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Publisher's Summary

For years Chuck Palahniuk has reserved his best storytelling for his readings, often choosing to read a new short story instead of whatever novel he is supposed to be promoting. Make Something Up compiles these previously unpublished tales for the very first time, plus the Byliner social media insta-classic "Phoenix" and Palahniuk's most notable pieces from Playboy.

©2015 Chuck Palahniuk (P)2015 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 06-10-15

Plenty of shock, just not enough Palahniuk awe

This book is filled with two dozen of Chuck Palahniuk's short stories, 'Make Something Up' is clear evidence that Palahniuk is the king of grotesque and a sometimes master of the short story. Sometimes a bit uneven, a couple trips, etc., but a couple of these stories were nearly perfect. There were times when he seemed to be channeling a more disturbed version of David Sedaris (see: 3. Monkey, 9. Coyote, 18. Aardvark) and other times when he seemed to be walking instep with Neil Gaiman. To me, this is a thicker, but more disappointing version a George Saunders collection. But, still, there is no real comparison. These stories could have only been born in Palahniuk's mind. Some of them came out ready to walk, and some should probably been aborted.

So, just to clear my own ADD:

1. Knock Knock - 3★
2. Eleanor - 3★
3. How Monkey got Married... - 4★
4. Zombies - 4★
5. Loser - 3★
6. Red Sultan's Big Boy - 5x
7. Romance - 5★
8. Cannibal - 3★
9. Why Coyote Never... - 3★
10. Phoenix - 4★
11. The Facts of Life - 2★
12. Cold Calling - 3★
13. The Toad Prince - 3★
14. Smoke - 5★
15. Torcher - 5★
17. Liturgy - 2★
18. Why Aardvark Never... - 4★
19. Fetch - 4★
20. Expedition - 3★
21. Mister Elegant - 4★
22. Tunnel of Love - 4★
23. Inclinations - 4★
24. How a Jew Saved Christmas - 2★

81 of 87 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

palahniuk packs a punch as always

the jokes!!! i have repeated them to many people and spread the joy. the stories are messed up as per usual. i always learn something about human behavior from our sweet Chuck. thanks for enlightening me.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great collection

I like the contemporary aspect of many of Chuck's stories in this collection. Though having read Haunted, I was left wanting more. Still quite an enjoyable and memorable set tho.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Ariana
  • Winter Garden, FL, United States
  • 10-01-15

my goodness

This book made me feel so uncomfortable at some points but I couldn't stop listening to it. I don't think I will ever be able to forget these stories as long as I live. Not too sure if its a good thing or a bad thing, haha.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Typical Palahniuk, which is never a bad thing

Romance and Cannibal are my favorites. Expedition is very quotable. Also the second story, forgot it's name, for semantic reasons. I love Palahniuk word puzzles.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Chuck is a very good author but....

He is not a good narrator he has a really strange affectation that takes away from the story
It's hard to explain its a tempo thing
Great thought provoking ideas would have been better served by a good narrator unless he meant to deliver his material in this way , in that case I would say eh..

17 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 01-31-16

Equal parts self-indulgent, tedious, brilliant

Admittedly, being a wonder-kid fiction writer could be like any other job in a way: some days and some outputs are better than others. Palahniuk has a super-high verbal IQ, which can generate scorching passages that pull your mind very sideways. But these are rare, I find. At other times, I think, wow, fairly adolescent ramblings with a sprinkling of acid style, calculated to surprise or shock people who don't wander afar (at least imaginatively) very much. Yawn. It could be a sort of roller coaster ride for a bookish person who hasn't really thought about the experiential permutations of, say, bestiality. Psychedelia and its sequelae were always walking that knife-edge, between the wondrous and the mere ramblings of a fried brain trying too hard to sound colorful-crazy. If it can't compete with reality (a tall order!) why do it? At moments here I am pleasantly lofted skyward by something like a mashup of L.A. street gang argot with echos of Mississippi delta and even an Africa before that (somehow resonating linguistically out of these word structures, amazingly, poetically) spinning into collisions with half-sentences of icy modern high-technocratese. (The one with the dog and the nativity scene.) I love it as much as anything I ever read or heard. But then, another story along the line, we get some construct out of a freshman anthro class project with some hip jargon slathered over it and suddenly the whole mashup thing is beyond obvious and should never have gone longer than a paragraph. It is compounding familiar and even tired forms (detective story, puke) with dribbles of something from left field and, like many high wire acts, it alternates between wow and oops, um .... Sometimes the plot turn is standard lit, but amidst a few fireworks set off to distract the gullible. I could myself spiral off into a dissertation on the econ of being Chuck Palahniuk, as a sort of production line of sharp-articulate-crazy by the paragraph or whatever, which is what it can become at its most tedious, a sort of treadmill of wildness, if that computes, spewing from hamsters in a vending machine, but then I'd be too much like him. I do start to take on the coloration of any thinker I draw closer to.
Oh, and I think his own narration is best -- perfectly oddly laconic with the words.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If you like short stories...

Classic C.P., his ability to tell a story never ceases to amaze me. He is a great storyteller, and I've never been that down by his writing. I hope you won't either! This book is worth every penny or use of a credit. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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If you're a Palahniuk fan, you'll enjoy this book.

One thing I noticed about a lot of Palahniuk's more recent full-length works is that they feel an awful lot like good short stories that go on for a bit too long. This selection scales a plethora of wonderful, original concepts into bite-sized chunks, hit-or-miss but all of which are still thoroughly enjoyable. "Why Aardvark Never Landed on the Moon" was my personal gem of the collection, and in my opinion, was alone worth the purchase of the book. The writing, alongside the excellent execution of the narrator, filled me with that profound sense of bittersweet longing and sadness I'd first come to love his writing for, a sensation I hadn't truly felt since "Exodus" -- and as with "Exodus," I will be saving and rereading this chapter for a very long time. As always, Mr. Palahniuk, thank you for your work.

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    4 out of 5 stars

hit and miss

chuck palahniuk is a really bad narrator, but that's just me. I did enjoy most of it.

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Profile Image for Count Dulek
  • Count Dulek
  • 08-23-15

Stories you can't unread...

What disappointed you about Make Something Up?

..and time you'll never get back.I'm such a massive fan of his early work. But Chuck's work is extrememly variable. For every Survivor and Lullaby there's a Pygmy or Snuff or Rant.The quality of the stories here are in serious need of some heavy editing. Where as there are some which would stand along side any of his greatest works, too many are meandering and over padded, ultimately lacking punch. Making them, in Palahniukian terms, trite. Often the authors own readings of the stories felt flat and monotone. I've given a higher mark for the performances as the other voice artists gave much better readings. There is one story, quite early on which requires a particular characteristic in the performers voice as its written with a very strong dialect, which left me totally lost as it was completely miscast, so the narrator character was confusing and the story made little sense.

Would you ever listen to anything by Chuck Palahniuk again?

Novels perhaps, although by the time we reached Pygmy, (after the forgettable Snuff) I'm convinced he's run out of ideas.

What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

Flat. Monotone. Inexpressive (author). The rest were variable but decent.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment leading to boredom.

Any additional comments?

Fewer stories. Throwing out a lot of the padding. Heavily overwritten. I'm five stories from the end, but as a couple are almost an hour each and nothing over his 20 minute stories had justified the page count to this point, I just can't muster the interest to complete it.I get the feeling they started out with nuggets of good ideas. But was probably writing them to order, so some are just too drawn out to maintain tension, possibly to fill a required word count.I think I might have enjoyed slightly better had I just read it.But only a little.