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Friday, February 04, 2005

Book Review: DIARY Chuck Palahniuk

"set foot on the island and you will die"


Chuck Palahniuk

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Ever since I first saw FIGHT CLUB I’ve been a massive Chuck Palahniuk fan… He is my joint favourite author along with Iain Banks and Christopher Brookmyre. He writes brutal, compelling fiction that is backed up with real thinking and genuine wit. I’ve read all of his books and have just finished DIARY, which continues his run of quality novels.

This is the story of Misty Marie Wilmot, a white trash trailer park refugee, her husband Peter is failed rebel who after ‘hiding’ rooms in houses he has filled with threatening vile messages scrawled on the walls, spends most of the book in a coma (hence the title as this is Misty’s Coma Diary). The setting is a place called Waytansea island where the populace are a bunch of sinister oddballs in the vein of the neighbours in Rosemary's Baby. The element of threat and destiny for Misty builds up wonderfully as the freaks on the island wait for her to manifest a reincarnation of prior Waytansea artists who ‘save the island from the mainlanders’. The island, it appears, does not want to become just another overdeveloped resort, and it is reaching across time to stop the flow of progress in a horrific way…In every Palahniuk book there are fascinating background details that permeate the narrative. For example at one point DIARY serves up Information about the Jewish Essenes (apparently a group who abandoned their families, training themselves by enduring sickness and torture – performing the very miracles that Christ later did and some of whom were credited with teaching the young John the Baptist and JC Himself!?)…

Palahniuk in a recent interview says: "In 'Diary,' the motto really is: Where Do You Get Your Inspiration? It coaches us to be aware of our motives and not just be a reaction to the circumstances around us. And then - if we screw up, which we will, again and again - to forgive ourselves and try to be more aware and make better choices the next time around.”
"Your life isn't about doing one perfect 'thing' and then falling down dead," he continues. "It's more like going to church or writing a book. You do it over and over, always trying to be a little bit better. Then you die."
Darkmatt Rating: ööööö (excellent)

"Waytansea Island will kill every last one of God's children"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was quite moved by this book. In addition to the themes you illustrated, I was fascinated by idea that we all have a fantasy life that we believe will someday appear if we wait long enough and are lucky enough. For Misty, she wanted the "picture" - the home, the husband, the child. The appeal of being accepted, loved and admired was dangerously powerful. But when she had to start living it, she found her life to be a piece of the costume jewelry she couldn't resist - appealing but without value. Even though Misty's story didn't end happily, I was moved by the idea that making courageous decisions by examining our choices is our real moment of creation.