Saturday, March 23, 2013
This post is long overdue. But last evening, on my way back home I was thinking about Palahniuk's characters and how uncomfortable they can be, yet in the end they soothe my feelings of inadequcy and actually reamp my will to fight. Because Madison in Damned and Daisy St. Patience in Invisible Monsters and Rant Casey in Rant and Tender Branson in Survivor and Victor Mancini in Choke are basically walking disasters, each of them has something really fucked up about them. But they are somehow involutarily screwed. Most of them had been groomed or ignored into who they became by their parents, and Freud seldom sleeps in Chuck's novels. Actually, most of his main characters are unwilling participants into something greater than themselves, and this is the case also with Lullaby, Diary, Haunted and, of course, Fight Club. They get sucked into this great scheme of things, where they are underdogs and victims and sometimes heroes for a while, either it's hell after comminting suicide, or an initiatic journey, or Party Crashing, or becoming a religious celebrity, or being a sex addict, or a huge art insurance scheme, or murderous black magic, or a writer's retreat turned slaughterhouse or, well, Fight Club. And then, when your world and theirs are all upside down, they rise above. In one way or another, there's something about most of Chuck's protagonists that makes them famous or delivers them from their wretched lives or turns them into modern-day Jesuses. And it's something entirely of their own. It's their courage or their innocence, their pure desire to fix things, to survive and beat evil, their need to save and be saved, to transform a life of pain and boredom and retarded social labels into something meaningful. They may be ugly, disabled, addicts, slaves, outcasts and whimps, but they each have one specific something (even stemming from their flaws) that takes them to greatness, in some form of it or another. It doesn't always mean salvation, but it does most of the times mean catharsis. I think if Chuck wasn't so effervescent, if he didn't use so many facts, if he didn't make me think "I see what you did there" every few pages, if he didn't awe and amuse and turn stomachs quite so much, I'd still love him most of all my Chucks just because his books would leave me with a wicked aftertaste, somewhere between fucked up and good.