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164 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars property of jesus
Begins here first review citizen me, web host Amazon review maker 36. Review fiction propaganda pamphlet "Pygmy." First voice confusion direct previous many review. Former many review say, "grammar bad," say, "too much work." This reviewer find opposite truth. Same now pamphlets Irvine Welsh, Anthony Burgess, need full glossary comprehend. Not so fiction pamphlet...
Published on May 20, 2009 by Plopper

versus
231 of 272 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hardly know what to say ...
First, if you've never read a Palahniuk, I don't recommend starting here.

Second, I am Palahniuk fan. Not a die-hard, but I've read all the books except Snuff, and many are favorites. I love Chuckie P. I love the mood his books create; his unique point of view; sense of humor; and particularly his typical writing style.

I rushed out to get this...
Published on May 5, 2009 by Nicole Del Sesto


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231 of 272 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I hardly know what to say ..., May 5, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
First, if you've never read a Palahniuk, I don't recommend starting here.

Second, I am Palahniuk fan. Not a die-hard, but I've read all the books except Snuff, and many are favorites. I love Chuckie P. I love the mood his books create; his unique point of view; sense of humor; and particularly his typical writing style.

I rushed out to get this book because I was so excited about it. The concept, the premise, sounded amazing. I've gotten to page 100, and unfortunately, I can't make myself go on.

I get that he wanted to do something different with this book, but the writing is so convoluted, that I am just not enjoying it.

Here's an example: "Location former chew gum, chocolate snack, salted chips of potato, current now occupy with cylinder white paraffin encase burning string, many tiny single fire."

I thought it might be like A Clockwork Orange, where it takes you a bit to get into the flow of the writing, and once you do it's great. And I'm sure a lot of people will ultimately feel this way about the book. For me, it was too much work and not enough payoff. If there was humor, I completely missed it.

If you are interested in this book, I definitely suggest reading the first chapter which is posted on Amazon before purchasing it. It's written in the same style throughout, so if that style works for you, it may turn out to be a highly entertaining read. It just didn't work for me.
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164 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars property of jesus, May 20, 2009
By 
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
Begins here first review citizen me, web host Amazon review maker 36. Review fiction propaganda pamphlet "Pygmy." First voice confusion direct previous many review. Former many review say, "grammar bad," say, "too much work." This reviewer find opposite truth. Same now pamphlets Irvine Welsh, Anthony Burgess, need full glossary comprehend. Not so fiction pamphlet "Pygmy." Most glorious spreader fiction propaganda Chuck Palahniuk make for simple comprehend absurd dialect.

Familiar theme fiction propagandist Chuck Palahniuk repeat here. Ask reader Project Mayhem "Fight Club" picture imagine foreign terrorist organized, same now Operation Havoc. Many describe interpret outside point view Tender Branson "Survivor," same now hilarious observation agent number 67. Tender Branson values conflicted upbringing modern capitalist America, same now agent number 67. Familiar similar but progress definite. For official record, agent number 67 most funny individual but know only serve state.

"Pygmy" make joke capitalist America gimme gimme, same now make joke ideology serve only state. Most hilarious jab capitalist American shortcoming. Most disturbing portrait ideology serve only state. For official record, grand final end "Pygmy" most disappoint. Chuck Palahniuk compromise gushy nonsense finish. Fortunate not detract from story. Glorious fiction propagandist redeem from mediocre "Snuff." This reviewer find "Pygmy" rank top most remembered pamphlets "Lullaby," "Survivor," "Choke."
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56 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird, convoluted, and tough to read. That said, fun!, May 5, 2009
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This review is from: Pygmy (Kindle Edition)
This is NOT an easy book to read. That's a definite. The writing style is, to say the least, VERY interesting. Convoluted. Weird. Just downright strange.

But the story is intriguing. And while I was hoping after each chapter that the writing would be a bit more normalized in the next chapter, nonetheless, I kept reading. I had NO idea, at the end of each chapter, where in the hell this story was going. It's not often (with the exception of DeMille) that I'll sit down and read a book in one sitting. And yet, it happened with Pygmy.

So what we have is a VERY strange read, with a VERY well crafted story, told in a VERY different way. I liked it.

Oh...and some of the lines in it had me absolutely rolling. It's easy to see where a recent immigrant from an un-named country in the Pacific (read...China) could see porn as video instruction manuals that consistently fail in its premise of impregnating women. Or that jr HS dances were American pre-mating rituals. Hysterical stuff.
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59 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it., May 15, 2009
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
This book is wildly unrealistic and over the top, and personally, I loved it. The writing style is more unusual than it is unreadable, and I didn't find it at all difficult to get through.

If anything, this book is better than Palahniuk's others for putting a mirror up to American culture and saying, "Hey look, guys! I can write a book that involves murder, rape, pedophilia, sodomy, abortion, drugs, teenage sex, school shootings, and the destruction of Washington D.C., and what are you bothered by most?! Bad grammar."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a class by itselt, October 3, 2009
By 
D. Buckley "consumer 99" (Cleveland, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
While Chuck Palahniuk's PYGMY clocks in at 241 pages in the hardback edition, it reads like a short story, launching the reader directly into its world without warning, careening rapidly towards its conclusion and ending abruptly. It is richly detailed with linguistic tricks, that often read like poetry, to amuse the reader. It's pages are blotted with black censorship scars which, while superficial, still amuse. It has been rounded out with chapters that include the back story and training of the narrator, while an action-packed drama with martial arts and espionage is played out in linear time.

An observant American reader, having completed this book, is left with the glow of a new terrorist fantasy to worry about and the acute paranoid question, "Do they really think Americans are like that?". While most reviews have centered upon this story as a cynical portrayal of America, it should probably be better viewed as a cynical portrayal of the "perception of America by the outside world", which is a very timely subject and, not surprisingly, territory for GREAT humor. This is a paranoid, self-conscious American nightmare deeply rooted in the American image problem.

PYGMY is a brilliant modern work of humor that is a darkly cynical narrative of American paranoia, wrapped in the most unlikely "coming of age" story you will ever read. It is written entirely in minimalistic "Chinglish" sentences by a (probably North Korean) teenaged boy who has been transplanted to an unspecified mid-western American city to perform grass-roots acts of terrorism and topple the American way of life. With his head-full of anti-American propaganda, memorized quotations of histories greatest tyrants, communists and subversives, his brainwashed perceptions of traditional American high school culture, and his scientific understanding (or lack of understanding) of sex and sexuality, the youthful PYGMY embarks on the ill-fated mission he has trained for his entire life.

And it is totally hysterical.

Over the years I've read every Palahniuk novel, some of them several times and Invisible Monsters is still my favorite, and I look forward to each new work. PYGMY surprised me. It is the most compact/minimalistic prose and funniest book that CP has written to date. The Palaniuk hallmarks of a modern fantasy with sexual absurdity, anti-commercialism, obsessive-compulsive technical details, blatant disregard for social sensitivity, violence, and grotesquery are all employed in this book. It comes up short on including detailed human dynamics and the evolution of human emotions that are other hallmarks of Palaniuk stories, but the reader has to remember that the book only consists of the missives (called "dispatches") sent back to the homeland by "agent number 67" following military directives. And that is why this book works and what makes it so different. The literary trick of the novel being only "letters" written home by a exchange student frees the author to use colloquial language exclusively - a daring stunt executed gloriously. The Chinglish language is very popular humor right now and the author's choice of using Chinglish exclusively is to be commended. Palahniuk proves once again that he has his finger firmly on the pulse of pop culture. In past Palaniuk novels, pop culture issues have been at the core of his character's anxieties and modern dilemnas, but this time, the pop culture is in the presentation! It's clever and fun to read.

Take your time with this book, it is rich with bold humor that jumps off the page if you just have fun with it. Once you are familiar with its cadence it is a quick read, and a page turner, but if you slow down and appreciate the generosity of the author for taking the time to create this unique and funny book, you will enjoy it all the more. Admittedly, some passages had to be reread because it is just too foreign of a literary concept at moments and I got lost in a sentence, but that's ok, because it's like a roller-coaster ride for your brain - it's just fun. And some passages needed to be reread because they are just so much fun to read or I couldn't believe what I "thought" I just read and had to reread to be sure. For more fun, read passages aloud. Read them aloud to yourself or to your friends or family. When the prose is spoken aloud, the absurdity of it is outrageous and even funnier. You won't get far before your laughing and will have to stop.

I am giving PYGMY 5 stars because of its unique qualities and cutting edge story, but mostly because it's just so damn funny. This review was written after just finishing the novel this morning and I intend to immediatly read it again for a second time. I anticipate it will be even funnier and more enjoyable the second time around.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accept, please, this humble evaluation., July 1, 2009
By 
M. Torres (Lawrence, KS United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
Begins here evaluation of reader me, subject book of fiction story title "Pygmy". Thinking machine of this reader much enjoy processing story this book. First thinking machine of this reader much difficulty process sentence structure. However, thinking machine fast adjust new sentence structure, all gratitude to monumental talent revered author Chuck Palahniuk. Thinking machine this reader even begin think thoughts style this book. Under gentle guiding talented hands revered author Palahniuk, this style result very efficient way convey personality of agent name "Pygmy". This reader particularly feel enjoyment characters cat sister and pig dog brother. Only dissatisfaction this reader termination phase this book small degree abruptness. However, this complaint no diminish enjoyment of this reader. This reader recommend yellow story book "Pygmy" of Palahniuk for enjoyment of other reader. Could be hands of this reader extract decadent American credit card wallet, make whiz-bang Payment Purchase this book at bloated American book store city *******.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique...perhaps in a good way, October 4, 2009
By 
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
I listened to the book--rather than read it myself--and I think it works better that way. The text is the systematically distorted syntax of the main character, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of English and America, except for lots of important details, which he garbles or simply confuses. Listening to the text, it's hard sometimes to keep up--as you decode phrases and sentences to grok their meaning--but it becomes a fun game, and one you get better at over time (b/c the author's carefully consistent in the syntax errors of the main character--kudos for that).

As to the plot, well, I won't be recommending this book to many people on account of a few of the author's sophomoric choices. Forgiven those--and they are at least plot-relevant, mostly, the book's pretty darn entertaining, and lean enough to not wear out its welcome.

Whatever its demerits, I give this book a top rating because it is bold. Original. Damn odd. And in the multiverse of over-published America, that's saying something.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Underated and Misunderstood, September 27, 2011
This review is from: Pygmy (Paperback)
I began reading Chuck back in 2002, and I have 1/1 (1st ed 1st print) signed copy of all of his books. I do not mean to brag, but to state my knowledge of Chuck. To begin with, if you are new to Chuck, then I do not recommend this. Instead start with Fight Club, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, or Lullaby. Anyway, I believe that most hardcore Chuck fans would agree his writing style changed around Diary/Haunted. IMO he is experimenting with unconventional and unique writing styles. In Pygmy he invents his own vocabulary (the story is told from the POV of a Chinese citizen), and it takes about 100 pages to get use to it. For those that have read A Clockwork Orange by Burrgess, then you will understand what I mean. Furthermore, you need to take your time when reading this book because of the latter. However, if you are willing to give time, then I guarantee you will enjoy this book.

Post Lullaby era, Pygmy is probably my favorite for the following reasons. First, I love that he created his own vocabulary for this book. This was a huge chance, and IMO he pulled it of. Once again, Chuck satires the American Public like no one else. He makes the reader look at our society, and think how did we get to this point. Furthermore, the narrator is a Chinese Citizen, and the book unfolds through his eyes. In other words, Chuck is pointing out, in his normal satire manner, why other countries hate us.

In conclusion, this is his most misunderstood book. I believe this for the following reasons. The majority original Chuck fans hate anything past Lullaby, and have become very close minded. Second, there are a lot of new fans that are just now finding Chuck, and if this is the 3rd of 4th book of his that you read, then most likely you would not get what he is trying to do with his new books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best Work, but Good, May 16, 2009
This review is from: Pygmy (Hardcover)
Not as good as Choke, Survivor, Rant or Fight Club, but I still liked it.

The language is not hard to understand after a couple of pages and it actually provides a lot of humor and views on American culture that are really interesting.

The book is sick and twisted. This book has its own kind of humor and a crazy story. This book is written by Chuck Palahniuk and should not be so surprising.

I wish it could have been longer or had some more packed into it, but besides that I enjoyed it.

This is not a book to loan out to friends though. This is really just for Palahniuk fans.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insane Lie Capitalist Arm Break, May 11, 2009
This review is from: Pygmy (Paperback)
Writer of Portland camp give detail regarding Operation: Havoc. Will unleash Zombie Lotus Quick Kill Kick. Pow Pow. Dead in half-second. Sun burned flesh. Lie gutter. Book written amphetamine glow. Burning truth ashes collide on pages form words of golden snake writer. Incorrect verbage. Agent 67 not known at time of write book mimic ee cummings intake of LSD or thorazine. Poor television man speak of book in candid unfunny fashion not amused by terrorist threat read Operation:Havoc. Prepare enemies for quick instant death decay moves. Chimpanzee man President of sick nation of capitalists thrown to budgetary decline. Will feel wrath of Raging Swan Army and fall to fat sordid sick self. Auto manufacturers decline in production due to lazy fat pig men smoking death rolls on work interlude. Manufacturer of lie words write other book Choke describing sexual play with many warm vaginas and manufacturer of capitalist rich fat American lie words write book Lullaby telling of man digging into dead womb. Writer insane from frequent habitual drug use and love man of own sex. Recommend other books Introduction to Communist Theory and Thought containing words not manipulated by money hungry capitalists.
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Pygmy
Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - April 20, 2010)
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