Book Review: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

Amazon.com: Diary: A Novel (9781400032815): Palahniuk, Chuck: Books

Title: Diary

Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Number of Pages: 262

Rating: B

Recommended?: Yes


I’ve heard that Chuck Palahniuk’s most recent books suck, but I’m trying to acquaint myself with some of his earlier books. And this book was crazy. It took so many insane twists and turns that I was never quite sure what was going on, even by it’s somewhat ambiguous ending. Misty Wilmot is an artist who hasn’t painted in years. She’s unhappily married to Peter, a man from a rich family who all live on an affluent island that’s decidedly unfriendly to outsiders.

When Peter, a contractor, tries to commit suicide and is left a comatose vegetable, people start calling Misty about rooms of houses that her husband wrote cryptically in and sealed shut. Meanwhile, Misty’s daughter and mother-in-law encourage her to start painting again, and as she rediscovers her inspiration she simultaneously begins to mentally and physically deteriorate, leaving her a victim of a conspiracy by the islanders.

This book was a little hard to get into because of the strange narrative voice and writing style, but I really admired it’s creativity. I didn’t like Misty but even she didn’t deserve what happened to her, and her relationship with Peter are made up of bizarre and disturbing flashbacks that eventually mesh into a (somewhat) coherent whole.

I found the ending a little bit confusing and I wish there had been more explanation for some of the things that happened. After the slow beginning it did really pick up and I found myself thinking and talking about the novel when I wasn’t reading it. It’s been a while since I read Fight Club but I found the two works to be comparable in quality, though Diary is a little bit more inventive and sophisticated storytelling-wise.

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