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Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times.

Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him.

When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.

His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, renowned author of classics like Fight Club, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

293 pages, Paperback

First published May 22, 2001

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About the author

Chuck Palahniuk

253 books127k followers
Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’s first New York Times bestseller. Chuck’s work has always been infused with personal experience, and his next novel, Lullaby, was no exception. Chuck credits writing Lullaby with helping him cope with the tragic death of his father. Diary and the non-fiction guide to Portland, Fugitives and Refugees, were released in 2003. While on the road in support of Diary, Chuck began reading a short story entitled 'Guts,' which would eventually become part of the novel Haunted.

In the years that followed, he continued to write, publishing the bestselling Rant, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell-All, a 'remix' of Invisible Monsters, Damned, and most recently, Doomed.

Chuck also enjoys giving back to his fans, and teaching the art of storytelling has been an important part of that. In 2004, Chuck began submitting essays to ChuckPalahniuk.net on the craft of writing. These were 'How To' pieces, straight out of Chuck's personal bag of tricks, based on the tenants of minimalism he learned from Tom Spanbauer. Every month, a “Homework Assignment” would accompany the lesson, so Workshop members could apply what they had learned. (all 36 of these essays can currently be found on The Cult's sister-site, LitReactor.com).

Then, in 2009, Chuck increased his involvement by committing to read and review a selection of fan-written stories each month. The best stories are currently set to be published in Burnt Tongues, a forthcoming anthology, with an introduction written by Chuck himself.

His next novel, Beautiful You, is due out in October 2014.

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5 stars
48,024 (23%)
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,883 reviews
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
June 25, 2008
"If you're going to read this, don't bother.
After a couple pages, you won't want to be here. So forget it. Go away. Get out while you're still in one piece.
Save yourself.
What happens here is first going to piss you off. After that it just gets worse and worse."

I always feel a little stupid reviewing a Chuck Palahniuk book. It always seems like a futile effort. Especially with Choke, which opens with the above quote. How can you review a book like that? If you like it, you're an idiot who's too easily amused, and if you hate it, Chuck Palahniuk is just laughing at you, going, "Dude, I told you." You can't win.
Chuck Palahniuk seems like the type of author who thrives on negative responses. The man's probably wallpapered his bathroom with all the reviews trashing his books, and every morning he looks at them and cackles maniacally while he takes a shit. He doesn't write books for entertainment, or to make you think, or to (god forbid!) preach a moral or a message. Chuck Palahniuk is that kid on the playground who dug up bugs and shoved them in girls' faces just to see them run away screaming. His goal is to offend people, shock them, and just plain gross them out. Not much else.
Choke is a little more disgusting than Fight Club, and much, much less disgusting than Haunted. That's pretty much all I can say.

So why am I giving this book four stars?
Good question. I'm kind of wondering that myself.

I liked this book because I was supposed to hate it.
39 reviews24 followers
November 18, 2007
"There is no human soul, and I am absolutely for sure seriously not going to fucking cry."

reading a chuck palahniuk novel is like one of those long booze-soaked all-night discussions with someone you've just met. by the end of it you're convinced that you've solved all the world's problems, and how to proceed seems so clear. once you wake up in the morning you remember how good it was, but details are hazy and the big plans are gone.

his books all share similar themes, but i find this to be at the top of the list. i think it's tied with haunted as his best work, and i think it's actually a more accomplished book than fight club. it's much richer.

for such a short read, this book manages to pick apart:

the nature of aging and death
the perils of being a med student
the dangers of too much knowledge
insanity and senility
sex and love or lack thereof
gender issues
language and semiotics
motherhood (and fatherlessness)
the need to have and to be a savior
the appeal and drawbacks of sarcasm and anarchy
tourism/photos/fetishes and other ways we cling to the past
religion/pornography/drugs and other ways we escape the present
idealism/ignorance/romanticism and other ways we avoid the future

it's all handled and balanced very delicately and well researched, which is a big deal for me. he's not an author who's stingy with his ideas.

he uses lots of gimmicks and touchstones in his books to hold together the narrative and make the reader feel comfortable even in his tangents, which is something i like in my novels.

some people will complain that all his books share some of the same themes, and they do.

this one has the same sort of alternating hopelessness and hopefulness that fight club has, and similar fucked up antihero characters. i always read his books when i need to be reminded how comparatively normal and pleasant my life really is.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,562 reviews862 followers
October 25, 2021
2018 review: Why have I now read this book 3 times? Why? I think because the idea of a Palahniuk book about a sex-addict who works in a Pilgrim's re-enactment park, trying to pay his dying mother's hospital bills by also purposefully choking in restaurants to get 'savior' mentors and sponsors, is a really compelling premise, that each time read this, I expect more,, maybe feel that I missed something last time I read it?

This is a typically Chuck episodic, out of sync, dark humorous journey. So what's wrong with the book? It's the repeated realisation each read, that no matter how many times I visit this reality, I don't care about the characters or what happens to them, and just read this for the dark humour. A weak 6 out of 12 from me.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,154 reviews1,693 followers
October 3, 2022

L’omonimo film è del 2008 diretto da Clark Gregg.

Il mio primo incontro con la letteratura di Palahniuk, autore che mi pare appartenere al circolo che ha come massima la legge di Murphy: se qualcosa può andare storto, lo farà.
Il nostro Chuck aggiunge – o, aggiungerebbe – e poi andrà anche peggio.
Perché a quanto si dice chi dimentica il passato è condannato a riviverlo.

Come estetica adotta quella che io definirei del vomito, racchiudendo con questo termine le varie secrezioni umane, gli odori più disgustosi, rifiuti spazzatura e compagnia bella.
E come registro un realismo esasperato e sopra le righe che credo si potrebbe definire grottesco, un aspetto del comico col quale non sono sicuro di trovarmi a mio agio.

Il protagonista da adulto è il sempre bravo Sam Rockwell.

La mamma del ragazzino – che si capisce presto essere lo stesso Steve, e cioè l’io narrante, ma quando era marmocchio – è italiana emigrata negli States per studiare all’università. Credevo si trattasse di medicina, ma poi viene fuori che è laureata in lettere (medicina è quella che invece studia Steve per un anno o due ). Come e perché abbia manifestato presto segni lampanti di delirio schizofrenico, di “bordello del subconscio” non è dato sapere. Certo è che il ragazzino si ritrova una mamma ben mattacchiona, incasinata e incasinatrice: dentro e fuori di prigione, iper-femminista e rivoluzionaria piena di velleità. Ma, soprattutto, schizzata.
Come altrettanto ignoto resta l’altro genitore, il padre. Potrebbe addirittura trattarsi di un caso di inseminazione simil miracolo… Infatti, Steve parla spesso di Gesù, lo prende a esempio e modello (da non seguire, o da farlo in base a interpretazioni alquanto personali).

Ida Mancini, la mamma, è interpretata dalla geniale Anjelica Huston.

La genitrice ha soli 62 anni, ma giace nel letto di una clinica privata: tra possibile Alzheimer, vuoti di memoria, deliri, e stato fisico simile allo scheletro, non sembra destinata a rialzarsi. Steve la va a trovare, ma non sembra volerla curare e far guarire. Forse la sua vita sarebbe migliore e più leggera se lei togliesse il disturbo.
In effetti il buon figliolo è costretto a raggranellare ogni mese almeno tremila dollari per pagare il luogo di degenza di Ida, sua madre.
È per questo che – oltre al lavoro da comparsa in un museo vivente della storia americana, dove gli impiegati, a paga da sopravvivenza (sei dollari l’ora) vestono costumi del 1734 e mettono in scena la vita della colonia americana di quell’epoca – Steve ha escogitato un sistema più unico che raro indicato dal titolo: andare in un ristorante, mangiare fingendo abilmente di soffocare, aspettare che qualcuno dei clienti o camerieri o gestori o cuochi si commuova e intervenga praticandogli la manovra di Heimlich, in pratica lo salvi. Da qui nasce automatico un legame di affetto tra salvatore e salvato, con il primo destinato a diventare protettore e benefattore del secondo. Steve ne accumula parecchi di salvatori, spuntano fuori nei momenti più inaspettati. E così intasca assegni e contanti che vanno a pagare la clinica di sua mamma.

Per completare il quadro occorre notare che Steve è sesso-dipendente (con corredo di deviazione sessuale) e i suoi frequenti incontri simil-erotici con numerose rappresentanti del sesso femminile sembrano veri, più che immaginati.

Sul bus in abito da lavoro (stile 1734).

E fin qui si potrebbe forse credere che Choke – Soffocare non mi sia piaciuto, che io sia rimasto deluso. Invece così non è stato.
Palahniuk racconta la grande sterminata America dei reietti, dei rifiuti umani, degli emarginati, dei non integrati, di quelli respinti ed espulsi dal sogno americano, dalla corsa all’accumulo, dalla gara esistenziale chiamata ambizione.

Il punto, secondo me, è che l’America è così. Cominci con una sega e ti ritrovi a fare le orge. Ti fumi una canna e finisci a farti le pere. La nostra è la cultura del “più”: più grande, più bello, più forte, più veloce. La parola d’ordine è: progresso. In America se non hai una dipendenza sempre nuova e migliore di quella di prima sei un fallito.

Si tratta di gente che prima di tutto ha bisogno d’amore, ne ha sempre ricevuto poco, è in astinenza da amore.
E pur se con penna (o tastiera) improntata a una certa qual brutalità e asprezza, Chuck li ama tutti.
E io con lui: io lettore sento che il mio amore riesce ad avvolgerli. Nonostante il lezzo, il marcio, la scarsa igiene personale, le secrezioni. Vere, finte o immaginate.
In fondo l’arte è nata disegnando le ombre sulle pareti di una grotta.

Appoggiati alla gogna, elemento portante del luogo di lavoro.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
237 reviews208 followers
November 28, 2021
Victor Mancini, a medical-school dropout, needing to pay elder care for his mother has devised an ingenious scam: he pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send him cash to support him. When he’s not pulling this scam, Victor cruises sexual addiction recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mum and spends his days working at a colonial theme park.

I’m at a loss on how to rate this book. I’ve given it 3 stars simply because I couldn’t decide whether I loved or hated it. Graphic sex in books doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but it was the unrelenting scenario after scenario that I found completely overdone and solely there for shock value. I was rolling my eyes. This lowered the rating for me.

Choke is an interesting book from a psychological perspective. The protagonist is a sex addict and intentionally chokes on objects in order for others to save him and therefore feel loved (and to make a financial profit). The novel explores his childhood and attempts to uncover the reasons why he is the way he is as an adult. The storyline is actually quite enjoyable and Victor is not a totally bad character. I really enjoyed the sections following Victor and his friend Denny at work in a 1700s colonial theme park.

Overall I did enjoy this and I would recommend this book to readers who like dark humor and who aren’t easily offended.
January 26, 2018
«Το μαρτύριο του Εγώ»

Αυτοπαθές, Παράδοξο, Αυτούσιο, Ηδονικά Σοκαριστικό ....δεν είναι οι κατάλληλες λέξεις, αλλά είναι οι πρώτες που μου έρχονται στο μυαλό...!

Ο «Πνιγμός» είναι μια αποκήρυξη της ένδοξης αποτυχίας του σύγχρονου ανθρώπου.

Είναι η τάση της εποχής, της κάθε εποχής που λειτουργεί μηχανικά, αποδυναμωμένα, παραδομένη στην αγωνία και τα ελαττώματα του υπερεκτιμημένου πολιτισμού.
Είναι η προσπάθεια απεγκλωβισμού απο την πνιγηρή πραγματικότητα, την οργανωμένη κοινωνική καταδίκη των ανθρώπων, τα αόρατα εσωτερικά τέρατα της ματαιοδοξίας και της υποδειγματικής κοινοτοπίας που βασανίζουν τον σύγχρονο κόσμο.

Το βιβλίο πραγματεύεται την αναζήτηση της ευτυχίας μέσα απο την σοκαριστική παραγματικότητα και ασχολείται με τον εθισμό σε όλα τα εγκλήματα ηδονής.

Σε ό,τι απαγορεύεται και εξιτάρει τις αισθήσεις, αυτομάτως κατ��γγέλει το γενικό σχήμα πραγμάτων, φανερώνοντας ένα κρυμμένο μήνυμα θανατηφόρα σοβαρό:
Τη δημιουργία χάους σε έναν κόσμο που πάσχει απο πλεόνασμα οργάνωσης και τη θέληση να απλοποιήσουμε τον εα��τό μας, όχι τη ζωή μας.
Αυτό μπορεί να επιτευχθεί αναζητώντας το νόημα μέσα απο καλές ή κακές ενέργειες που προσφέρουν αυτοπεποίθηση, όταν αρνείσαι να προσκυνήσεις έναν κόσμο που αποφεύγει ακόμη και τη συζήτηση αυτών των θεμάτων.

Αυτό το «φρικτό» βιβλίο, δεν ειναι η κατάλληλη λέξη, αλλά είναι η πρώτη που μου έρχεται στο μυαλό,
είναι εξαιρετικά τολμηρό, άκομψο, χονδροειδές, έντονα γραφικό και παράλογα δημιουργικό,φυλακισμένο σε μια πολυπλοκότητα περίεργη, παράλογη και αριστουργηματική.

Αριστοτεχνικά γραμμένο σε πρώτο πρόσωπο και παροντικό χρόνο καθιστά τον συγγραφέα «σπουδαίο», δεν είναι η κατάλληλη λέξη, αλλά είναι η πρώτη που μου έρχεται στο μυαλό.

Ο συγγραφέας χειρίζεται άψογα το στυλ μιας ελεύθερης, αναζωογονητικής γραφής αυθορμητισμού και αισθήσεων που στέκεται στο μεταίχμιο της τυπικής λογοτεχνίας.

Απέκτησε την αγάπη και την εμπιστοσύνη μου διότι με όλη την ευθύνη και την υπαιτιότητα του γραπτού του λόγου δεν διστάζει να σοκάρει γοητευτικά μέσα απο θάλασσες απελπισίας και ολοκληρωτικής διάβρωσης.
Ο Πόλανικ δεν ορρωδεί προ ουδενός

Πετάει στα μούτρα του αναγνώστη όλη την ανθρώπινη εξαρτημένη παραφροσύνη. Απελευθερώνει δαίμονες που σε πνίγουν μέσα στον καταναγκαστικό εθισμό.
Γεμίζει σελίδες περιγραφής με σεξουαλικές πράξεις χαρακτήρων των οποίων η υγεία είναι συνώνυμη της εξαπάτησης που τους προσφέρει η αναζήτηση μιας κανονικής ζωής.

Σε λερώνει χωρίς συστολές με σπέρμα, αίμα και σωματικά υγρά ατόμων κάθε ηλικίας και ψυχικής βίας.

Σε σπρώχνει πάνω στα περιττώματα, τις λάσπες και τις βρομιές ή τα ιερά νάματα της ανθρώπινης φύσης.

Ο πρωταγωνιστής της ιστορία μας γεννιέται ιερά μέσα στην αμαρτία, απο μια παρθένα πόρνη έχοντας πάρει γενετικό υλικό απο την κλεμμένη ακροβυστία του Χριστού ή και όχι.
Ποτέ δεν ξεκαθαρίζεται το γεγονός αυτό, απλώς ο Βίκτωρ-Χριστός- απατεώνας-σεξουαλικά εθισμένος και ηθικά αποτυχημενος, ανεβαίνει πάνω απο την αφθονία της αμαρτίας για να βοηθήσει όσους χρειάζονται σωτηρία.
Μια επιχείρηση απάτης τυχαίου πνιγμού και σωτήριας διάσωσης γίνεται φαινόμενο εκμετάλλευσης αλλά και κραυγή ύπαρξης ενός ανθρώπου που ζητάει να αγαπηθεί και να ειναι απαραίτητος ως θύμα ή ως ήρωας στη ζωή κάποιου.
Η σχέση με τη μητέρα του και ο εγκλεισμός της σε ψυχιατρικό ίδρυμα, οι φίλοι, οι γυναίκες , οι εξαπατημένοι σωτήρες και οι δαίμονες της αρρωστημένης ανατροφής του καταδικάζουν τον αναγνώστη σε κυριολεκτική ρεαλιστική αντίληψη
και σε οραματισμούς που χαρακτηρίζονται φυσιολογικοί... μα πάντα επισκέπτονται περιστασιακά την παραφροσύνη της ηδονής και του απολαυστικού εθισμού.


Καλή ανάγνωση.
Πολλούς ασπασμούς.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
July 16, 2021
Choke, Chuck Palahniuk

Choke follows Victor Mancini and his friend Denny through a few months of their lives with frequent flashbacks to the days when Victor was a child.

He had grown up moving from one foster home to another, as his mother was found to be unfit to raise him.

Several times throughout his childhood, his mother would kidnap him from his various foster parents, though every time they would eventually be caught, and he would again be remanded over to the governmental child welfare agency.

In the present-day setting of the book, Victor is now a man in his mid-twenties who left medical school in order to find work to support his feeble mother who is now in a nursing home.

He cannot afford the care that his mother is receiving so he resorts to being a con man.

He goes to various restaurants and purposely causes himself to choke midway through his meal, luring a "good Samaritan" into saving his life.

He keeps a detailed list of everyone who saves him and sends them frequent letters about fictional bills he is unable to pay. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و یکم ماه ژانویه سال 2019میلادی

عنوان: خفگی؛ نویسنده: چاک پالانیک؛ مترجم: رضا اسکندری‌آذر؛ ویراستار: ساقی قاجار؛ تهران: نشر هیرمند‏‫، 1397؛ در 340ص؛ شابک9789644084935؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

چاک پالانیک، درباره ی رمان خفگی میگویند: (دفعه ی بعدی که کسی داشت خفه میشد و خواستید نجاتش بدهید، اول خوب نگاهش کنید.)؛

نقل از متن: (اگر میخواهید این داستان را بخوانید، خودتان را به زحمت نیندازید؛ پس از خواندن چند صفحه، دیگر دلتان نمیخواهد اینجا باشید؛ پس فراموشش کنید؛ بگذارید بروید؛ بروید و تا بلایی سرتان نیامده، خودتان را نجات بدهید؛ احتمالاً تلویزیون برنامه ی جالبتری دارد، یا از آنجا که به اندازه ی کافی وقت دارید، شاید بتوانید کلاس شبانه بردارید، و دکتری چیزی بشوید؛ چیزی از خودتان بسازید؛ خودتان را به شام مهمان کنید؛ موهایتان را رنگ کنید؛ جوانیتان دیگر قرار نیست برگردد؛ چیزی که اینجا اتفاق میافتد، اولش حسابی اعصابتان را به هم میریزد و بعد، همینطور بدتر و بدتر میشود؛ چیزی که اینجا میخوانید، داستانی احمقانه درباره ی یک پسربچه ی گیج است؛ یک داستان مسخره ی واقعی درباره ی کسی که اصلاً دلتان نمیخواهد ببینیدش؛ پسرک خل‌ و چلی را تصور کنید، که قدش تا کمرتان می‌رسد، و یک مشت موی بلوند روی سرش دارد، که یک‌وری شانه شده؛ این توله‌ ی کوچولوی نچسب را، با دندان‌های شیری یکی‌ در میان، و یک دندان بلوغ کج‌ و معوج در نظر بگیرید، که دارد توی عکس‌های قدیمی لبخند می‌زند؛ او را با آن ژاکت مسخره‌ ی راه‌ راه آبی و زرد تصور کنید؛ همان هدیه‌ ی تولدش که اتفاقاً سوگلی لباس‌هایش هم هست؛ در سن و سالی مجسمش کنید، که ناخن‌ها و سرانگشت‌های صابمرده‌ اش را می‌جود؛ کفش‌های مورد علاقه‌ اش مارک «کدْز» و غذای محبوبش «کورن‌ داگ» زهرماری؛ یکی از آن عقب‌ افتاده‌ ها را مجسم کنید، که بعد از شام، مادرش او را سوار یک اتوبوس مدرسه‌ ی دزدی کرده، و بدون اینکه کمربند ایمنی‌ اش را ببندد، می‌گازد؛ یک ماشین پلیس جلوی مُتل محل اقامت‌شان پارک کرده، و برای همین هم مادر با سرعت یکصدوده کیلومتر بر ساعت ویژژژ از کنارش می‌گذرد)» پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25/04/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,284 followers
January 21, 2012
As with every Chuck Palahniuk book I've read so far I really enjoyed Choke.

This book had a lot going on for one that was a mere 159 pages (on the Nook). I just want to say that this book was amazing. If you're one of Chuck's fans I am guessing you will love this, since it's got his usual satire, style, humor, and repetition. Also, great writing of course. There are some great messages in Chuck's books, some are less obvious, some are hidden completely, some are in your face, and some are crammed down your throat. This book makes you take a look at your life and in an odd way I felt inspired. What I always take from Chuck's work is the feeling of "get off your butt and do something!"

Those who pay attention to my reviews know that I have a pretty short attention span, and tend to enjoy the faster paced books. This doesn't mean they have to be short, just fast paced. Well this book is both, but it still made me feel like I was reading something with substance and meaning.

We start off meeting our main character, Victor. Victor is a guy that is constantly changing to try to be what everyone else wants him to be. He lets the world define him, while he takes pressure off everyone he meets by taking the blame for everything that bothers him. The word doormat isn't the right term, but it's the first thing that comes to mind.

The story jumps back and forth between current day and the flashbacks he has from childhood. As an adult he is supplementing his income by choking on food at fancy restaurants to have his saviors feel a bond with him in life that causes them to send him money and help him with his imaginary bills he can't pay. He does this to help with the costs of his mothers stay at a hospital, and he is searching for answers from his mother about his identity.

At the same time he is also sleeping with lots of girls which I would normally find sickening had it not be for the fact that they use him just as much or more than he uses them. He meets Dr. Marsall who he has tried to sleep with, but can't.

I really enjoyed Victor's relationship with Denny. Denny is possibly more messed up than Victor, but he is such an amazing friend. He always takes the time to ask about Victor's recovery and remind him about seeing his mother.

The ending was a complete shocker, and I loved it! Finally, this book has some really great humor. The part with Victor and Gwen really had me laughing out loud. There are lots of "wow" moments as well as some "wtf" moments.

Choke also made me want to inspect everyone in my life and try to find out what their addiction is. Some are obvious, some are hidden very well. I know what mine is. It's not nearly as interesting as Victor's, but this book made me think that everyone has their own little addiction that helps them cope. This is a book you can really lose yourself in. Better yet you could also find yourself in it too.

Definitely recommended, and a new personal favorite by Chuck Palahniuk.

Profile Image for Max Ostrovsky.
564 reviews56 followers
September 23, 2007
I'm getting tired of Chuck Palahniuk.
This the fifth book I've read by him and I wasn't the least bit thrilled. I hate it when authors get formulaic. And I hate it even more when it's from an author that I really really like. I can't read Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, and others because of this. And loved their stories! It's just that I figured them out. I knew what to expect. And what's even worse than that, is that I knew who the characters would be. I knew their mannerisms, their quirks, their motivations.
Because these authors never change them.
I don't want to say anything negative about the quality of their writing or the quality of the story. They're all great; they wouldn't be best sellers otherwise. I'm just bored with the same thing over and over again.
Choke gave me nothing new from Palahniuk. I opened the book and I instantly knew who I was dealing with. I understood the ancillary characters.
First of all, since reading Edgar Allen Poe in high school, I now know to never trust a first person narrative. It's just a too too skewed perception. Authors use it for misdirection. And Palahniuk is no stranger to misdirection. His readers expect a twist, so he hints at an obvious one. Well, his readers now know not to fall for the obvious one so we look for clues for the real twist. And that's when people stop taking Palahniuk seriously.
Just look what happened to Shyamalan when he wanted to tell a good story, just without a twist. People didn't want that.
He's a good writer and story teller, but people now want only one thing from him: a Fight Club-esque twist. Isn't this the type of thing that his characters actually fight against? To turn the mores and expectations of society on their ears? And here he is, pandering to that.
Or maybe that's the only thing he can do, and that is somehow even more disappointing.
Then, each of his characters must have a "thing." A quirk, something unusual that they do, that actually has nothing to do with the story. It's to make these characters seem more unique, but in reality, it just makes them seem Palahnuik-esque. And that's not a real person; it's a caricature.

I remember knowing someone who once told me about a conversation she was having with a friend. The entire time they were having this conversation they were taking out every screw they could see in the girl's restroom they were in. Why were they doing this? Who knows. I thought it was brilliantly strange and unique and "Palahnuik-esque" for them to do that. It's great when it happens every once in a while...but when every Palahniuk character does this, all the time...it just seems silly.
And redundant.
I like Palahnuik's writing and story telling style. When I first saw Fight Club, it blew me away. I knew I would love the book. And I did. And what surprised me was how much more and differently, I liked the book. While the twist is the same and a lot of the same things happen, the book, it turns out, was more intense. And funny.
Next came Invisible Monsters. Even though I was expecting a twist, I loved it. Each character had weird quirks that, at the time, made them very interesting. Plus, this was the only book I've ever read to ever make my stomach queasy. Believe me, I'm jaded and there's nothing new under the sun for me. The most disgusting and revolving horror movie will never make me flinch, but Palahniuk did it.
When I read Diary: A Novel, I was interested. It was a wholly unique and exciting idea. One, that I would never expect to have interested me. The book is a Diary of a character reading another diary. Exciting, right?
And then came Lullaby. Talk about putting me to sleep. Nothing was new under that sun. Every quirk, every "unexpected" twist was dry to me. It was an interesting story, but I was no longer interested.
And that's how I feel about Choke. It's an interesting and well written story...just one that I'm no longer interested in.
Profile Image for Pietrino.
160 reviews208 followers
April 13, 2021
Ogni tanto torno dai vecchi libri di Palahniuk per farmi prendere a pugni lo stomaco. I vecchi, perché su quelli nuovi non ci siamo. Per cui mi siedo, apro il libro e mi preparo ad esser preso a calci. Ogni volta che ne rileggo uno capisco quanto ami questo scrittore.

Chuck ti racconta cose che gia sai, ma a cui non avevi mai pensato. I suoi eroi, di eroico non hanno niente. La realtà ti viene scaraventata addosso e quando sei ormai nel bel mezzo della lettura lui continua a spingere sull’acceleratore. Tanto che tornare indietro o fermarsi diventa impossibile.

I suoi libri sono pieni di citazioni che vorresti dire ai tuoi figli per aprire loro gli occhi su come funziona il mondo, ma che allo stesso tempo gli farebbero cambiare idea per sempre su di te.

In questo libro il tema è la dipendenza dal sesso. Victor Mancini fa parte di uno di quei gruppi stile alcolisti anonimi in cui tutti cercano di disintossicarsi. «Ciao sono Victor, e sono un sex addict»

«Ciao Victor»

Una madre scellerata che lo rapisce dall’ennesima famiglia adottiva e l’adolescenza in assenza di un padre, fanno sì che Victor diventi quello che è. Tra una scopata e il suo lavoro nel 1700. L’autore ci racconta tutto, senza nessun tipo di filtro. Tra le sue visite in ospedale alla madre che sta morendo e la sua ennesima sveltina ovunque capiti, Victor si cerca simbolicamente un padre adottivo tramite un teatrino che dà il titolo al libro. Irriverente, grottesco e blasfemo, questa è la scrittura che piace a me.

Una volta mentre scorrevo le recensioni di Survivor ne trovai una di un utente inglese che criticava l’autore, in quanto secondo lui alla fine Palahniuk scrive sempre lo stesso libro. E io, in tutta onestà, sono d’accordo con lui.

Ma perché dovrebbe essere una cosa negativa?

Prendete le parole e i pensieri di Victor, e potete tranquillamente scambiarle con quelle di Tyler Durden, di Tender Branson, di Rant, e persino di Shannon McFarland. E’ vero, le storie hanno una struttura molto simile, si parte in medias res e il protagonista ci racconta in prima persona la sua storia assurda, piena di critica sociale e senza nessun tipo di filtro. Ma finché ogni storia è pazzesca e mi tiene incollata alle pagine, io continuerò a leggere.
E’ come se facessero una nuova stagione di Breaking Bad, se fosse di qualità, non ve la guardereste? Io penso proprio di sì.
Un gran peccato per gli ultimi lavori, dove il grottesco è troppo gratuito e lo stile non è più quello dei primi libri.

Chi è familiare alle mie recensioni sa che leggo per vedere altre sfumature della realtà, e con i suoi libri la cosa funziona. E’ per questo che torno spesso qui.

Mi siedo, apro le pagine e inizio a leggere. Mi preparo al gancio allo stomaco che anche se conosco la storia arriverà quando meno me l’aspetto. Lo faccio perché è quello che voglio, è quello di cui ho bisogno.

E sistematicamente, finisco per non rimanerne mai deluso.

Peace Off
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,385 reviews2,256 followers
July 4, 2022

A masterpiece? Er....not! But then when compared to his unequivocally abysmal train wreck of a novel Lullaby, then I suppose, in a way, yes. Only three stars in the end, but Choke is so much better than Lullaby. Unlike Fight Club - which just isn't the same if you end up reading the book after watching the movie - it doesn't matter so much with the 2008 Sam Rockwell movie of Choke, as there isn't really any major twists or surprises that ruin it. I actually liked the movie better, but Choke the novel was still a decent read, and probably made all the better - for the fun of it at least - because of another miserable lockdown. Outrageous, horrific, funny, grotesque and, unlike the all over the place mess that was Lullaby, there was more of a mature and composed feel to Palahniuk's writing here, despite the fact he still comes across at times as someone with a childish verve. Victor Mancini - the cynical, sushi choking con man, sex-addicted, colonial theme park Irish servant - I thought was a well crafted character when it comes to the adolescent male state of mind. Victor seems roused by idealism at the most unlikely of times, like having torrid sex in an airplane bathroom just to fight off the boredom of travelling for example. While Victor goes about his business of choking, hoping to find a patron whose heart will swell so much with pleasure at having done such a good deed, they offer him money, and the hanging out with buddy Denny, who is on a par, mentally anyway, with Victor, it was the parts about Victor's mother - who appears in flashbacks as a young parent wreaking trouble in her son's life, and then later as a confused old woman in a nursing home - where I found the novel was at it's strongest. It gives some indication as to why Victor turned out the way he did, and I couldn't help but feel somehow sympathetic towards him, with his crazed mixed emotions and self-loathing. Dare I say parts towards the end were even somehow touching, in a novel that is generally anything but.
Not as clever or as good as Fight Club, but I was engaged enough to give it three stars.
Profile Image for ☆LaurA☆.
213 reviews64 followers
March 27, 2023
Soffocare è il primo libro di Palahniuk che leggo, mi ci sono imbattuta per caso e posso dire che ne sono rimasta affascinata.

Il suo scrivere è grottesco,schietto, folle,irriverente, blasfemo e volgare....un pugno allo stomaco che arriva quando meno te lo aspetti.
In questa storia il suo eroe non ha niente di eroico, è un imbecille egoista sfigato, un fotutto pezzo di merda sessodipendente e io ho amato Victor per quello che é, per quello che vorrebbe essere e che forse prova ad essere.
Non è un libro che consigliere a tutti, anzi, ma un libro del genere uno dovrebbe provare a leggerlo almeno una volta nella vita, perché ci siamo ritrovati un po' tutti ad essere Victor, con le nostre manie,le nostre dipendenze, i nostri problemi irrisolvibili e il modo di escogitare stratagemmi che sfiorano il limite della legalità pur di sopravvivere.

Soffocare è il solo modo per tornare a vivere, sfiorare la morte ci rende più vivi.

Ora prendo una pausa da questo tipo di letture, ma ci rivedremo presto Chuck perché mi hai stregata, forse non è la parola corretta ma è la prima che mi viene in mente.
Profile Image for Jonathan Ashleigh.
Author 1 book119 followers
March 1, 2016
Many themes in this book were enjoyable even if many of them were unlikely. The main character works at a medieval theme park and spends nights pretending to need the Heimlich maneuver because he claims that someone that saves your life has a need to continue taking care of you. I always thought that was the other way around and the save-y has to look over and protect the save-er. I most enjoyed the part where stones are beginning to fill the house and one character mentions that it feels as though they are living in the bottom portion of an hourglass; I believe this is an important commentary about hoarding in America and the American perception of possessions.
Profile Image for Nathan.
233 reviews191 followers
October 7, 2007
Wow! A book about a suburban white boy with low self-esteem and mommy issues! How novel! I've been told time and again by friends I otherwise respect to read Chuck Palahniuk. Well, I finally did, and it made me realize I've got too many friends. Choke is deeply funny in places, but at times it very much does not feel like it has any kind of natural rhythm, and it often seems contrived purely for the sake of the sick laugh. I haven't lost faith in Palahniuk and will probably read something else by him, but this was not the book to convince me of his genius. The main character - Victor Mancini - is fascinating and complex. The stories he's a part of, however, aren't very complex at all, and even seem a little too orchestrated. As a result, the entire book comes off as a mouthpiece for Palahniuk's eccentricities. Given more of a playground to rough it up in, Mancini's exploits could have carried an entirely hilarious novel. But Palahniuk lets the ball drop and the novel itself comes off as one prolonged attempt at a joke. Sex addiction is funny for a page. For a significant topic of entire work of fiction, it comes off as a rather juvenile placation of angsty, adolescent dickery. If that's what you look for in fiction, this book is probably right up your alley. Otherwise, do what I probably should have done, and let your first Palahniuk book come with a different title.

Profile Image for Lisa.
15 reviews11 followers
April 23, 2008
If I could give it negative stars, I would. So many things I didn't like about the book...here's a few in list format!

1. No paragraphs...only phrases. It's hard to feel like youre reading a complete thought, when....you're not.
2. I know using the word "Dude" is addictive, but oddly enough, it's even more annoying to read it over and over than to hear/say it.
3. The way he always (and when I say always, I mean every time, every other page) referred to his penis as his 'dog' was nausiating. Really. Disgusting.
4. I never gave a shit about one single person in this book. Not a single one!
5. There's a chapter at the very end about having sex on planes. It's the most descriptive and comprehensive chapter in the book, and I can't figure out how it has anything at all to do w/ the plot. I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote this chapter 5 years before even thinking about the plot of this book, and didn't know what else to do with it, so he just stuck it in there. Or, on the other hand, maybe he revolved the entire book AROUND this chapter...like it was the egg and the book is the chicken.

And the so-called 'clencher' your hear about in reviews...not so clenching.
Profile Image for Nicholas Karpuk.
Author 4 books64 followers
November 5, 2008
I have choked in public on two different occasions.

The first was at an Olive Garden with my mother, where an extremely lanky busboy had to give me the Heimlich to dislodge a chunk of poorly chewed steak consumed during a meal of Alfredo.

The second involved another steak-related dinner at QDoba shared with about a dozen friends. An ambulance was called much to my irritation.

Choking, at least in my experience involved vomiting up ropes of phlegm as the body attempts to dislodge the offending article. There's nothing comical about it, and nothing pops out like a cork, splashing comically in someones drink. It is disgusting, it is frightening, and generally feels unpleasant for everyone involved.

That's why I can't really view the plot of "Choke" as being all that credible these days. No one who saves you is going to feel like they need to take care of you their whole life.

I didn't buy into the strictness of his period correct theme park. I wasn't convinced by his notion that there was loose sex waiting around every corner of society. The notion of any one mother having as many quirky ticks as his did wasn't a sell. There was no plot thread that didn't break my suspension of disbelief. While the flashbacks seem deliberately unrealistic and exaggerrated, the present tense fares only slightly better.

And that's the flaw with about half of Palahniuk's novels; they just flat-out don't seem plausible to me. It's just ridiculous in a way that he's trying to sell to the audience as secret facts.

"Invisible Monsters", "Haunted", and "Snuff" also fall into this category. He goes into waters he doesn't know how to navigate, but never loses the swaggering authority that brought him so much attention with "Fight Club". There was a certain point in each novel where I cried foul and couldn't get back into the setting.

So much of "Choke" is like that, which is why I don't understand how it's the favorite of so many Palahniuk fans. The story is ludicrous without being genuinely surreal, and the eye-rolling threatens to damage my vision after a while.

The only real saving grace is that good or bad, a book by him won't take a regular reader more than an afternoon to clear, especially since the style is exceptionally breezy, and that's all the recommendation I can really give it.
Profile Image for Chris.
17 reviews16 followers
November 28, 2007
So much better than 'Fight Club.' It's not as grotesque, but it's much more, oh, I don't know, how can I put this... fucked up. It's one those books that don't make any sense at all while you're reading it. Why are they doing that? Who the hell is she? But at the end of the novel, everything, everything comes together and it all makes sense. Plus, you will get one the most insane mind-fucks of all time IF you make it to the end. It was the last book to make gasp out loud and scream out, 'Holy shit! Did that just happen?!?!' I wish I wasn't in church when I finished the book.
Profile Image for Misty Marie Harms.
559 reviews334 followers
February 16, 2022
Victor Mancini likes to spend his time in restaurants pretending to choke on food, so other patrons will save him. Feeling responsible for Victor's life, they send him checks. Okay full stop. Where is this happening? Why would they send him money? Victor should be grateful he is alive. On top of all that we are supposed to believe, Victor is paying three grand a month for his mother's nursing home when he works a low paying job. All the characters are damaged souls. It is a unique read.

Profile Image for Noce.
203 reviews280 followers
April 5, 2011
"E se invece Gesù avesse passato la giovinezza a commettere errori?Prima di azzeccare il suo primo miracolo?"
Divertente, brillante, delirante, vorticoso.
A partire dall'incipit:«Se stai per metterti a leggere, evita.
tra un paio di pagine vorrai essere da un'altra parte. Perciò lascia perdere. Vattene. Sparisci, finchè sei intero.
Salvati. Ci sarà pure qualcosa di meglio alla tv. Oppure, se proprio hai del tempo da buttare, che so, potresti iscriverti a un corso serale. Diventare un dottore. Così magari riesci a tirare su due soldi. Ti regali una cena fuori. Ti tingi i capelli.
Tanto, ringiovanire non ringiovanisci.»
Palahniuk è un maestro nel capovolgere gli eventi; le sensazioni stesse che il lettore prova per i suoi personaggi vengono ribaltate senza sforzo, seguendo il corso naturale e bizzarro degli eventi.
Il protagonista, Victor Mancini, sessodipendente che vive di espedienti cercando di mantenere la madre in fin di vita, vuole trovare una ragion d'essere, snocciolando critiche sulle miserabili vite degli altri, comprese le nostre:« È pazzesco quanto una donna può fraintenderti se per sbaglio, mentre le affondi il muso tra le chiappe morbide, dici: ti amo. Dieci volte su dieci, l'uomo che pronuncia quelle parole intende dire: amo quello che stiamo facendo.»
Il suo amico di sventure, Denny, vive nel suo strampalato mondo dove tutto ha una logica, alla disperata ricerca di un progetto da realizzare..In un film verrebbe definito come la "spalla" del protagonista, in realtà alla fine della storia, anche il suo ruolo si inverte. E nel frattempo ci regala le riflessioni su cui inciampa durante i voli pindarici della sua mente: «A volte è come se fossi io a voler essere picchiato e punito. Va benissimo anche se Dio non esiste, però qualcosa da rispettare lo voglio lo stesso. Non mi va di essere il centro del mio universo.»
La madre di Victor, una donna che vive da anni in un nichilismo cosmico, e che ha cresciuto il figlio impartendogli regole di sopravvivenza dalla validità assoluta:«-L'unica frontiera che ci rimane è il mondo dell'intangibile. Tutto il resto è cucito troppo stretto.-Per intangibile la Mamma intendeva Internet, i film, la musica, le storie, l'arte, le voci che corrono, i programmi per computer, tutto ciò che non è reale. Le realtà virtuali. Le simulazioni. La cultura. Perché la realtà non arriva mai al grado di perfezione cui può spingersi l'immaginazione. Perché soltanto ciò che è intangibile, le idee, i concetti, le convinzioni, le fantasie, durano. Le pietre si sgretolano, il legno marcisce. La gente, bé la gente muore.»
E poi vi rimane il resto del libro, un carosello di personaggi sbandati, disillusi o troppo creduloni, ma pur sempre umani.
Se vi aspettate un linguaggio formale e pulito, avete sbagliato libro. Ma anche in questo Palahniuk è costante. Le espressioni sboccate, il sesso ovunque, la degradazione al massimo livello, son tutti elementi che se all'inizio fan storcere il naso a chi non è abituato, di pagina in pagina diventano elementi indispensabili della storia. E la rendono completa: l'ennesimo ribaltamento del libro.
La stellina mancante, è dovuta al fatto, che ho finito di leggere il libro ieri, e come ogni lettura intensa va digerita prima di poterla sigillare con un giudizio definitivo. Però una mezza in più gliel'avrei data volentieri, anche a caldo.
Un consiglio, non seguite l'avvertimento dato nell'incipit. Continuate a leggere: ne vale la pena.
Profile Image for Athena ღ.
244 reviews143 followers
December 2, 2017
"Μπορούμε να περάσουμε τη ζωή μας ολόκληρη αφήνοντας τον κόσμο να μας υπαγορεύει ποιοι είμαστε. Τρελοί ή λογικοί. Άγιοι ή σεξομανεις. Ήρωες ή θύματα. Να αφήσουμε την ιστορία να αποφασίσει πόσο καλοί ή κακοί είμαστε. Να αφήσουμε το παρελθόν μας να καθορίζει το μέλλον μας. Ή μπορούμε να αποφασίσουμε μόνοι μας."

Profile Image for Kecia.
911 reviews
June 16, 2008
I just couldn't do it! I could not read this drivel. It's not subversive. It's not funny. It's not interesting. It's not shocking. It is juvenile.

Franzen's The Corrections, Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, and BBE's American Phycho are not in my favorites by any stretch of the imagination...but at least these three have ideas and can actually write even if I didn't want to read what they were writing about.

And PLEASE don't compare this guy to the genius who was Kurt Vonnegut! Just don't even go there.

If you think it's funny when an adult says the word "bugger" you might like this book. Otherwise, don't bother.
Profile Image for Ravenskya .
234 reviews37 followers
August 29, 2008
If you pick this book up, don't even bother looking at the back cover, what is written there cannot even begin to tell you what you are about to read. I picked this book up based off of a few different people's recommendations and hearing the author's name dropped by several of my favorite authors. I had been told over and over how absolutely hysterical this book is, so of course I had to read it.

First let me warn you this book is not for everyone... in fact it's not for most people, but there is a select group out there that this book is perfect for. In this book you will find addictions, depravity, sex acts of all kinds, death, pain, obsession, profanity, blasphemy, and enough repetition to drive an English major insane. But don't let that stop you from reading... this is actually a very strange yet disturbingly profound book.

Short Summary: Our title character is a sex addict who fakes choking in restaurants to make people feel like heroes... he's had a terrible childhood with a completely insane mother who kidnapped him on multiple occasions. She's now in a home and is fast approaching her end, while her son, Victor, attempts to deal with his past, his problems, and his future.

If you are looking for a book about redemption, this isn't it. Victor is a failed med student who is riddled with psychological problems raging from sexual addiction to severe childhood trauma. He wanders through life searching desperately for meaning, purpose and hope... all while fighting to keep from being a "good guy." The only truly multidimensional character in the story is Victor, and the book is told stream of conscious from Victor's point of view. Victor behaves badly and fights to mentally defend his behavior to both the reader and himself. We swap between the current day and his childhood, or actually his memories of his childhood which are told with a bitterness not toward his mentally unstable mother, but toward himself.

Victor is filled with a deep rooted self loathing that comes across clearly to the reader, however he constantly defends his actions and feelings but his defense is hollow. It is clear that he knows that his life is pathetic and his future is going to be devoid of true happiness should he continue on his current path. As a reader you follow his mental wanderings, excuses, and find yourself hoping that he latches on to something healthy.

I don't want to give too much of the plot away, although there really isn't much of a plot. This is more of a character study of an addict, and addict who knows that things should be different but rejects and rebels against society to the point that he cannot even comprehend a healthy existence. As I said this book will not be for everyone, it is harsh, gross, filled with bodily fluids, depraved sexual acts, profanity and bad choice after bad choice. Most of supporting cast is filled with stereotypes and one dimensional jokes, also the way that this is written is very repetitive and the style will be jarring to many readers. It is not an easy read to whip right through due to the way that it is written. I am glad that I read this book, but I don't really know who I know that I would recommend it to.

Oh, and yes, parts of this book are very funny... but on the whole I was left feeling rather sad for the people in it. Perhaps I'm just feeling sensitive today, but the hopelessness of the situations that these people put themselves into is a rather sobering idea. The concept that keeps reiterating itself through the book is the idea of reality and who we are, do we create ourselves or do we let society decide who we are... if we try to fight against society are we just dooming ourselves to unhappiness and ultimate misery?
Profile Image for Miquel Reina.
Author 1 book371 followers
September 8, 2016
Choke is one of those books that it still lies in my head. I remember when my College professor of ethics and aesthetics commanded us to read the short story "Guts" of Chuck Palahniuk. He warned us in how unpleasant would be to read it! But after reading it I thought that the author had a way of telling stories so visceral and cruel that attracted me. So inquiring more about him I found the book "Choke".
In Choke the protagonist is the character who has more defects, more misery, and less ethical values than other of the characters, but even though in the first pages the author warns you to stop reading the book, there is something in it that make you continue reading, and all that seems cruel, uncomfortable and unfriendly at the first pages, it starts to become more interesting and you can stop reading it. I recommend this book and this author to all readers with "guts". And I challenge all of you to read the story of "Guts". I leave here the link! ;) http://chuckpalahniuk.net/features/sh...

Spanish version:
Asfixia es uno de esos libros que te marcan de por vida. Recuerdo cuando mi profesor de universidad de ética y estética nos mandó a leer los relatos cortos "Tripas" Chuck Palanuik. Creo que se quedó corto al avisarnos de lo desagradable que resultaría leerlos! Pero después de leerlos me pareció que ese autor que hasta ese momento había sido desconocido para mí tenía una forma de contar las cosas increíblemente visceral y cruel, lejos de los prototipos y tal y como la mayoría de veces es la vida. Así que indagando más sobre él encontré el libro "Asfixia".
Para mi Asfixia marcó un antes un después en la concepción de "protagonistas". Aquí el protagonista es el personaje que acumula más defectos, más miserias y con valores menos éticos de todos los personajes, pero pese a que en las primeras páginas el propio autor te avisa precisamente de que dejes de leer el libro, hay algo en él que te engancha, y lo que al principio te parece cruel, incómodo y antipático al final es precisamente lo que más te gusta del libro. Recomiendo este libro y este autor a todos los lectores, y por supuesto, os reto a todos a que leáis los relatos de "Tripas", os dejo aquí el link! ;) http://www4.loscuentos.net/cuentos/li...
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews251 followers
October 19, 2016
4 stars, although it could very well be 5. In fact, I don't know why I don't give it 5. I liked it more than Invisible Monsters, almost as much as I liked Fight Club. The more I read the guy, the more I come to believe he's a genius of a kind. At the beginning, he warns the readers to stay away from the book as it will only make them sick. Do I need to worry about the fact that not only did it not make me sick, but I actually loved it? Do I need to worry about the fact that I felt my blood boiling (in a good way) with every word that was coming out of the mouth of the hero's mother? Maybe one day I'll change radically and my blood will remain cool when I read such books. But not today. Maybe one day I'll be over those nihilistic witticisms on modern society and I'll simply laugh at them every time I come across them. Till then... Palahniuk, I'm with you all the way!
4 stars (why not 5?!)
Profile Image for Dorian.
82 reviews32 followers
November 22, 2022
3.5 ⭐️

This was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Disturbing yet satisfying. Sick yet hilarious. Chuck is in a league of his own. This was my first read of his and won’t be my last.

Really enjoyed his writing style and the character build. Was thought provoking in its own unique way.
Profile Image for Lily S. .
167 reviews33 followers
September 15, 2018
5 stars.

A broke college dropout pretends to choke on food in restaurants to scam people into paying him so he can afford to keep his demented mother in a treatment center. Even the blurb sounds like.. well it sounds like a Palahniuk novel.

Told in short chapters alternating between past and present we meet Victor, a sexaholic who goes to 12 step meetings only to score more chicks and works in a history re-enactment theme park which he finds utterly stupid. We get a glimpse at his childhood, how his mother ditched him and came back to fetch him from time to time to take him on adventures. He hopes to find out who is his real dad while his mother is still alive, and he meets a pretty doctor who just might be able to help him out.

Many times I found myself laughing out loud in the beginning, the easily flowing storyline pulled me in immediately and managed to cover up the nasty truth for a while: in this novel everyone is desperately lonely and lost, trying to find something to cling to while navigating the bleakness of everyday life. Soon that sense of ease turned into something suffocating leaving me with knots in my stomach till the very end.

I think the brilliance in Palahniuk's books is that while the prose is rather simple, often vulgar and incredibly witty, dictating and insane pace he is still able to craft a meaningful story with nicely fleshed out characters. He's still able to tell the reader some valuable things about addiction, perversions, the complexity of parent-child relationships, loneliness, the hypocrisy of our society and about how it feels when one's life doesn't turn out as expected.

Definitely worth reading.

Profile Image for Roula.
501 reviews139 followers
October 3, 2017
Το βιβλιο αυτο λοιπον μιλα για...δεν ειμαι τοσο σιγουρη τελικα.ξεκινα απο τη σκιαγραφηση ενος περα για περα προβληματικου χαρακτηρα και θιγει ενα σωρο πραγματα και θεματα κοινωνικα "εμπλουτισμενα" με πολλη βωμολοχία και σεξ..στα σημεια που ελεγα οτι , ναι, τελικα μου αρεσει αυτο το βιβλιο, ερχοταν ενα τελειως κουλο κεφαλαιο που με πεταγε εκτος . μου αρεσε οταν εθιγε καποια θεματα ψυχολογικα ή κοινωνικα ακομη και με ωμο ρεαλισμο, ωστοσο αυτο δεν ηταν αρκετο.η βαθμολογια μου ειναι καπου στη μεση μεταξυ καλου και κακου..
Profile Image for Shovelmonkey1.
353 reviews875 followers
October 26, 2011
This was my first introduction to Chuck Palahnuik.
Hello Chuck.
I'm one of your followers on goodreads.
I'm not as weird as any of your characters but maybe one day you'll not write about self-help groups and instead will write about online book groups.
After all bookishness is kind of an addiction too right?
Or maybe it's a compulsion?
Or a bit of both?
Just take a look around goodreads.com...
Like facebook for the literate.
And immoderate.
And insane.
I think there's scope.
Let me know what you think.

A weird place to start given that I probably should have gone for Fight Club, his best loved, most vaunted and money spinning work to date. Anyway, it was a good introduction none the less. Odd, off kilter views of a world which most people never really think about generated out of the random scenario sequence generator:
sex addicts + pioneer town historic re-enactment + god complex mum + choking = viable income for main character plus story.

Umm I think I just summarised the plot there. Still not entirely convinced how choking in public places generates a decent yearly income though... and is it tax exempt as a donation rather than actual earnings? All I can say is that no matter what the net choke income is per annum, it's probably still more than I earn as an archaeologist!
Profile Image for Naomi.
67 reviews12 followers
February 28, 2008
Once again, Palahniuk provides perfect social commentary. Essential to understanding America and ourselves, Choke invites you to consider your life holistically, question what you know, and examine the quotidian anew. In addition, Palahniuk challenges us to find the best of ourselves, to focus less on "Saint Me," and to experience fully those near-life experiences he documents so well in Fight Club. Another marvel, another marvel.
Profile Image for Ria.
430 reviews60 followers
February 17, 2021
“Just keep asking yourself: What would Jesus not do?”

it's stupid but not the fun kind of stupid. more like the boring kind.... not even close to what i thought it was gonna be. it's not bad, just disappointing.
also i just found out that they turned this into a move. how did i miss it?

i didn't really understand how the fuck he makes money from Chocking but whatever i don't care. i can pretend that somehow he got money out of that. didn't bother me.

instead of making an analysis of Paradise Lost for uni i'm here reviewing Choke... who even cares...... i really wanna read Snuff but i know that i will hate it so i don't wanna spend money on it BUT i wanna experience it.

i read some negative reviews where people bitched about it being fucked up and gross. 1.ain't that bad u pussies. damn 2.what the fuck did u expect? it's obviously going to be something screwed up but he does warn u in the start. if u don't like vile shit why the fuck are u here? personally i expected it to be WAYYY darker and i blame the warning in the start and people telling others that it is extremely fucked up

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