Pygmy

Pygmy

by Chuck Palahniuk

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307389817
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/20/2010
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 235,133
Product dimensions: 5.36(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk’s nine previous novels are the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film by David Fincher; Survivor; Invisible Monsters; Choke, which was made into a film by director Clark Gregg; Lullaby; Diary; Haunted; Rant; and Snuff. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, a nonfiction profile of Portland, Oregon, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Hometown:

Portland, Oregon

Date of Birth:

February 21, 1962

Place of Birth:

Pasco, Washington

Education:

B.A. in journalism, University of Oregon, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Dispatch

First

Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67, on arrival Midwestern American airport greater  ?? area. Flight  ??. Date  ??. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc.

Fellow operatives already pass immigrant control, exit through secure doors and to embrace own other host family people. Operative Tibor, agent 23; operative Magda, agent 36; operative Ling, agent 19. All violate United States secure port of entry having success. Each now embedded among middle-income corrupt American family, all other homes, other schools and neighbors of same city. By not after next today, strategy web of operatives to be established.

Passport man, officer nothing behind bullet glass, open and reading passport book of operative me, matching to paper facts of visa, man down look upon this agent, say, "You're a long ways from home, son." Man, ancient penned animal dying of too tall, pooled heavy blood hanging in leg veins. Trapped all day, then could be next walk to toilet, pow-pow, clot knock out brain.

Passport man say, "So, you're an exchange student?" Man say, "How old are you, my boy?"

On fingers of operative me, am to count one, two until thirteen.

"So you're thirteen?" say passport man. Behind glass, say, "Awful small for your age, aren't you?"

Operative me say, One-three. Hold fingers straight and say repeat, Thirteen.

Iron fist of operative me, could be, flash fire explode, pow-bang. Burst bullet glass. Striking Cobra Quick Kill maneuver so collapse passport man windpipe. Render instant quick dead.

Tongue of operative me lick, licking, touching back tooth on bottom, molar where planted inside forms cyanide hollow, touching not biting. Not yet. Tooth wet smooth against lick of tongue. Swallow spit, say counting one, two, counting on fingers of hand until six. Tell passport man, to be exchange student with host family six month.

Passport man strike paper of book with ink, marked good to enter nation. Slide passport book returned to this agent. Man say, "Welcome to the greatest country on earth." Press button and doors allow way inside United States, accessing target family to harvest.

Only one step with foot, operative me to defile security of degenerate American snake nest. Den of evil. Hive of corruption. Host family of operative me waiting, host arms elbow bent to flutter host fingers in attention of this agent. Host family shouting, arms above with wiggling finger.

For official record, host father present as vast breathing cow, blowing out putrid stink diet heavy with dead slaughterhouse flesh, bellowing stench of Viagra breath during cow father reach to clasp hand of operative me. From tissue compress rate of father fist, bone-to-cow ratio, host father contain 31.2 percent body fat. Wearing is anchored spring apparatus gripping chest blouse pocket of father, one laminated name badge swinging there, giving name "Donald Cedar," from orange dot code, security level nine. Swipe magnetic strip. American industry typical biological exposure indicate strip, as stripe gray along bottom edge of badge, strip showing no recent exposure.

Operative me, am agitating vast fist of cow father, while free hand of this agent reach to acquire security badge.

Next now, host cow father say, "Whoa, there, little fella." Say, "No touchy," and father touching badge, tapping laminate card flat against own cow-stinking chest, say, "Top secret." In talk breath of Viagra, reek of Propecia and mint chew gum.

Operative me ready. Could be simple two pointed elbows to father's chest, one-two, kam-pow, Flying Eagle maneuver, and three days, by after next today, will father be vomiting both lungs, turned inside out with massive blood, dead. Fast as easy, young child able do.

Host mother dig pointed elbow into rib cage of host father, say, "Listen to you, Mister Big Shot."

Host mother present as blinking chicken, chin of face bony sharp as beak, chin tucking and swivel to turn, never still, chicken mother say, "Look at you!" Face exploded in silent screaming of wide-open lips and teeth, pointy tongue, eyebrows jumped into chicken forehead. Bony claws of chicken mother, gripping each this agent hands, mother lifts to spread arms too high on top this agent head. Spreading operative me so open, exposed, host mother say, "Look how skinny!"

Looped around one bony chicken claw, keys of automobile rattle and swinging. American-type model require 17.1 minute merely so feed gasoline tank full. Keys of host family residence structure. Other automobile keys, crushed between bony chicken claw and hand of operative me. Fingers of this agent close around keys, attempt slip steal begin off from claw.

Next now, host mother say, "We need to put some meat on those bones." Host mother claws keys shut inside mother talon. Sweat sweating from pores of mother, a cooking stew smell heavy mixed with cafe iced mocha vanilla combined Zoloft mixed Xanax. Stenched with supplement estrogen. Reek of lanolin out face wrinkle with folic acid pills too many.

From tissue flex index of hand, tendon resistance and dermal friction, guessing chicken mother to be 6.3 percent body fat. Blood pressure 182/120. Resting pulse rate 93. Age 42.3 years. Inside six year, easy subject brain stroke dead.

Mother and father, host family name "Cedar." Around operative me, make arms. Grope hug.

Next then, introduced two host sibling.

Host sister push bundle of paper so collide with abdomen of operative me, paper red and constricted with false gold color of synthetic binding tied so make elaborate flowering knot on top. Printed on paper, in English gold letters say, "Happy Birthday."

"It's a T-shirt," say host brother, say, "Show some manners." Host brother only pig dog, cradled on both hands, apparatus of black plastic with pig dog dancing thumbs making buttons beep. Black plastic issue noise many tiny explosion. Machine gun report. Host pig dog brother say, "You're not sharing my room, you little turd."

On pig dog breath, the stink of Ritalin. The pollution stench of model airplane adhesive and frequent masturbations. Underneath . . . reek of secret blood, latex rubber, and fear sweat. Pig dog face not look up, but blotted one cheek with vast purple bruised. Estimate old 14.5 years.

Twitching chicken mother, wagging one finger made straight, host mother say, "Now, don't let's be racist_._._."

Easy fast could be, feet of operative me hitting pig dog, pow-

pow, Flying Giant Stork Death Kick, collapse inside of pig dog zygomatic arch, driving bone back direct to spear brain, jab-boom, dead before make next stink breath.

For host mother, soon plan dim mak, fatal touch to acupuncture meridian, leave painless instant now dead as mook Joong dummy.

For official record, only host sister look rewarding opponent. Host sister, stealth cat. Cat of night, silent but eyeing all happen. Cat sister press red paper bundle on fingers of operative me, host sister say, "I hope it fits."

Fingers of operative me cradle package, slick feel of red paper. Pull at fake gold of flowering knot, careful no to tear paper, no to break binding. This agent deconstruct package careful as were delay-ignite Turkish T-155 Panter howitzer shell bomb. Inside, folded black fabric printed white with in letters English writing. Unfold fabric so reveal tunic, wrote across front with "Property of Jesus" on top above shape like fish, like primitive outline caveman fish.

Pig dog eyes looking down at apparatus, twitching thumbs pushing beeps, busy and fast, host brother say, "It's a T-shirt, 'tard." Say, "Put it on."

Fellow mission operatives, neighboring amid arrival for collect luggage, target host families throw arms around, say, "Group hug." Agent Sasha. Agent Vigor. Accept to grip thread of silver floating bladder, English worded "Welcome to Jesus." Other floating bladder worded "Smile!" Other package covered of paper. Other agents buried in heavy layer American arms. Every American try secret to be sniffing operatives, scrub with small snake eyes for soil or foreign disease germ. Host families with fellow operatives trailing more distant, strolling more distant until disappear out airport doors to where already automobile wait. Horn honking at edge of outside street. All automobile the big of house.

Begins here phase one: Operation Havoc.

Arms of operative me wrestle black fabric over head, pull fabric down over shoulders, over waist until black hang to knees, past knees. Edge of little sleeve hang to elbow. Word of "Jesus" flap over crotch. Collar big around to circle neck and one shoulder of this agent.

Breathing cow father say, "You'll grow into it." Say, stinking fluoride breath, "Here," and hand over fabric rag glued to hang off end of wood stick. American flag little as napkin. White, red, and blue.

Fingers of operative me pinch wood stick like stem of stinking weed. Wave stripe flag to fan away reek of host family air. Butter fat stench. Chemical hair soap stink. Such filthy reek American cash money.

Hand of vast cow father, hand rise, all finger made straight as for pledge. Lips host father say, "We're not just a family." Say shout, "We're a team!"

Same now, host mother flex both leg limbs so able leap, smite own palm against open hand of father, making loud sound of slap hands. Say shout host chicken mother, "Team Cedar!"

Begins here delicious tang of host family, thin American blood already salt on hot tongue of operative me. Already is decadent host family flesh tear by operative teeth. Drool of operative me, flooding hunger within mouth making to swallow. Tongue to lick lips of operative me. Drown cyanide molar. Could be crunch of host bones sweet between teeth of this agent. Stomach to growl. Quick them to be screaming out blood, mouth trumpet yawning blood, quick dead. Ultimate vengeance.

Label tag inside collar of Jesus tunic, print "Made in China."

Label tag along weed stem of American flag, print "Made in China."

Operative me not say loud, only say inside this agent head, quote turncoat Hebrew, corrupt genius Robert Oppenheimer, atom bomb father, quote, "I am become as death, the destroyer of worlds." Next then, making agent eyes bright on host target family, mouth of operative design into smile, extra especial wide to show all of many sharp white teeth.

Quote, "All the better to eat you with, my dears."

Repeat inside head of operative me, quote, "I am become as death_._._."

Chicken mother say, "We'll make an American out of you_._._." Keys of automobile jangling, beak chin wagging no stop, host mother say, "Or, swear to our Lord almighty God, we are gonna die trying."

 

Dispatch

Second

Begins here second account of operative me, agent number 67, on arrival retail product distribution facility of city  ??. Outlet number  ??. Date  ??. For official record, during American winter youth attend compulsive levels of teaching; during summer, American youth must attend shopping mall.

Magic quiet door go sideways, disappear inside wall to open path from outside. Not total all glass, extruded aluminum metal frame silver edge, doors slide gone until reveal inside stand old woman, slave woman appareled with red tunic, spring apparatus gripping tunic front to hang swinging sign, printed, "Doris." Ancient sentinel rest gray cloud eye upon operative me, roll eye from hair and down this agent, say, voice like old parrot, say, "Welcome to Wal-Mart." Say, "May I help you find something?"

Mouths of this agent make smile, face design into pleasing eye contact. This agent say, "Much venerate ancient mother... where sold here location China-make 81-S-type gas-operated, rotating-bolt, fire six hundred fifty rounds per minute machine gun?"

Face of ancient mummify bound in dying skin, clouded eye only look, no blink.

Smile of operative me say, "Revered soon dying mother, distribute you ammunitions correct for Croatia-made forty-five-caliber, long-piston-stroke APS assault rifle?"

Smile of operative me, breathing, await.

Sag windpipe of ancient parrot, sag skin jump with swallow. Edge smear of red wax slice open as mouth, wax smile melt flat, straight.

"Brazil-made FA 03 assault rifle?" say this agent, shout, maybe not could hear, shout, "Venerate ancestor, much respected dying soon rotting corpse," shout, "where sell here Slovak SA Vz.58 assault rifle?"

Parrot face of dying skin fill with blood glow, red wax of mouth bunch until volcano pucker, tight until skin of pucker mouth pinched white of no blood. Cloud eyes flash electric bolts. Volcano blow open, old parrot voice say, loud shout, saliva erupt to fly, "You'll find our sporting goods on aisle sixteen, young man."

Could be, zing-wring, hands of this operative pounce in rapid Bird Wing Gentle Embrace to twist parrot neck, backbone twist-snap, to bring mercy instant soft death.

Merely this agent say, "Thank you, much esteemed madam living skeleton." Wish safe quick soon mission into next eternity.

For official record, squirrel maze of retail distribution center puzzle of competition warring objects, all improved, all package within fire colors. Area divided into walls constructed from objects, all tinted color so grab eye. All object printed: Love me. Look me. Million speaking objects, begging. Crown American consumer with power of king, to rescue choose and give home or abandon here for expire. Word label blow sharp into ear, loud into eye. Pander hand to take. Dying objects. All here, useful life winding down in clock ticks. Dying objects. Dying buyer. Dying slave woman "Doris." Desperate how sad.

Feet of this operative walk bending around corners, through canyon shadowed of objects, all boast best cheap. All most good taste. All objects fight for adopt.

Bending around new corner, eyes of operative me witness operative Tibor, agent 23, shoving wheeled silver basket of host family. Around new corner, witness operative Magda, agent 36; host mother eyeing sideways as concealing bright box of object within tunic of that agent to theft. Eye of operative Magda meeting eye contact of this agent.

Recent to commence: Operation Havoc.

Next then, feet of this operative bending around new corner, witness host brother, pig dog, resting on polish floor. Prone on floor, pig dog face cheek flat pressed on floor, whole body sprawl behind head and neck. Stand over, other new youth, American growing clear-yellow hair to hang hiding ears. Clear-yellow hair hang to hide neck, hang so curtain sides of face while youth rest shoe foot on upside of pig dog face. Clear-yellow youth balance all weight, stand only on face of host brother, clear-yellow youth say, "Hand over the cash, dick-wad_._._."

Face of pig dog, pinched under shoe, flat on top of floor, nose of host brother leak blood and liquid mucus in mix puddle around crack lips. Host brother eyes squeeze shut. Lips of pig dog sputter in puddle, blow blood and juice to say, "Okay . . . okay." Say, "Just let me up."

Clear-yellow bully reach hand to behind trouser pocket of pig dog. Slide fingers within and pull until denim fabric cry with threads breaking, until pocket flap hanging like fabric tail. Hands of clear-yellow bully, stomp shoe planted to hold pig dog face into floor, hands apprehend American paper dollars out of leather pocketbook of pig dog. Clear-yellow bully stuff paper in own trouser pocket, throw hollow pocketbook to wing, zing-pow, bounce against face, splashing blood puddle of host brother. Clear-bully look to witness this agent, eyes of bully electric-bolt blue, product fire color blue, to grab eyes of operative me. Bully appareled with black tunic lettered, "John 3:16." Blue denim trouser. Clear-yellow bully say, "What are you looking at, pygmy?" Say, "Beat it!"

Eyes of host brother open, look from floor, lips say, "I told you not to follow me_._._." Eyes zigzag cracked with blood tunnels inside white part.

Customer Reviews

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Pygmy 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 192 reviews.
D-Ives More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised with "Pygmy!" it is easily one of the funniest and most entertaining books i've ever read! The writing style is genius and fun, the satire is spot on, and the humor is hilarious! What this book does is it looks at just about every aspect of American culture and looks at it through a foreigner's eyes making everything look...well, stupid. Funny, funny, funny and pure fun! Palahniuk-you're a God!
tnt708 More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Chuck Palahniuk. I enjoyed the the hysterical satire of this book and I thought the fresh writing style was unique and fun (once I got used to it, which if you stick it out and read the first few chapters, you WILL get use to it - I promise) I especially enjoyed the flashbacks to the training that "Pygmy" underwent - brutal stuff. The reason I've only rated it 3 stars is because I did not feel it was his best writing or even close to his best writing. At times, the writing style gets a little mundane and I actually ended up putting this book down for 2 months! I just finished it the other day and I am very glad I did. Over all, I would rate it slightly above average. Still a good read if you love Chuck's writing. Don't expect it to be the same syle though. I would suggest reading a chapter or two at the bookstore to better decide if it is something you will be into.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is written in broken english, know this before buying it. The narrative, which reads like its been fed through an online translator several times, quickly becomes a chore. The writing has some humor in it but in the end is not gratifying. This seems like Chuck just sort of ailed it in and through in an ending with an attempt to retract some of his innumerable criticisms of society. Certainly not worth buying in hardcover.
Ninja_Dog More than 1 year ago
This novel has many pitfalls, meaning many opportunities for disappointment by the reader. If those pitfalls are avoided, however, you can enjoy a very fresh kind of novel that's loaded with hilarious quotes and observations. With regard to the pitfalls, you have Pygmy's dialogue to contend with and the absurdity of the plot. Pygmy's English vocabulary is insanely high, but his grammar and syntax are totally alien. Once you get used to Pygmy's speech, you can begin to enjoy his distorted way of describing American life. As for the plot... you must understand you are reading a comedy and not a political thriller. If you can continue to raise your suspension of disbelief and go with the inherent absurdity, you'll love the flow of the book. The real joy of this novel comes from Pygmy's observations of America by way of his home country's bias. His indoctrinated hatred of capitalism and American consumerism lead to page after page of hilarious descriptions as Pygmy attempts to make sense of this foreign nation he's residing in. Those features that evoke envy in many are viewed with bitter disgust- and written in a way that makes you feel both emotions while laughing most of the way through it. With my caveat about the "pitfalls" of this book, I highly recommend it as something new and fascinating. I've read all of Palahniuk's fiction, but Pygmy has a special place of it's own for me. Though maybe not my all time favorite of Palahniuk's (Invisible Monsters), it's a unique kind of romantic comedy that gets you thinking about ideology without making any real political statements.
Topper_McCarthy More than 1 year ago
I'm a die hard Palahniuk fan, but this book is rubbish. It has his typical anti-consumerism flair, but the prose ruins the book. The broken English narritive makes immersing one's self in the story difficult, if not impossible. Other greats such as Hubert Selby Jr, Anthony Burgess, Irvine Welsh and Alan Warner can pull off a colloquial narritive in a manner that draws the reader in, inviting him or her to join in the character's adventures and plights. Sadly, this novel illustrates Chuck's inability to do such a thing and not alienate the reader.
mcandre on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The style of writing is funny, but the story itself is simple.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I have been hearing a lot of chatter about Chuck Palahniuk and his writing, so I decided to find out for myself what he¿s all about. Pygmy may not be his finest work, but it certainly is different. It is the story of an undersized boy from an unnamed country, sent to this country as part of a plot against the United States. As part of the enemy plot, the young boy is adopted into an American family. What follows is a heavy handed satire of the American lifestyle as seen through the eyes of this immigrant.My main problem with this book was the dialect spoken by Pygmy. It was easier to understand than the characters in Irvine Welsh¿s Reheated Cabbage and it was funnier than characters from Jonathan Safran Foer¿s Everything is Illuminated, but is was still immensely annoying. My other big problem with the book was I went into this realizing it was a satire, but I felt I was beat about the head with a large stick labeled satire. Nonetheless, it was genuinely funny.I did not find anything very original about the storyline or the characters. Palahniuk does write with a very fluid style and can create some vivid descriptions. I found the good parts good enough that I want to try something else by the author to get a better feel for his style.Balancing everything together for this book, I really did not find Pygmy much more than average. It was not even worth three and a half stars. An enjoyable, but not overly satisfying read.
Meggo on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I have to confess that I'm not much of a Palahniuk fan - even for me, his books can get a little creepy (and that's saying something). But I liked this book. Written in the strange syntax of a non-native English speaker (a sleeper infiltrated into America with a perplexing mission), the story follows Pygmy's adventures, with periodic flashbacks to his training in an unnamed Communist country. True to his inner voice, Palahniuk never once drops character. A little tough to get into, this book is worth reading to the end.
souci on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This book is not unfunny, but I mean to damn it with faint praise. As soon as I started reading it I wondered if it would have been published before the success of "Everything is Illuminated" by Jonathan Safran Foer, which already richly covered the ground of fractured English. Then I thought of the Simpsons episode with the foreign exchange student. I looked it up on TheSimpsons.com. It was episode 111, from 1990: "...the Simpson family takes in Adil, a student from Albania, who's actually a spy stealing the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant's secrets." The very cover summary of this book could be applied to the TV show "...this cunning, double-edged satire of a xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified...For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big...that will bring this big, dumb country and its fat, dumb inhabitants to their knees." Hello Homer.I guess Palahniuk has a kind of trademark violence and vulgarity that has made him a cult figure. It shows in this book. THAT makes me think of Matthew Collings, the art critic, saying something like :...when everyone is transgressing, then it is no longer transgression." In other words, boring.This experience won't stop me from giving "Fight Club" a try, if it falls into my hands, or any book of Palahniuk's that a friend might recommend, but this book is slight, derivative and formulaic.I recommend you pass.
Repo on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I am a Palanhniuk fan, but I was deeply disappointed by this latest effort. I had a very difficult time getting beyond the strange voice of the novel. It went on for far too long and then kept going. While it wasn't difficult to read, it was difficult not to get annoyed to the point where I didn't care abut the story anymore. I understand what he was trying to say in terms of social commentary and that he chose a unique method of doing it, but I just didn't think there was much substance to it once you got past the gimmick of the broken English.
TurtleKnitta on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I fell in love with Palahniuk when I first read _Fight Club_ (before the movie came out) during high school. I found his early works unique and interesting. However, ever since _Haunted_, I'm beginning to feel he's a one-trick pony. In _Pygmy_, his one trick gets old - fast. The way in which the agent writes is understandable, but gets to be a drain on the speed of the plot. As per usual there is a lot of gore but it seems to not serve a point. I was just disappointed all around.
ungoliant on LibraryThing 11 months ago
i enjoyed the story, but it was hard to read. i don't think i got used to the style till 3/4 of the way through. regardless it was funny and entertaining, i¿d gladly read it again (if only to go over passages i had trouble understanding). Palahniuk¿s still one of my favourite authors.
ngeunit1 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
So overall, I think this is one of Palahniuk's weaker novels as a whole. But there were some things that I did like about it that made it much more than bearable to get through. First, I though the voice used in the novel, which was the "Engrish" voice of a foreign child, worked well in the context of the novel. It created funny interpretations and some funny misunderstandings throughout the novel. It was also interesting to hear the protagonist describe particular events or objects in a very objective matter, and figuring out what he was talking about created an interesting moment of reflection. This even more effective when reflected with the addition of the heavily scientific terminology that the protagonist used in the novel. The story itself was probably the major weakness of the novel. It felt a little disconnected and I never really felt it take its stride. It was by no means absent, but it never really felt full. A lot individual events in the novel were very entertaining and well written, especially towards the end. But there was decent amount of downtime between these moments, and for such a sort novel as it is, it was a bit dry. Palahniuk's description of some of the events in the novel are just downright brutal. This should not come to much of surprise, and I for one think it works well for him, but some may consider it overboard and might lose interest at this point. So, if you have found other Palahniuk novels to be a bit to gruesome, that is also present here too. Finally, the novel is really confusing to get a hold of at first, and even up until the end still kinda keeps the reader a bit off their mark. Sometimes this winds up working well for the story, but in this case it just felt like it made it a bit more convoluted then it needed to be at times. Sure, there were many moments of "aha" at the end when things started to come together, but it was a bit frustrating at times to get to those.
amyrun77 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
It took me a few chapter to get into the writing style, but after that the story was decent. The end seemed a bit rushed and I have read other reviews that complained about the predictable ending. I didn't find it at all predictable seeing as it was not what you would expect from Palahnuik.
intotheninth on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I'm still "reading" this book and I think I like it. I am listening to the audiobook, narrated by Paul Michael Garcia. I don't thing I would have been able to get into it otherwise. The broken English style of writing is hard to grasp, but I got it after a few minutes of listening. So far so good.
agirlandherbooks on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Chuck, you're getting humane in middle age! What are we fans going to do with you?!? Not his best book, but I thoroughly liked it.
edifiglia on LibraryThing 11 months ago
In terms of what I've come to expect from Palahniuk, this book was a let down. The syntax of the main character, Pygmy, while amusing at times, became old after a few chapters. The biting social commentary, which is a hallmark of Palahniuk's work, seemed to be lacking its usual gusto. The book moves along at a good pace, until the very end, when the story line unfolds rapidly and ends somewhat abruptly. Instead of leaving this reader wanting more, I was left wondering "what just happened?"
amobogio on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Highly recommended for those with strong stomachs, though with this author I assume that is most readers/fans. Laugh out loud funny and also compelling and moving, Pygmy is a sweet love story between a violent terrorist, the eponymous Pygmy, and a sweet American girl who roofies her parents to to facilitate her ninja theft of highlighters and office supplies from a high security site.
sacredheartofthescen on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I found it simply awful. I never quite got into the reading style which was just absurd and hard to actually get into. I am a great fan of Chuck Palahniuk but this book made me lose quite a bit of in his writing. The satire was too obvious and the entire book (of what I finished) was uncomfortable and sad.
Huge_Horror_Fan on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I can see why there is so much talk about Pygmy. The novel is not exactly built for everyone and given its broken English narrative, pacing is heavily compromised. To some, the comprehension of the plot itself might be in the air, giving you the urge to throw the book on the floor in disgust. You might find yourself stopping often to ponder on some sentences, wondering what the hell they mean but still oddly hypnotized by their beauty. Amidst the chaotic atmosphere that Palahniuk traditionally builds expertly in every novel, embedded are Palahniuk trademarks that followers, like me, will have smiles raised from ear to ear. As you flip that last page, it is like saying goodbye to an old friend and you can¿t help but to look forward to his next book.Far from his best in my opinion and a poor entry point choice if you are beginning to explore the author, but it is still far from bad. Whatever you label Chuck; there has to be a mandatory consensus that he is one of the most original writers in pulp fiction today. This book is no exception. His choppy, unabashed and raw writing will guide you through a garden of roses, and just as you become enthralled by the aroma and sheer beauty of the scenery; he is dragging your face in the mud until the rose thorns are piercing your eyeballs. He is that unpredictable and demanding from the reader. If you think that I am exaggerating, I dare you to try any of his fiction.It is that very charm that will have me picking every Chuck Palahniuk novel that he puts out. No exceptions.
ericnguyen09 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
"'Whoever looks at America will see: the ship is powered by stupidity, corruption, or prejudice.'"Described by the publisher as "The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park," Chuck Palahniuk's latest novel, Pygmy, is perhaps the most innovatative fiction written by the 47-year-old author of Fight Club and Choke. Reading just the first page, we can see that Palahniuk this time has not just turn the novel on its head, but indeed, the English language. In the novel, Palahniuk inverts grammar as we know it, speak in broken English, and in such a way, gives readers an entirely new perspective on American culture as something that is both disgusting yet irrestible. But that's only if you can get past the hurdle of language.If you do get past that, within its pages, Pygmy tells the story of a 13-year-old foreign exchange student who is sent to the United States from an unknown country to implement Operation Havoc. Dubbed as "Pygmy" by his host family, we follow his explotations to impregnant his host sister, steal his father's false eye to steal secret nuclear information, and find his way to the nation's capital. Along the way he rapes the school's bully, destroy an evil vibrator, and attends many funerals. Balancing his book's outrageous situations, Palahniuk also uses flashbacks to Pygmy's early years as he is trained to be the killer that he is supposed to be, which is arguably where the story lies.In the end, Palahniuk gives his reader a touching story that is an improvement from last year's disappointing Snuff. While readers will long for something new, fresh, something like Fight Club, Pygmy is nevertheless a fun meditation on American culture from a writer who has left his mark on the literary scene as the master of transgression.
wilsonknut on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Pygmy is advertised as "The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park." If I had to put definitive numbers to that statement, I would say the book is 95 percent South Park. This satire is chocked full of good 'ole 13-year-old-American-male humor, which is what will either make the reader love it or hate it. But before you can do either, you'll have to figure out how to read the damn thing. The book is narrated in the first person dispatches of a teenage terrorist from a unnamed Asian country who is in the U.S. as part of a student exchange program. He's here with several other undercover agents to unleash a massive attack on civilians. He speaks in a stereotypical broken English with lots of cliche, communist-totalitarian-like phrases. If you can get used to Pygmy's phrasing, it almost becomes poetic later in the book. Until then it's just annoying. Pygmy, like all of Palahniuk's novels, makes some very general insights into how American society is degenerate, hypocritical, and weak-minded. Nothing new. It also includes tons of cartoonish violence and sex, including a teenage boy brutally raping another teenage boy in the bathroom at Walmart and a school shooting. Cartoonish is the key word. Otherwise it would be unreadable. Think Borat (which I cut off halfway through the movie). Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club set him up to be a promising literary star for the new century. In my opinion, he hasn't lived up to that literary potential at all, but Palahniuk has a devoted following that would disagree with me. It seems that every book since Fight Club has tried to top the last in shock value and inventiveness, which suggests he's writing for pure entertainment value. Pulp is not bad for pulp's sake, but it's not art. I still have hope, the audacity. I have one more Palahniuk book on the shelf to read. It's like tonguing a sore tooth. It hurts, but I keep doing it.
fugitive on LibraryThing 11 months ago
The use of language in Pygmy will be its greatest strength (it was for me) and its greatest weakness and as mentioned by other reviewers. As a litmus test, if you have ever read Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker then Palahniuk's book comes closest in the literary use of a created English language dialect. If you liked Walker, you'll like Pygmy. And vice versa.The other work I find similar would be Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. That book, however, is written primarily in standard English, but when the characters speak they use a hard to follow dialect. The use of the dialect by Burgess is secondary. In Riddley Walker the use of a created dialect is central and unremitting. Though Pygmy is somewhere in-between, I would place it much closer to Riddley Walker than a Clockwork Orange.I'd never read Palahniuk before this work, and had only seen the movie version of Fight Club. I found Pygmy humorous, stimulating, grotesque, and fascinating (and, again, the linguistic tricks were a plus for me). Palahniuk is now on my "to read" radar, though I hope I do not find him a one trick pony. We'll see.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Reason for Reading: I've read quite a few reviews of Palahniuk's books and was intrigued enough to want to give him a try. I had the impression he might be like Christopher Moore (whom I love) but with a lot more edge. Comments: I did not finish this book. I made it to page 91 out of 241 and just could not keep going anymore. Therefore, this is not a review, per se, but the reasons why I couldn't finish the book. First, the narrative is written completely in clipped, broken English which is full of (older era Chinese-like) Communist phrasing. This is very hard to read. At first, I thought it was a joke, but no, the whole book is written this way. It tired real fast for me. Second, the violence is brutal. There is a rape scene is the boys' bathroom which illustrates the level of violence. Plus the violence is set within a supposedly humourous satire which brings us to my third and final point. I did not find it funny, in the least. I did not laugh, giggle or even chuckle, not even once. I must say this book was absolutely not my cup of tea. I do not see myself reading the author again.
emu1863 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
An immense disappointment. The work gets off to a strong start, and Palahniuk's characterization is entertaining and amusing, as always. However, the plot feels limited, as it doesn't grow and swell in the last half of the book in the same fashion as its start.Yes, Palahniuk's voice shines through, but his scope just didn't take off this time around.