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From Bookmarks Magazine
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B0010SEMGY
- Publisher : Anchor; 1st edition (May 20, 2008)
- Publication date : May 20, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 2621 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 208 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #151,990 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is the third novel by author Chuck Palahniuk and once again he proves why he should be crowned the king of the bizarre sides of the human psyche. While his tales aren't necessarily horror in the scary sense, they are definitely horror in the fact that they are so disturbing that they will stay with you for a long time to come. This is the second story I've read by him that delves into the twisted dark vortex of sexual deviancy. Palahniuk has a way of opening up the human mind and showing the readers the real darkness that can lie within.
There is a lot of strong language and extremely graphic sexual scenes dealing with the porn industry so go into this book knowing this. The other thing I noted was that I wish there was at least one chapter told from the point of view of Cassie. We catch a glimpse of her through her conversations with her personal assistant but I felt it could use a bit more.
I gave this one a 4 out of 5. The characters are well developed and though I speculated on the outcome of this plot as it unravelled I was still surprised by the ending. From beginning to end, I kept being shocked by things that happened and it creeped me out knowing that these thoughts and acts could really happen. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Mr. Palahniuk and to those that like to be shocked and are not easily offended.
There were some interesting aspects of the novel though. Each chapter in the novel was told by a different character, and as the novel progressed, we learned a decent amount about each character from hearing a bit of the story from their side, which their personality and bias, and with their perspective. This worked to at least allow us to get to know each character while still moving through the story. It just would have been nice if there was some development in the characters as they made their way through the story, rather then just getting to know them. I think that is an important distinction to make in this novel. You absolutely do get to know each of the characters and their motives for being at the scene and what they want out of it. But the characters feel static in the story. They feel like riders at time letting the story drive them, rather then the characters driving the story.
So, I would not recommend this to someone looking for an entry to Chuck Palahniuk's works. I think there are better novels to start with. However, if you are a fan of his novels, I think there is something different and something you might find interesting here, and would not necessarily say it is a must read, but I think that it is still a rather quick and fairly enjoyable read overall.
Palahniuk's "Snuff", however, has disappointed many a die-hard fan with the lack of substance and the feeling of being hit over the head with so many porn references, you actually feel a bit filthy when you're done reading it.
"Snuff" is a story told from the different perspectives of "Sheila", "Mr. 600", "Mr. 72", and "Mr. 137", all playing a role in the production of World Whore Three, a film that aging porn queen Cassie Wright, (the fictional equivalent to Jenna Jameson), is trying to film as a final hurrah. In it, Cassie will attempt to film the blowout of her career by having sex with 600 different men. The common idea is that Cassie will die by the end of the production, figuring the human body cannot take so much action, but someone may have a plan to kill her before that happens. Either way, they'll all go down in history for being a part of this, so it doesn't matter when she dies, right?
The entire story takes place mainly in the greenroom of this porn production, where 600 men are standing around naked, waiting for their turn with Cassie. They all have their numbers written on their arm and await "Sheila's", (the wrangler's), cattle call to bring them in for their 15 seconds of fame. During their waiting period, they try to get to know each other a bit better to pass the time and end up discovering things about each other that they would rather not have known in the first place.
The book focuses more on "Mr. 600", "Mr. 72" and "Mr. 137", mainly because each of them has a larger reason for being there than to just be part of the production. "Mr. 600" is a fellow aging porn star who starts off the narration in this book. He is the one who introduced Cassie Wright to the world of porn in the first place and he hasn't quite come to terms with the fact that he isn't as young as he used to be. He's been in the business a long time, which gives him the right to judge everyone else in the room while he shaves the tiniest hairs off of every inch of his body.
"Sheila" is the wrangler who is gathering up three men at a time to go in and have their few seconds with Cassie. She has been a personal assistant to Cassie in the past, and it is through their interaction that we get our only tidbits of trivia in the book. She helped Cassie set up this production and pick the actors whom she'd be with on film.
"Mr. 72" is a sad character whose sex life was ruined when he was younger. He spent a lot of time fantasizing over Cassie as a young man, going so far as to work extra hard at odd jobs to save up enough money for a life-size, realistic blow-up doll of her, only to find out from his adopted mother, while still in the act with the doll, that Cassie is supposedly his real-life mother. He has come to this production, bouquet of roses in hand, to try and save her from the life she has lived.
"Mr. 137" is a has-been television star who is hoping to start anew by asking for Cassie's hand in marriage and selling their life together as a reality television show. He has done some things in his past he wasn't proud of, like starred in a homosexual gangbang porn film, and when he tried to tell his father that he was gay, his father refused to hear it, saying that the son only felt that way because his father touched him when he was younger. The other men in the greenroom speculate from his appearance that he might be diseased.
The problem with this book, as opposed to other Palahniuk novels is that it almost feels rushed. You want so much more from these characters, to understand them better, but you only get a vague sense of their characters from minor experiences in their pasts that provide a small inkling into their possibly deeper interiors. The satire for which Palahniuk is so well known is still apparent, but the story seems to actually become a satire of itself.
This is a very short read with larger type that fools you into thinking the book is longer based on its thicker pages. This book gives off the impression that it should have been a novella, but was marketed as a novel. Also, the trivia facts that always make Palahniuk's books gleam and make even a weaker story worth the read are few and far between in this book. The taste Palahniuk does give you comes mostly from Cassie, a source not entirely intelligent and quite apathetic, which has you questioning the credibility of these so-called "facts".
If you have never read Palahniuk before, you should not start with this book. The better choices would be the obvious "Fight Club" or "Invisible Monsters".
Top reviews from other countries
The story is certainly an interesting one, with a popular adult film actress Cassie Wright wanting to end her career on a high by breaking a very notorious world record. On hand to help her out are several volunteers, including the narrators of this book, numbers 72, 137 and 600, three guys from different backgrounds who all want to take part for different reasons, and Ms Wright's faithful assistant Sheila.
So, the subject matter is not going to suit everyone. Now that is out of the way, what we have here is a book full of dark humour, some childish laughs but done well, some more dark and twisted, and some very unique writing. If this story in any way mirrors the real adult entertainment industry well forget any thoughts that this world being glamourous. The picture Palahniuk paints is one that is grimy, sleazy and stinking. And yet, despite this bleak picture and most of the characters being pretty unlikeable, I found the whole story gripping and was sorry to reach the end.
The general consensus among reviewers seems to be that this is not one of Palahniuk's best books. I'm not sure I agree, but so far I have enjoyed each one that I have read and it is hard to pick a favourite. If you prefer long weighty novels then my only criticism would be that this book is pretty short, but I think the story was as long as it needed to be, any more would have been unneccesary bloating.
In closing, if you are not offended by the subject matter dealt with here, and you enjoy dark humour, I think Snuff is well worth reading.
Sure, it’s your familiar obscene Palahniuk premise; throw in some twist and turns, some degrading circumstances, add a sprinkle of cringe and you're left with Snuff.
This kitsch-art piece of contemporary literature. And just like kitsch art, you're being forced to feel emotions for something that isn’t there (at least not on a surface level). Hell, not even on a deeper level for that matter.
'Snuff' is one of Palahniuk's worst, so definitely don't read this if you've never read any of his previous novels (Start with either Fight Club or Invisible Monsters).
I really tried to get past the fact that this book is basically about a gang-bang, I wanted there to be a fascinating plot which just happened to be based on the set of a pornographic film, which is how I explained the cover to work colleagues.
In the end it's a thriller by the numbers with a couple of twists, a bit of misdirection and the finale is disappointing.