CHUCK PALAHNIUK PYGMY BOOK READING: FIGHT CLUB AUTHOR SPEECH & SIGNING IN CANADA.
Most authors stay below the radar (ie, are ignored by the world) – but Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Choke) has a veritable cult following. Maybe it’s because he personally answers fan mail and offers writing critiques via his Writer’s Workshop. Or perhaps it’s because his legendary book signings unfold like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with games involving blow-up dolls and people fainting when he reads his gruesome story Guts.
I was delighted to attend Chuck’s reading at Chapters Burnaby (right by Vancouver) to promote his new dark, satirical novel Pygmy. The young crowd overflowed into the surrounding shelves but was remarkably well-behaved.
Chuck opened by reciting Lewis Carroll’s Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky – a “nonsense” poem that we’re somehow able to comprehend. Pygmy is written in a similar fashion: the narrator’s disjointed English excludes certain words (“to”, “and”, “tomorrow”); he’ll say “the door unhealed” rather than “opened”. To illustrate the socialist-tinged language he created, Chuck read three bedtime stories. Goldilocks becomes: “Quick, next now did savage jaws of Father Bear animal sink jagged teeths into screaming windpipe of imperialist criminal. Entire domicile filled dying screams, spouting blood of decadent state enemy.”
It seems Chuck and I are both fond of contests and blow-up animals. Between the fairy tales, Chuck tossed out plastic penguins that we raced to inflate (“until they’re smooth like Lindsay Lohan”) to win Choke DVDs. Methinks I found another kitchen god for my Death Cookbook show on YouTube!
Some highlights from the Q&A:
† If Chuck had to pick someone to play Pygmy in a movie, he’d choose Dakota Fanning.
† He spoke about the narrative arc found in much modern literature (Great Gatsby, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Fight Club): the good, obedient character destroys himself; the rebel is killed by society; the observer assimilates this knowledge into a synthesis and walks away to tell the story.
Photography wasn’t allowed at this particular signing, but Chuck make an exception for yours truly. He said I looked lovely, and noted that our outfits matched. (You heard it here first: Chuck Palahniuk hearts Lolita fashion.)
While in the bookstore, I flipped through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! The title and illustrations (kung fu Elizabeth Bennett) say it all. As you may have seen on my Twitter, I was recently approached to be in a zombie film… I’ll keep you posted!
Finally, Basil Farrow CONTEST WINNERS (apologies for the delay). Megan won the Lucky Cat bento, Carly nabbed the white lucky cat, Mari has the black one, and The Sly Fox and Emilia receive gold cats. Brandi takes home the Astroboy money bank. Congrats, eveyone!
Song of the Day #120: The Cranberries – Zombie