Non-Fiction Text Review – Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk… Where do I start?

I must say that it’s quite the text. It’s a series of short stories and articles that were compiled together by a writer who typically publishes fiction work. In order to get the most out of this anthology, one might need to read the introduction; it provides a sort of framing device for Palahniuk’s writings.

The stories range from as wacky  and unusual as Testy Festy to as seemingly normal and journalistic as Where the Meat Comes From. Though you can still get more from the rest of the text, as there are so many different stories to choose from.

My personal favorite was My Life as a Dog, due to its suspenseful nature from the very vantage point of the author. Sure, Demolition had some action to it, but the fact that Palahniuk was experiencing the chase himself, rather than just as a view, really helped build tension for me as I read his feelings among all the conflict.

As previously mentioned, Palahniuk normally fares as a fiction author, writing award winners such as Fight Club and Invisible Monsters. This collection of one-shot stories shows off Palahniuk’s non-fiction side. He mentions in the introduction how he alternates between fact and fiction, almost never straying. Starting out with a Journalism degree (noted in Escort), Palahniuk had done what he could to make do, and Stranger Than Fiction shows off the lesser-known fruits of his labor.

There’s no over-arching story for this work. There’s not much of organization, even. Palahniuk simply divides the book into three different sections People (about certain groups he encountered), Portraits (about specific people he met), and Personal (More or less his own life experiences). With this format, Stranger than Fiction can be read in any order and not take away from the full experience.

The style of this book makes it a quick read. The paragraphs are short, language is simple, and Palahniuk avoids diddling with unnecessary details. It’s lack of censorship for seeming journalistic writing gives a nice twist of realism, letting the reader know that they are in fact reading about events that actually occurred.

All in all, I would say that the book is enjoyable. There were some parts that I could care less for, but it’s worth a read. It can give one a broader view of the odd things that go on in this world, so odd, you could say that they’re stranger than fiction.

1 comment so far ↓

#1   fuglsang on 10.16.14 at 10:02

Expand on the second and third grads, Ben. You’re writing to me, and you know I’ve read the book. Your other readers won’t have that knowledge. What’s wacky about Testy Festy? What stands out about My Life as a Dog? And keep in mind your goal is to give readers enough info for them to make the decision whether or not to read the book.

Similar comment for the last graf. It’s just as important to explain what you didn’t like as it is to detail what you did like.

You must log in to post a comment.