Sunday, July 07, 2019

Book reviews: DAMNED and DOOMED by Chuck Palahniuk

(FOOTNOTE: These reviews previously appeared in my Instagram feed.)

1. DAMNED (2011) by Chuck Palahniuk

What the hell is it about "Hell" that has attracted so many poets, writers and artists for thousands of years? (Dante, Hieronymus Bosch, Sartre to name a very few...)
Perhaps it's misanthropy, or guilt, or a mix of both - I don't know...

Anyhow... In the black comedy DAMNED, Palahniuk throws a teenage girl into Hell. She's forced to work in a telemarketing call center to torment the living.
(Well OF COURSE telemarketing is based in Hell. No sane person would argue with that.) Our heroine eventually decides that Hell isn't nice (she's right) and starts a rebellion against Satan.

The novel ends with "To Be Continued..." and there's a sequel, DOOMED, which is reviewed below.

I think this book is obscene, tasteless and thoroughly unsuitable for anyone under the age of 15. It also made me laugh a lot. Perhaps I have bad taste. Also, the plucky heroine and her band of rebels are sympathetic characters - especially the British punk rocker.

2. DOOMED (2013) by Chuck Palahniuk.

At the risk of spoiling the plot: DOOMED is what Neil Gaiman's GOOD OMENS would've read like if it were written by Chuck Palahniuk (the author of FIGHT CLUB).

This is a sequel to the novel DAMNED (which has been reviewed elsewhere in this feed).

The protagonist, who died and went to Hell in the previous book, is now back on Earth as a ghost. She must stop the nefarious plot of Satan... but of course it's not quite that clear-cut and simplistic. Things get weird, confused and icky.

I laughed out loud several times while reading DOOMED. I also squirmed as many times. You have to be aware that Palahniuk almost always tries to make the reader both laugh and feel very uncomfortable.

DOOMED won't make much sense unless you've read DAMNED first. And it's definitely not for everyone. Recommended for Palahniuk fans... and people who haven't forgotten what satire really means in these strange times.

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