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Snuff Hardcover – May 20, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Palahniuk's audacious ninth novel tells the story of Cassie Wright, an aging porn queen who intends to put an exclamation point on her career by having sex with 600 men in one day on film. The story begins with Mr. 600—the pornosaur who introduced Cassie to the business—as he describes the other 599 actors awaiting their moment on screen. The perspective then shifts to Mr. 72, an adopted Midwestern 20-something who is one of the many young men claiming to be Cassie's long-lost son. Mr. 137, a has-been television star hoping to revive his career, wants to ask Cassie's hand in marriage so that the two can star in a reality TV show. But for a novel centered around a gargantuan gangbang, there's surprisingly little action; the small amount of narrative movement takes place backstage, where the characters attempt to get a sense of one another while waiting for their number to be called. There are sharp moments when Palahniuk compassionately and candidly examines the flesh-on-film industry, but mostly this reads like a cross between the Spice Channel and Days of Our Lives. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Palahniuk has followed his tendency towards sensationalism to its logical conclusion and written a novel about a pornographic film, to mixed reactions. Naysayers wrote that Snuff either failed in its satirical role or, worse, Palahniuk has simply run out of ideas and only wants to make readers cringe. Yet other reviewers felt that, as in previous novels, Palahniuk’s strong, character-driven explorations of the unseemly actually reveal a great deal about our society. Certainly, he riffs cleverly on Cassie’s cinematic history (“Gropes of Wrath,” for example). But Palahniuk’s play on movies and literature in the context of this novel perhaps points to an important question raised by the New York Times Book Review: “What the hell is going on? The country that produced Melville, Twain and James now venerates King, Crichton, Grisham, Sebold and Palahniuk.”
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385517882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385517881
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's novels are the bestselling Fight Club, which was made into a film by director David Fincher, Diary, Lullaby, Survivor, Haunted, and Invisible Monsters. Portions of Choke have appeared in Playboy, and Palahniuk's nonfiction work has been published by Gear, Black Book, The Stranger, and the Los Angeles Times. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

140 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Mark Eremite VINE VOICE on May 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No amount of bad reviews will stop a Palahniuk fan from buying one of his books. I oughta know. I'm one of those fans.

I'm the first to admit that Palahniuk is a one-trick pony, but let's face it, it's a pretty good trick. There are times where it has worn thin, and others where it has struck gold. Essentially, Chuck (may I call you Chuck?) takes a few premises, milks the gastric juices out of them, and tries to blend a cocktail with a little social or psychological merit.

SNUFF, a brisk biopsy of porn, has all the trademark Palahniuk panache, but very little of his elusive elan. Chuck's not what you would call very nice to most of his characters, but buried under vivid piles of meat and blood, they still have hearts, and souls, and yens. Chuck shows us their voids, and whether or not they fill them, somehow we still manage to care.

There are lots of voids in SNUFF, and they get filled in gruesome and graphic detail, but none of them are very much other than raw, pointless wounds. The story, about an aging porn star who wants to break records with a 600-man gang bang, grasps at a few emotional straws -- failed parents and failed dreams -- but never really holds on tightly enough for any of it to matter. It's very much a "going through the motions" installment.

The motions themselves are alright, I suppose, although some of them are bizarrely out of place.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sir Charles Panther VINE VOICE on October 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
An over-the-hill porn star wants to go out with a (gang) bang, so arranges for a world record effort with 600 stout and hearty fellows, brave and true. A few of this cast of hundreds are there for more than their allotted 60 seconds of, ah, contact with the legend. She has deep ulterior motives, as do each of the featured characters, and all of their twisted narratives come together in the concluding pages.

Someone is supposed to die as this event climaxes, and most of the folks know it, although their perceptions of the who, when and how don't quite match up. The plans go a bit off the rails, and everyone gets more or less what they deserve.

The main characters certainly have had enough of the world, with what they have made of it, with their fortunes having turned on single instances and bad choices, in this case almost all of them sexual. Most everyone is ragingly bitter and resentful, untrue and self-serving, bent on rectifying only their problems, regardless of effects on others. The story runs on damaged adults hurting others, intentionally and instinctively, out of selfishness and revenge, or even to manufacture a more compatible companion. It's about the need for fame, the need for redemption, the resentment of future lost, and the clawing need to retain one's perceived best position, all taking place in arena of porn, the "...job you only take after you abandon all hope."

This is not a novel about the sex industry, but there is some behind-the-scenes detail. Palahniuk's detailed portrait of the washed-up porn star Miss Cassie Wright is not as complete and detailed as I had anticipated. I don't know why, but every time I pictured her, a strange combination of Kitten Natividad and Lisa DeLeeuw came to mind. Ah, but I digress.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By B. Hall on June 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First off, let me say that this book is not bad because of its offensive content. In fact, it was less shocking in content and detail than I expected it would be. However, it was bad. Just plain bad. The characters are flat, unlikeable, and boring (not to mention that the four different narrators all sound the same). The plotline goes nowhere. The ending is infuriatingly illogical, unrealistic, and a twist ending for the sake of a twist ending. I like Palahniuk, but this one was awful.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rod Rambush on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Yes, I know Chuck Palahniuk is not to be taken seriously. Yes, I know all his books have plots that do not dive too far into the deep end. Yes, I know his books all have those small little twists that are supposed to bring a smile to our faces. Even knowing all that, SNUFF is one of the worst books I have ever read. And read it I did, until the predictable, unfunny and bitter end.

The story of the world's most famous pornstar giving everything for her last movie, SNUFF actually shifts focus between four different characters, none of them being the famous pornstar herself. The characters are not merely shallow (this is Palahniuk, after all), they are, even worse, boring. None are developed enough to capture our attention, none are witty enough to make us chuckle. And the one with the autograph dog! Really, just how dumb can we get?

We see most of the 'twists' a mile off, and the ones we don't, well, they're really not all that anyway. Added to this is Palahniuk's use of 'factoids' that are clearly filler material for anything better. By the end of SNUFF, I felt like I was the main attraction in such a film and death was to be produced by...reading SNUFF
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