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Damned | [Chuck Palahniuk]

Damned

“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued 13-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction. The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a marijuana overdose—and the next thing she knows, she’s in Hell.
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Publisher's Summary

“Are you there, Satan? It’s me, Madison,” declares the whip-tongued 13-year-old narrator of Damned, Chuck Palahniuk’s subversive new work of fiction.

The daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire, Madison is abandoned at her Swiss boarding school over Christmas, while her parents are off touting their new projects and adopting more orphans. She dies over the holiday of a marijuana overdose—and the next thing she knows, she’s in Hell. Madison shares her cell with a motley crew of young sinners that is almost too good to be true: a cheerleader, a jock, a nerd, and a punk rocker, united by fate to form the six-feet-under version of everyone’s favorite detention movie.

Madison and her pals trek across the Dandruff Desert and climb the treacherous Mountain of Toenail Clippings to confront Satan in his citadel. All the popcorn balls and wax lips that serve as the currency of Hell won’t buy them off.

This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where The English Patient plays on endless repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hardsell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine.

©2011 Chuck Palahniuk (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“The story scoots along like any great adventure story, as she takes on Hitler and Catherine de Medici, and it’s a delight seeing Madison find her place in life, even if it’s in death.” (Booklist)

"Palahniuk is 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 his own." (Newsday)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (482 )
5 star
 (119)
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3.5 (441 )
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Story
3.9 (444 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (24)
Performance
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  •  
    Bradley TUCSON, AZ, United States 11-26-11
    Bradley TUCSON, AZ, United States 11-26-11 Listener Since 2005

    Foady

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    124
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Just not what I was hoping for..."

    It starts out great. But as the story progresses, it feels more and more rushed. The last quarter of the book I could almost hear the editor banging on the door demanding the final draft.
    With the one exception of Megan meeting Satan for the second time, its very predictable. Almost like a short story that was expanded to make a book. If you are looking for anoher Haunted or Fight Club, this is not going to get it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Mentor, OH, United States 11-17-11
    Katie Mentor, OH, United States 11-17-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
    ratings
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    202
    26
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    6
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    Story
    "the more Palahniuk writes the less I like him"

    I love early Chuck Palahniuk but the later stuff seems to be written to shock the reader rather than to make them think.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Venice, CA, United States 10-30-11
    Julia Venice, CA, United States 10-30-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
    ratings
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    50
    23
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    "Damned Boring."

    I usually go head over heels for C.P.'s work. I have read almost everything he has writtin and adored Rant and Haunted...flipped over Lullaby and really enjoyed Diary.
    This reads as though it was written by an inexperienced writed trying to sound like Palahniuk.
    I didn't feel any connection to the characters, the story built to an anticlimax that left me feeling really flat. It actually seemed more like a book written for teenagers or Y/A.

    An hour close to the end I couldn't have cared less but I kept slogging along until, nothing happened, and then, to quote Chuck out of Pygmy, (another fav) nothing kept happening.
    If hell is as boring as C.P. invisions...I'd rather go to heaven.
    On the other hand I would listen to the narrator. She did a good job with what she was given.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey Schaumburg, IL, United States 10-23-11
    Tracey Schaumburg, IL, United States 10-23-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    23
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    3
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    "I should have known"
    Would you try another book from Chuck Palahniuk and/or Tai Sammons?

    I really should have know from the description that this would not be good. This was definately a major mistake. The characters were not at all likeable. The story was just plain stupid.
    I stopped after a couple of chapters. Don't know what I was thinking.


    Has Damned turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes


    What aspect of Tai Sammons’s performance would you have changed?

    I disliked the characters so much I probably am not giving the reader a fair shot.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    There was nothing redeeming about this book


    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Elgin, IL, United States 11-22-11
    Lisa Elgin, IL, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2010

    High School teacher and audiophile...I listen to no fewer than four books a week. It is my escape. I listen for information, entertainment and sometimes just brain candy, so my audio library is eclectic. I offer no profound literary analysis, but I can tell you if a book is fun to listen to!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story..."

    As with all Palahniuk creations, the concept is original and twisted. The "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" format is humorous enough, but add to that the eventual takeover of hell by a chubby 13 year old who collects trophy pieces from history's most notorious and you have a seriously funny book. The narrator, however, made me re-think listening to the audio. I can understand the choice...her voice has the annoying tonal quality that one might find in a precocious early adolescent, but is just not pleasant to listen to. Though far from monotone, there is still a droning quality to the narration, on par with listening to a wasp trying to escape through the glass of your bedroom window all night long....

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Lawrenceville, GA, United States 10-31-11
    Matthew Lawrenceville, GA, United States 10-31-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Worst book since I joined in 2005"

    I have never wanted a refund on a book in the past, even if I didn't enjoy it. Some things aren't my cup of tea. I wasn't offended or disgusted by this book but it was just plain stupid and an absolute waste of time. I can deal with losing my credit, but I at least want the 8 hours of my life back that I wasted.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Royal oak, MI, United States 12-05-11
    Heather Royal oak, MI, United States 12-05-11 Member Since 2011

    TommysMommy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Turned it off"
    Any additional comments?

    I only listened for 40 minutes until I could not take it any more. I did not find the main character believable or likeable, the story seemed like it was going nowhere and efforts to be cute and witty fell so flat that they were simply annoying and sad. The writing and performance both

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Port Moody, BC, Canada 07-08-14
    J Port Moody, BC, Canada 07-08-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    9
    9
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    "Funny adventures in hell."
    Would you listen to Damned again? Why?

    I almost never listen to or read books more than once, I'm either too lazy or too busy. I would recommend it as a listen though. It's not up there with the greats but it's funny and unique. The girl is wonderfully well drawn even in such a bizarre setting I felt I could recognise girls her age in her manner.


    What about Tai Sammons’s performance did you like?

    Great voice, managed to portray all the characters, even the females wonderfully and without resorting to that high pitched squeaking that so many male narrators use for women and girls.


    If you could take any character from Damned out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The Devil. He would drive so I could drink.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael hernandez 06-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Palahniuk delivers in fashion"

    Because his writing style is very unique, it was nice to hear this narrated. Each of his novels have a different feel to them and sometimes it takes me a few chapters to get his technique. This was a very vulgar novel and grossly entertaining. If you're a fan, it's a must read/ listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C.J.R Flanagan Bathurst, Australia 01-20-14
    C.J.R Flanagan Bathurst, Australia 01-20-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't see what all the fuss is about..."

    Before purchasing this book I had read a large amount of reviews whereby the reviewers denounced "Damned" as nothing more than a disgusting, pornographic piece of filth. This is certainly NOT the case, or at least I didn't think so. (By the way, I challenge anyone who found Palahniuk's "Damned" to be repulsive, to read William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch!")

    The story is set around a schoolgirl who has died and regained consciousness, only to find herself in the Lake of Fire (Hell). I found Damned to be extremely humorous. The setting and tone of the story are very typical to Palahniuk's writing, and if you have enjoyed some of his stories such as "Haunted" and "Survivor" you will almost definitely find Damned to be equally entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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