Unpalatable novel from overrated author
Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke is an intentionally nasty and depressing book. Its anti-hero protagonist Victor Mancini is a souless loser and con artist who drifts about in a series of scams and empty sexual encounters. Your enjoyment of this will hinge on how interesting you find his charmless “hey dude” generation X characters and their miserable lives. Palahniuk continues his themes of the cultural and spirtitual decay, the death of community and the commodification of American life, but it no longer sounds fresh or interesting. I would like to know if he is capable of writing a genuinely heartfelt human portrait rather than the entirely one-dimensional and representational characters in this book. Furthermore, his visceral and shocking accounts of mental illness are undermined by an unrelenting appetite for cynicism. No doubt there are die-hard fans of this writer who will hang on his every word but I found the lack of humanity in this novel highly repellent and its vision stale.