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Memoirs of a Dance Hall Romeo
on 14 September 2015
Chuck Palahniuk has taken to writing more novellas than novels in recent years and ‘Tell All’ is no exception. This book comes in at just under 200 pages, but what you do get is the usual high quality writing from the author. This is the story of an aging actress, or more correctly the helper of an aging actress. The helper feels she is the puppet master who has allowed the thespian to flourish over the years. Told in the slightly broken style that Palahniuk fans will be used to, the book is first person and also as if it was a play.
With a short length the eccentric writing style of Palahniuk is a little too cumbersome – you only get into the rhythm of events and the book is over. The story itself is light and is more about the use of language and a mirror on vanity, than any given plot as such. There is a twist or two involved that is nice, but this is hidden amongst the layered writing that Palahniuk loves. New readers to the author may find his style impenetrable, they should perhaps start on his earlier, longer works, which are as broken in style as this, but give the reader more space to breath.
Despite the book being over before it starts there are touches of the great Palahniuk magic that makes readers of his keep coming back for more. Some of his scathing observations are troublesome, truthful and hilarious. There is no other author quite like this who can write such crude material in such a lyrical way. This book is worth reading alone for some of the great lines in it. Fans of Palahniuk will get a lot from ‘Tell All’, it just feels like he needs a little more meat to his increasingly experimental outings.