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Snuff Hardcover – May 20, 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews

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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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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By Jesse on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chuck Palahniuk fell off after Fight Club and Choke. IMO he seems like he is tring to surpass those books. It's like he just keeps coming up with things that are more outrageous in a desperate attempt to please the reader. I am Jack's disappointed reader.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book years ago when I had read a lot of Palahniuk's stuff and enjoyed it a lot. For some reason this one sat on my bookshelf unread for a long time. I did not miss much. The story is completely unentertaining. It is told through the eyes of a handful of different people at a pornography production, not one of them is interesting for any reason. I got the sense that they were all damaged passengers on a screwed up train heading towards an inevitable tragic collision, which I guess is an appropriate metaphor for the types of people who would show up to be involved in the sort of production for which they've all assembled.
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By Amber O on July 11, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Perhaps because I am such a huge fan of Palahniuk, I was more disappointed with this book than I would have been from any other author. I grew enthusiastically used to the sharp cultural satire present in the rest of his works that I expected the same in this one. While it is a nice jab at the porn industry, it has the same shortcomings - substance. The plot and characters have interesting, potentially humorous twists, but never quite fully pan out. While reading it, I was fully entertained, but after finishing I realized that it was entirely forgettable - definitely not up to Chuck's earlier performances. I distinctly remember reactions and emotions I felt from his books from 3 years ago, but not from "Snuff" 2 weeks ago.
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