of controversy he is known for. The main character is from an unknown Socialist country and is living with a darkly stereotypical American family from the Bible belt. Palahniuk pokes equal fun at both parties and as usual looks at the sinister underbelly of America. There are scenes in `Pygmy' that are extreme, even to Palahniuk's standards, and it is not a book I could recommend to anyone with a sensitive deposition. At its best `Pygmy' is a scathing attack on the commercialism of America and some people's habitual racism. At worst the book is mere controversy fodder and does not actually have a real structure or purpose like in Palahniuk's earlier, and brilliant work, `Fight Club' or `Lullaby'.
There is no other author quite like Palahniuk out there and for that reason I continue to read his work. However, there are also few authors out there that have such a varied standard of output, from the sublime to the dull. `Pygmy' sits somewhere in the middle as an average book in the Palahniuk cannon. In the future Palahniuk is likely to be remembered as one of the most interesting authors of the late 20th and early 21st century, however, this book is unlikely to get a mention.
But this book is different. The satire has its cutting edge back, no doubt due to the one thing that will polarize even die hard "Cult" members about this title; the prose.
Burgess wrote "A Clockwork Orange" in his infamous made up argot of nadsat, and Welsh wrote "Trainspotting" in accurately rendered working class Scottish, establishing a lineage in transgressive literature for telling a tale from the most extreme point of view intimately, and "Pygmy" takes up the baton by relating the usual Palaniuk tale of clockwork chaos in the broken English of an uber-foreigner.
Some people will find this an absolute joy (as I did) and others, missing the point, will complain that it was hard to read. But, just as Burgess's novel of brainwashing was constructed to peform its own kind of brainwashing on readers by forcing them to learn its bastardized Russian-English, so Palahniuk uses an outsider to dissect America by use of clever word twisting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Have read lots of novels written partly or wholly in UK and US regional dialects & slangs, Nigerian pidgin or cyber language. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
I have read all of Chuck's books and this for me is near the top of the pile along with Survivor and Haunted. :)Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
I could not get into this book at all.
I can understand it had a good story line and usually I'm a big fan of Palahniuk's work but the whole book is the written in pig... Read more
Despite really liking books by this author, this was very difficult to read. So difficult that I didn't make it to the end. Not one of his best.Published on 2 Jan. 2015 by Eyal
If you manage to read it initially, and get used to the writing style it may deserve some attention. I couldn't.Published on 23 Aug. 2014 by sp klv
I'm a huge fan of Palahniuk's first five novels. I started to waver a little with the next three, so I stopped checking out his new work. Read morePublished on 4 Aug. 2014 by Sketchy&Unformed