If you’re looking for a one-way ticket to Depravity, check out Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. Palahniuk labels his work “transgressive fiction”, a genre featuring characters who feel oppressed by society’s norms, so they renounce expectations in radical, illicit ways. Think American Psycho.
Think Fight Club.
And while you’re thinking of Fight Club, you’re basically thinking of Choke. Although the plot is wildly different, the basic sentiment and writing style is very similar. You have characters proclaiming emptiness of the soul and vapidity of their fellow man; they want to feel something meaningful by any means necessary. In Choke, the main character turns to a convoluted performance: choking on a regular basis, claiming that by doing so, he gives the people who save him purpose and strength. He also turns to sex, which leads to an addiction, graphically described. He also turns to his love-hate relationship with a mom who is an abusive schizophrenic on her deathbed. There’s a lot of weird shit going on. He’s “Alive and unwell” (Palahniuk, 14).
When I first read Fight Club, I thought Woah, this guy really has some things to get off his chest. It is funny but also genuine in its critiques of society; his writing style conveys the amusing absurdity in a way that I had never read before. When I got to Choke, the funny critiques were still there but the newness had worn off. Palahniuk sort of sabotaged his own work—perhaps his own contribution to Project Mayhem. That being said, it isn’t bad; it has its own unique moments of satire and its own unique insights into a messy, vulgar world. Choke receives 3 out of 5 camel humps.
*Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: First Anchor Books, 2002. Print.