Review of “Damned” by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuck, an American novelist and freelance journalist known most for his novel “Fight Club”, which was later made into a feature film directed by David Fincher, is a transgressional fiction writer who has written other successful novels, such as “Invisible Monsters” and “Choke”. His novels, mostly fiction but heavily influenced by Palahniuck’s personal life, are notorious for their “illicit” and somewhat “disturbing” content, of which was the cause for the initial rejection of his first publication attempts. Although his novels received little recognition when first published, his works grew in popularity due to a cult following years after the publication and movie production of “Fight Club”. Chuck Palahniuk’s most recent novel, “Damned”, is a story about a 13-year-old, Madison, daughter of two very famous hollywood actors, who awakes finding herself in Hell. The novel unfolds as Madison explores Hell, which is similar to that described by Dante’s “Inferno”, as she attempts to find out why she went to hell when she died, and exactly how she died. This novel cleverly portrays the thoughts, actions, and internal controversy of the protagonist as she gradually recounts the memories of her life leading to her death while associating with those also in Hell. The story emphasizes the theme of finding one’s personal identity, alluded to in the passage “It’s stunning how having nothing to lose will build your self-confidence”. Palahniuck also writes, “In Hell, it’s our attachments to a fixed identity that tortures us”. Although this book provides an entertaining read, it’s obvious Palahniuck made a careful attempt to write something fresh and creative, yet failed to gradually build the enthusiasm of the plot, making it tempting to put down at times. Although the climax and twist at the end of the novel are quite creative, its significance will alienate readers who are not familiar other famous literature, mainly British. I would mainly recommend this book to famous literature readers, but not particularly to casual readers who would probably prefer his earlier works more so than “Damned.”

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One thought on “Review of “Damned” by Chuck Palahniuk

  1. Pingback: 10 Disturbing Novels | lasesana

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