“Some of his best work is here. . . . When it’s on, it’s on, and it could be Palahniuk’s most ambitious novel to date, certainly the most ambitious since Fight Club.” –The Washington Post Book World
“Madly inventive. . . . It simply, exuberantly, escapes literary categorization.” —Los Angeles Times
"Palahniuk's pacing is impeccable. . . . He draws from a strange palette of worldly nihilism and supernatural conspiracy to paint a compelling portrait of the artist as an unwitting conduit of evil." --The Boston Globe
“Palahniuk is a bracingly toxic purveyor of dread and mounting horror. He makes nihilism fun.” –Vanity Fair
“To read a Chuck Palahniuk novel means being shocked, enlightened, disturbed, buoyed, horrified, delighted and perplexed–sometimes on a single page.” —Pittsburgh Tribune Review
“Palahniuk delightfully pushes Diary into the ludicrous, but his restless intelligence coheres plotwise, and as always he makes his ideas move. . . . The pleasure here resides in his awesome ability to transform gleeful absurdities into a well-sculpted riddle.” –The Village Voice
“This is a book you won’t soon forget.” —Hartford Courant
“Diary is far more inspired and philosophical than one would expect even from a top-drawer horror novel.” —Seattle Times-Post Intelligencer
"Palahniuk has never sounded more like a latter-day Kurt Vonnegut than he does here . . . Life and art may not be that unfair, on the evidence of watching Palahniuk hitting his stride." --The New York Times
“The closest thing to a plain old mystery Palahniuk has ever written. . . . Stunning, funky stuff.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Daring. . . . Palahniuk’s inspiration comes from a love of the vernacular of subcultures, a black but not cynical sense of humor, and a fondness for unusual plot twists. . . . Ominous, shocking.” –Chicago Sun-Times
“Intriguing. . . . Must reading for art lovers and those who love a good puzzle.” –Baltimore Sun
“Palahniuk continues to redefine ‘scary’ for his readers. Recalling such classic horror tales as Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, Diary’s dark side reveals itself slowly, quietly. . . . Unraveling the mystery that [Misty’s] life has become is as eye-opening for us as it is for her.” –Chicago Tribune
“In his inimitable style, Palahniuk has forged another chilling tale out of our deepest fears and given readers a Rosemary’s Baby for the new millennium. . . . Diary is Palahniuk at his harrowing best.” –BookPage
“An inventive page-turner that fuses eccentric elements of suspense with supernatural overtones to create a modern symphony of psychological horror. . . . A refreshing shot of adrenaline to the intellect.” –Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“Palahniuk [is] a master storyteller. The dizzying twists and turns to this tale keep you smirking and shaking your head, guessing and thinking, wondering how he’ll make sense out of the next kink in the plot.” –Tampa Tribune
“Raw and wry. . . . Suffering for one’s art has never been this funny.” –Maxim
“Palahniuk at his angsty best.” –Details
Diary really hits its stride when the blood starts flowing (one memorable scene involves an unwanted leg cast and a steak knife). Palahniuk is better at sensation than philosophy, a pulp writer who excels when he stops worrying the big ideas and channels his wild, misfit heart.
Diary may be trying to be too many things at once, but when it's on, it's on, and it could be Chuck Palahniuk's most ambitious novel to date, certainly the most ambitious since Fight Club. In a publishing world of sentimental biographies, thrillers and plotless realism, it's refreshing to see someone attempt to flip the concept of myth and break fairy tales down into the physical details of modern life. At this Palahniuk is one of the gifted -- and we can be thankful that a writer with such an established readership is still driven to experiment.
With a first page that captures the reader hook, line and sinker, Palahniuk (Choke; Lullaby) plunges into the odd predicament of Waytansea Island resident and ex-art student Misty Marie Kleinman, whose husband, Peter, lies comatose in a hospital bed after a suicide attempt. Rooms in summer houses on the mainland that Peter has remodeled start to mysteriously disappear-"The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing"-and Misty, with the help of graphologist Angel Delaporte, discovers that crude and prophetic messages are scrawled across the walls and furniture of the blocked-off chambers. In her new world, where every day is "another longest day of the year," Misty suffers from mysterious physical ailments, which only go away while she is drawing or painting. Her doctor, 12-year-old daughter and mother-in-law, instead of worrying about her health, press her to paint more and more, hinting that her art will save exclusive Waytansea Island from being overrun by tourists. In the meantime, Misty is finding secret messages written under tables and in library books from past island artists issuing bold but vague warnings. With new and changing versions of reality at every turn, the theme of the "tortured artist" is taken to a new level and "everything is important. Every detail. We just don't know why, yet." The novel is something of a departure for Palahniuk, who eschews his blighted urban settings for a sinister resort island, but his catchy, jarring prose, cryptic pronouncements and baroque flights of imagination are instantly recognizable, and his sharp, bizarre meditations on the artistic process make this twisted tale one of his most memorable works to date. (Aug. 26) Forecast: Doubleday's marketing plan for Palahniuk is appropriately surreal-"street team guerrilla marketing" will supplement the usual advertising and author tour routine. The book's premise, relatively sedate at first glance, may make it a harder sell than previous novels, but once readers pick it up, they won't be able to put it down. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Genius is pain," or so John Lennon said, and Palahniuk's sixth novel (after Lullaby) takes that grim assertion as its axis. Misty Marie Kleinman, a trailer-trash art student whose Thomas Kinkade sensibilities are embarrassingly out of place amid voguish peers intent on high-concept excretory art, falls for a creepy drifter whose home on picturesque Waytansea Island is identical to her own storybook imaginings. The idyll turns sour as the island is overrun with rich summer people, and her husband attempts suicide after desecrating several of their homes with prophetic scrawls. Waiting tables in the local hotel to support her daughter and mother-in-law, washing down aspirin with wine, and anatomizing the seediness of her life in a caustic journal addressed to her comatose spouse, Misty seems to have permanently deferred her dream. Yet she is destined for a strange renaissance. What follows is a blend of paranoiac horror along the lines of Rosemary's Baby and an inventive fable about the uses of art and its relation to suffering and the universal unconscious. Neither plot nor theme is brought to a persuasive conclusion, but the journey is consistently engaging. Recommended for most public libraries where Palahniuk's provocative books are appreciated. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/03.]-David Wright, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Failed artist becomes wife of carpenter on picturesque island-then, in Palahniuk's remarkable sixth novel (after Lullaby, 2002), everything goes to hell. Actually, Misty Kleinman is not so much a failed artist as a woman who always wanted to draw, went to art school, and never quite got up the gumption to try being an actual artist. She fell into a relationship with Peter Wilmot, the really-off guy at school, and moved with him to Waytansea Island. But that's not where Palahniuk starts off: instead, he gives us Misty later on, when she has a 12-year-old daughter, Peter is a vegetable in the hospital (thanks to a clumsy suicide attempt), an unglued sense of reality prevails. You see, Waytansea Island is beautiful and has been discovered by wealthy mainlanders who clog the roads, take up space on the ferry, and generally act like human cholesterol, things that hardly make old-family islanders like Peter shiver with delight. Peter took his own revenge in a striking manner: he worked on the houses of mainlanders while they were gone, so that when they returned they found that entire rooms had-disappeared. These rooms were covered in threatening, apocalyptic graffiti and then walled off. Misty keeps getting called out to look at them once they're uncovered by angered customers-"The woman with the missing closet. The man with his bathroom gone"-and she tries desperately to care, as Peter lies in his coma. A waitress in the island's grand old hotel, Missy is stuck with her mother-in-law, who has an obsessive interest in when Misty will start to paint again. Misty starts getting ill, something that drives her painting in a way nothing ever has before, and soon she's able to do little else butpaint. Palahniuk restrains his more comic voice to deliver moving passages on inspiration, art, and suffering as a driving force. Only in the end, when things start linking up, does the novel, oddly enough, begin to unravel. A loose-limbed nightmare both vaporous and all-enveloping: awe-inspiring. Author tour. Agent: Edward Hibbert/Donadio & Olson