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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 February 2013
As short fiction, the writing must be spare and to the point but still deliver a layered read and a full story in a short amount of time, and this story definitely does that. Disturbing and funny with some dark, twisted humor, it's really that fine vein of sadness under the story that bothered me most. Rachel really pulled me in; she's complicated and disturbing on many levels, and I didn't know whether to laugh, cringe, draw back in horror, or look at her with extreme pity. What a deep character to make me feel a range of emotions like that. With clever title, precise writing, flawed character, and sharp intention, the author crafted a layered and complex short story here.
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on 17 March 2013
It's been a few years since I read something by Chuck Palahniuk all the way through, the last being his novel "Lullaby" in 2002 and then only just. Since then I've tried one of his books every now and then - "Diary" in 2004, "Haunted" in 2006, "Tell-All" in 2010 - and I'll always put them down long before the end. Palahniuk's style of brief statement-like sentences, fact dumps, and deadpan black humour, while fresh and exciting when first encountered, becomes tedious after a while and I abandoned his novels because it felt like his writing was permanently mired in style over substance, novelty over quality. The glory days of "Fight Club", "Survivor" and "Choke" were over.

Which is why I was so surprised by "Phoenix" and found it to be an extraordinarily written and clever short story. Where had THIS Palahniuk been all these years? "Phoenix" is the story of Rachel, a wife, businesswoman and mother of a blind 3 year old daughter, on a work-related trip in Florida and calling home every night from her unpleasant hotel room where her neighbours are perennially having loud sex.

Told in the first person, Rachel recounts her married life before her daughter as we find out about her husband's devotion to a cat she disliked. The cat got in the way of their starting a new life so Rachel did the only thing she could think of to change her situation...

Meanwhile back in the present her daughter refuses to speak to her when she calls so Rachel becomes increasingly desperate to hear her voice, resorting to increasingly despicable acts until the heinous finale.

Palahniuk's Rachel is a remarkable creation - you realise while reading the story that she is completely insane. But Palahniuk somehow makes her seem not only human but makes her actions seem - not acceptable - but understandable from the narrative's perspective. Looking back, I can't believe how Palahniuk makes her actions seem natural and believable.

"Phoenix" is a brilliant story that is recognisably Palahniuk-esque but more sophisticated - finally, his writing style has evolved! It's definitely the best piece of his writing I've read in over a decade and, perhaps due to its format as a short story, is an effectively shocking and compelling read. "Phoenix" is a master-class in short story writing and a return to form for Chuck Palahniuk. A must-read.
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on 15 April 2013
As usual a good story that all falls into place bit by bit. Sick and funny combined together brilliantly. A good short story
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on 13 August 2013
This short story is the second I downloaded and read today, the first being a Lee Child novella. Having read neither author before, I was keen to try a little taster of each.
I'm not really sure why I have avoided Palahniuk's books for so long, after all I love the movie adaptations of Fight Club and his other works, but the fact is I have. And now having read this I have to ask myself why?
This short story zips along at a lightening pace as it flicks between the two narrative threads and it really is over before you know it. The humour is thick and fast and laugh-out-loud at times, never have I encountered so many lines from a book that I wanted to put as my status on Facebook. The story, like much of the humour, is suitably dark, with obvious shades of Elmore Leonard and Irvine Welsh. Overall, a great little tale, or should that be tail??
Based on this, I will definitely read more of his books.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 June 2013
I have not read Palahniuk for a while (stopping on the "Diary", which I possibly did not finish). But everything I love about Chuck Palaniuk is back and is fitted into this one short story. As always, slightly crazy, very amusing, greatly satiric. Palahniuk's trademark somewhat sadistic mind games are back.

This is the author I love, the one who brought to us "Fight Club" and "Lullaby", he is back with a breath of fresh air in terms of great tone and timing of the story. The pace and price are perfect for such a short narrative. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys short stories and/or Palahniuk's work and/or good fiction in general and I am looking forward to catching up on all the books I missed!

Another star for a great title.
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on 10 March 2013
This well crafted story is told through a few phone calls and flashbacks to a previous point in time in the relationship of Rachel and Ted. It's a relationship with troubles, and these are neatly revealed as the short story progresses.
It's not a happy story, and it contains some dark themes which would not be to everyone's tastes.
The tale slowly reveals the link between the now, with Rachel trying to speak with a sulking daughter (blind, not deaf as one of the reviews states), and the past, pre-child, when Ted & Rachel are trying to move home.
Obviously I've heard of the author before, but hadn't read anything by him prior to this.
On the back of this brilliant little tale I'll be rectifying that soon.
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on 4 March 2013
Very short but still worth the 49p and can be digested in a long coffee break. 100% Palahniuk the cynicism and dark humour we have come to know him by still shine through within the 20 or so pages of the actual short story. Only gave it 3 stars more for the fact that the last 30% of the book is made up of adverts from the publisher.
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on 12 January 2014
Usually I wouldn't expect much for the grand total of 32p, but with Palahniuk's name attached I found myself facing the usual levels of anticipation I have when approaching his work. What I found was that whilst this is a fairly short piece of fiction, Palahniuk has still been able to fill it with this usual measure of wit and twisted, at times grotesque, humour. Though not quite his up to the level of his best work - not that I was expecting it to be - I still found myself smiling at how effortless our author makes spinning a good yarn seem.
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on 12 October 2013
I won't lie, I'm a Chuck Palahniuk fan, so was pretty excited when I saw this short story for only 32p on my Kindle - YOINK!!!
This is a short and simple story that can be read in one sitting, which I found easy to read and compelling throughout. It is broken up into short bursts of phone calls that Rachel makes back home and the occasional flashback or descriptions of the couple's past home life before it burned down in a fire.
It's a story that tells all it needs to without having to be any longer.
Recommended.
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on 17 February 2013
I have been nervous about buying a singlet, or short story book as I personally didn't believe the format would allow for proper story or character development. But when this title by one of my favourite authors became available, I was compelled to spend my 99p - and is was well worth every penny.

Telling the story about a mothers forced long distance telephone relationship with her partner and her daughter, who happens to be deaf, this book is packed full of wit, emotion and the typical genius of Palahniuk's abstract endings. Riveting from the start, and with a twist in the tail, this title proves beyond doubt that singlets can grip and mesmerise its reader just a well as a 600+ page title.

If you want a quick to read but brilliantly written book, or would just like to have a taster of Palahniuk's incredible story telling before reading one of his full length novels, than I strongly recommend this little gem. It had me hooked from the first page - it was just magnificent to read.
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