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Stranger Than Fiction

Sex, drugs, wrestling and messiness all grace this book of essays by Palahniuk. Fascinating stuff. People who like the things he writes won’t be disappointed. There’s interesting interviews like the one with Marilyn Manson, dull ones like the one with Juliette Lewis, and a lot of stories about Palahniuk being places or talking to people and being like a fish out of water. Exactly like you would expect him to be. He paints himself into his stories the same way he writes a lot of his characters: slightly out of step with odd desires or concerns that are his alone. It’s great reading and the pieces are shorter than the ones I’m used, so you get a great overview of the way his mind works. Lots of anecdotes about Fight Club, and meeting famous people, and doing dorky things. Not a lot of hubris, or bragadoccio. He discusses his Dad’s murder but doesn’t dwell on it. He makes himself seem like you or I. Only famous, now anyways.

The most capitavting part of this book is about what isn’t in it. The intro and all other supporting material scream “these are true stories, this is how it IS” and yet never once in the entire book does Palahniuk mention that he’s gay. Has been for years. Lives with a guy. He makes an offhanded mention about pals of his that work out and use steroids, but also talks about ogling women and has a few frank discussions about sex. This, of course, makes a lot of his straight-talking seem like so much artifice. On the other hand, that just makes it all the more brilliant, to me. You’re so sure he’s being straight with you, and he is, mostly, but really he’s just telling you another story, only this time it’s “true.”