Stranger Than Fiction

by Chuck Palahniuk
ISBN: 0385722222

This collection of essays is divided into three sections: people together, portraits, and personal. The stories are gross, disturbing, full of longing, surprises, and wishes. This means they’re all about the kinds of things people do, think about, and struggle with.

I can’t imagine who else could bring together write ups of an outdoor sex festival in Montana, an interview with Marilyn Manson, taking steroids, building castles, psychics, and shaving your head going terribly wrong all in the same book. (And that isn’t even an exhaustive list.) I expected to like this book; the only other Palahniuk I’ve read so far is Lullaby, and I like that.

Thing is, I liked it even more than I thought I would. Reading nonfiction by a fiction writer I like can be a daunting proposition, particularly if I think the author is going to talk about themselves at all. What if they ruin the good feelings I have? The feelings I have about them or their writing based on knowing pretty much, well, nothing about them. What if I learn things I don’t want to know, and can’t unlearn? If the risk is high, so it the potential reward: I can wind up feeling more strongly about an author or their work. That was the case with Palahniuk and this book.

The guy starts off his introduction telling us, “If you haven’t already noticed, all my books are about a lonely person looking for some way to connect with other people.” He keeps that straightforward, no bullshit, not embellished, just what you need and no extras thing going throughout the book, and it really worked for me. Recommended.

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