©2009 Chuck Palahniuk; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"[A] potent...cultural satire...[full of] characteristically scathing observations....[A] singular, comic accomplishment." (Publishers Weekly)
"Hilarious....Palahniuk leaps over the line of good taste - and lands squarely on his feet." (Booklist, starred review)
The first thing everyone has to say about Pygmy has to do with, of course, the broken English. It is extremely hard to get used to. It took me three times to get rolling, but once I settled in to the cadence of the work, I rather liked the writing style. I found that he created some astonishing word combinations that made me laugh out loud, and think very hard on how we, as Americans, must look to outsiders.
Now- that's out of the way. Please read the following text delicately, as you COULD construe this to be a spoiler, though I'll give no plot details at all.
I've read all of Palahniuk's books. I began with Haunted, and ended with Fight Club. I've read Survivor three times, and never loses its punch for me. Consequently, when CP puts out a new book, I have come to expect a certain thing. I don't go to Chuck's well to walk away refreshed and joyous. I read Chuck's work in an effort to turn myself inside out with every page. This novel, rape and United Nations notwithstanding, is the feel-good book of the year.
Let us just say that, if you are looking for that ending that leaves you hollow and sick and alone in the world- this is MOST ASSUREDLY not it. And if you're looking for the characteristic gore and horror in his writings, you won't find it here.
You will find plenty of admonitions against the evils of America, and far more directed toward the church. But really- is that so hard these days? That seems too banal at this point- too simple. I can get all that from The Daily Show, though admittedly John Stewart isn't as funny as Pygmy.
Palahniuk remains my second favorite author today. He is always thought provoking and witty, and always challenges the reader. Unfortunately, this time, I felt far too much a member of Team Cedar, when I really wanted to be closer to Agent 67.
While Chuck's books usually have the flaw that they start out strong and end kind of weak, and I was fully expecting that, it was a very solid work. The main character speaks a pigeon English, which may turn off some, but it's easy to get used to.
Yes, this book is filled with some horrifying scenes, like a rape scene, but even that has a purpose based on Pygmy's past training in flashbacks. If you can stomach that early scene, then you'll appreciate Pygmy's take on spelling bees, school dances, school science projects, church, Thanksgiving and various other American rituals.
There's even Pygmy's take on the model United Nations, in which he's the U.S. delegate, who apologizes for our past crimes and demands all current and past leaders be executed.
Laugh-out funny in parts. Very enjoyable if dark humor is your thing.
Gotta tell you, it was a bit hard to get into this book. However, once you begin to follow the story and put together the dialogue, this book will not disappoint. I found myself laughing out loud during many parts. Character development is fairly rich and some of the concepts about the differences of cultures are extremely insightful.
This will definitely be the most unique book you have ever heard.
One of Palahniuk's best. Once you get used to the language, the story is compelling, smart, and at times, laugh out loud funny. Palahniuk is definitely my favorite writer of contemporary fiction. Also, the narration was spot on. Excellet job all around.
Chuck Palahniuk isn't for everyone and just because you watched Fight Club on DVD in the comfort of your Boca Raton condo doesn't mean that you are going to like the book... and even if you "liked" Fight Club, you still might be shocked and horrified by the reality or unreality of Palahniuk's imagination. Pygmy is an amazing piece of writing and Paul Garcia's narration in this audio version is nothing short of brilliant. This is some of the most complex linguistic goop I have ever read and listened to. If you think you like Palahniuk's writing then definitely give this audio book version a listen because it is amazing.
I don't think I'll ever forget Secret agent Me, and Cat sister :D
Even pig brother!
If English inst your first languish this book can be hard to swallow.
Hell if English is your first languish you might have a hard time understanding the story.
When i was listening to the story i found that i had very little mental wiggle room to try and figure out the plot before hand, and predict etc. etc.
But! with this! you have to remain focused on the story, the parts where Quotes and Extras are talking "normally" Are sort of rest bits :D
GET THIS BOOK FOR A GREAT STORY AND A CHALLENGE!
AND CHARACTERS YOU'LL NEVER FORGET!
At first, I thought, "oh good", a story told in the flavor of "All Things Illuninated", with a new twist on the English Language. However, this author goes a bit too far, making the story telling a bit like reading a foreign language with a dictionary in hand. Every sentence needs translated. The violence and hateful thoughts are also not pleasant. The description of some of the weakest parts of being human (not just American) are thought-provoking, but I found myself either angry or bored through much of the book. I did not laugh out loud, and wondered about those that did.
I wasn't expecting to be so entertained by, and impressed with this book. I felt as if I was sharing a secret language with Mr C.P.
I don't agree with the negative reviews, although I did let them influence me at first...for months actually and I almost didn't buy this book.
As I was reading, I realized that they were the ones who were not quite picking up the clever concept. And excuse me, but it made me laugh to hear some say that this is an "anti-american" book...and yet...these same people loved FIGHT CLUB!
Go figure. PS...great narrator, good job!
I've read (mostly listen to) all the other works of Palahniuk, and love his writing style. However, this book is a failed experiment to change the writing style. You basically have to try to decipher every single sentence to understand what it really means because when taken literally it makes no sense at all - by design. If that sounds appealing to you, I would recommend picking up the paper version so you can easily pause after each sentence and decrypt... trying to do so from audio while driving is completely impossible.
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