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Choke | [Chuck Palahniuk]

Choke

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In this novel, Choke, he gives listeners a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.
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Publisher's Summary

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In this novel, Choke, he gives listeners a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.

Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's elder care: Pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who "saves you" will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of checks, week in, week out. Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action ("You put 20 sexaholics around a table night after night and don't be surprised"), and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage. An antihero for our deranging times, Victor finds that his whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

"Even I can't write this well," says Thom Jones, and Bret Easton Ellis opines, "Maybe our generation has found its Don DeLillo."

Choke is also available in print from Doubleday.

Executive Producer: Dan Zitt
Producer: John McElroy
Jacket design by Rodrigo Corral
Jacket illustration by Bob Larkin
©2001 by Chuck Palahniuk
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"One of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all its own." (Newsday)
"At times very funny. Also sick and perverted....Readers will love it. Readers will hate it and be offended by it. Must listen to figure out what you think." (AudioFile)
"Displays a Swiftian gift for satire, as well as a knack for crafting mesmerizing sentences that loom with stark, prickly prose and repetitive rhythms." (San Francisco Examiner)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (629 )
5 star
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3.8 (146 )
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (139 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Pamela Bristol, RI, United States 10-26-03
    Pamela Bristol, RI, United States 10-26-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    166
    ratings
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    2
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    Overall
    "Oh please, not another abridged!!!"

    Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

    138 of 145 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 10-26-03
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 10-26-03 Member Since 2003

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4375
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    483
    310
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3769
    0
    Overall
    "Oh please, not another abridged!!!"

    Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

    78 of 82 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Bucci Charlotte, NC USA 02-25-03
    S. Bucci Charlotte, NC USA 02-25-03 Member Since 2001

    lostdogg

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    4
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    "Great black humor in a dysfunctional wrapper"

    I imagine a book editor having a heart attack at the opening line of the author urging us to not read(listen to) this book. It's a great bold, line and it had me hooked.

    Yes this book is graphic and sexually-explicit, but it's about a sex-addict and other addictions, so you can't really tiptoe around that and still tell the story as effectively as the author does. It's not for the squeamish, but then again, neither was Fight Club.

    Chuck Palahniuk is great at reading his story, as well, giving all the nuances and inflections that bring his characters to life. There is an additional interview with him at the end of the book, which is a feature I'd love to see in more Audible books.

    If you're a fan of Fight Club, Trainspotting, and the sort, you'll like this book a lot. I'm looking forward to more Audible books by Chuck Palahniuk and featuring his narration.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy BirminghamUnited Kingdom 03-30-08
    Andy BirminghamUnited Kingdom 03-30-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Original amusing and sexy in a sick kind of way"

    I sometimes wonder if I have been listening to the same book as other reviewers. This is an ultimately uplifting book about the point at which people break out of destructive behaviors and turn their lives around.
    Now that obviously involves delving into the destructive behaviors but since the example given is sex addiction everything has its positive side.
    I found it a very funny book. It is completely unreliable on almost everything especially the opening entreaty from the author to stop reading.
    If you are easily offended its not for you. If your are annoyed by snowboarder speak...Dude don't do it!
    If you enjoy original and irreverent ideas coming at you in twisted but amusing ways get it in your cart!
    I bought it because I enjoyed the sample...I think its pretty representative of the whole book so I would recommend you try that, if you enjoy it you will enjoy the whole thing.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael richmond, TX, USA 03-02-05
    Michael richmond, TX, USA 03-02-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Completely mis-understood work of genius"

    This book has been reviewed by several prudes on this site, and that's cool. But this book contains so much more depth and insight into people's actions and the motivations behind them. It is one of the most insightful and thought provoking books I've ever read, and it's a shame that so many people can't see past the "vulgarity and sex talk". Have an open mind with this one and you might walk away a different person. I know I did.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz San Francisco, CA, USA 07-01-03
    Liz San Francisco, CA, USA 07-01-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    7
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    "sobering"

    I got this book because I really enjoyed the movie "Fight Club." I was a little unnerved by the extensive and raw description of what goes on in the mind of a sex addict. Though this was disturbing, I found the book compelling. In the end I felt that the author's narration set the perfect tone. I enjoyed my little journey in someone else's mind--a reminder that the world is composed of all kinds.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    05-24-07
    05-24-07 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "whoa"

    This guy writes the craziest stuff ever. I can only listen to about 1 per year from this author. It is mind blowing and gross....enjoyable in a sick way

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Denver, CO, USA 11-13-03
    Alan Denver, CO, USA 11-13-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A very subtle, very brilliant, author!"

    Chuck does something not many other people do and he may not do it intentionally, but the wisdom of his writing is buried underneath a sort of "shock test" that you have to be open-minded enough to accept as having some value, before his brilliance really starts to surface for you. 'Lullaby' is better, but 'Choke' is good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-08-03
    Linsey BRANDON, FL, USA 11-08-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Genius!"

    This is the best novel I've encountered in years. I sat through it twice in a row, awed. Other reviewers have criticized it for its adult content, and it's not for kiddies or for the provincial. But if you are neither of those, get this book right away. It's pure genius.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Diamond Bar, CA, USA 05-21-03
    Mark Diamond Bar, CA, USA 05-21-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this book!"

    Very dark and dry humor, kept me interested the entire time. The author narrates the book which I really enjoyed. His dead pan delivery of some of the most shocking material literally made me laugh out loud numerous times. If you like sarcastic dark humor you must check this out. If you are very serious about a 12 step program you belong to this book might not be for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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