HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread…
Loading...

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread (2015)

by Chuck Palahniuk

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
216953,956 (3.4)2

None.

To Read (244)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A compilation of 21 stories and one novella from Chick Palahniuk (Fight Club) that are funny, bizarre, poignant and in many cases incredibly disturbing (thus the subtitle of Stories You Can't Unread.) In "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing 'relief' to dying clients. My favorite was ) "Zombies," where high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze: electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators (thus rendering them less than prep school ready).- I actually found this story hopeful—the description of effect of addition and self-hurt on the entire community was very moving. However for the most part I found these stories disturbing (not in a good way), gross and at times unreadable. I was surprised at the end that could actually force myself to finish this collection. 1 out of 5 stars (though I would give Zombies a 4 out of 5 stars)> ( )
  marsap | Dec 21, 2016 |
While I always appreciate when an author can display a creative and playful bizarreness to his work, and while this was certainly one very strange collection, I was left not really connecting with so many of these short stories. Maybe it was just my state of mind. Maybe I should take it out of my free library donation stack, or maybe I should just admit defeat, and move on. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 18, 2016 |
Wonderful concentrated shots of Palahniuk. Delightful and disturbing. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display. In a precursor story to Fight Club, we ee a side of Tyler Durden never seen before. ( )
1 vote zenhead | Apr 6, 2016 |
Knock Knock - Starts this collection off in true Palahniuk fashion. This tale of a man telling jokes at his dying father's bedside, and reminiscing about their past is full of sentimental pathos - but is also guaranteed to have you cringing in discomfort.

Eleanor - The main point of this piece seems to be how many malapropisms can be shoved into a piece of writing, while retaining its basic comprehensibility. The malapropisms also serve as double-entendres, for example: 'Jehovah's Witless.' Most of the substituted words are actually funnier than that, throwing an added layer of meaning onto the events. However, although clever, I found it ultimately annoying.

How Monkey Got Married, Bought A House, and Found Happiness in Orlando - An African folktale veneer overlies a strange little story of a young woman who goes into marketing. Incidentally, the title is not very representative of the content.

Zombies - Have you ever felt that all your problems might stem from being too smart, and that life would be easier if you were lobotomized? Well, yes, most people would find self-administered lobotomies pretty terrifying and repulsive, and that's what this story of it becoming a fad/epidemic among disaffected teens hinges on.

Loser - Frat boy becomes a contestant on 'The Price is Right' while tripping on acid. Manic, with a dash of irony.

Red Sultan's Big Boy - Wow. It begins as a tale of a well-to-do dad seeking to assuage his young daughter's grief by buying her a horse to replace a beloved pet that recently died. But the dynamics shift, and it becomes something quite different. This is a thoughtful, insightful story - if you can get past the subject matter, which is not for the squeamish.

Romance - A guy who knows he's 'nothing special' meets a gorgeous woman on the way to Lollapalooza, and the next thing you know, is head-over-heels in love. But, given that this is Palahniuk, you kind of know that a disturbing twist is coming... watch for the clues!

Cannibal - Hmm, well, this one succeeds in being disgusting, but I wasn't convinced on a logical level. High school angst about sex is taken to a new level.

Why Coyote Never Had Money for Parking - Back in pseudo-folktale-land, we meet another employee of the food marketing company we found out about in "How Monkey Got Married..." This redneck-ish young man has found himself living in the ghetto, saddled with a wife and baby, his dreams of rockstar-dom gone up in smoke.

Phoenix - A woman away on a business trip worries about being away from her toddler for the first time. Intercut with this are scenes that gradually reveal details of a house fire their family experienced. Nicely paced, with the feel of a thriller.

The Facts of Life - Learning the details of 'how babies are made' might come as a shock to many six-year-olds. But this 'talk' that a father has with his young son is designed to shock even the most jaded reader.

Cold Calling - Hmm. When I was a Teenage Telemarketer, I actually never did encounter anyone who heaped racist abuse upon me.
Nevertheless, this story about several levels of bigotry and false assumptions is thought-provoking, and well-crafted.

The Toad Prince - Yet another gross-out extravaganza; this one taking teenage sex right into the realm of the bizarro.

Smoke - Ever just really, really not been in the mood to make small talk? If so, this story might speak to you.

Torcher - Cynicism and affectionate humor mix in this quirky almost-mystery about a murder at the Burning Man festival.

Liturgy - It's a send-up of life in gated communities, and of homeowners' associations - and it's also gross.

Why Aardvark Never Landed - Sometimes things are funny because they're true. But this faux-folktale is more heartbreakingly sad because it's true. Some people might think it's funny, too... but I couldn't bring myself there. It's about school bullies, and the effect they have on some of their victims.

Fetch - Can it be? A sweet, heartwarming, positive story from Palahniuk? I absolutely loved this tale of a haunted tennis ball. (It's not without its creepy moments.)

Expedition - An homage to the writings of the Marquis de Sade; this story takes the ready into the dark underbelly of the Paris of a bygone era - both figuratively and literally. I really enjoyed this one - the affected writing style might not wholly convince (although it has an amusing explanation) but the themes tackled are quite effectively done.

Mister Elegant - An 'inside' look at life as a traveling male stripper. As you might expect, there are some cringe-worthy moments.

Tunnel of Love - Here, we meet a massage therapist who specializes in something quite different from what we think of as 'happy endings.' Although, one could say that's exactly what he specializes in.

Inclinations - My favorite story in the book. It's disgusting. It's terrifying. It's over-the-top. But it also captures perfectly a certain mentality of teenage-hood, that I don't think I've ever seen depicted quite so clearly. It's where your experience of the world is limited, and reality seems so awful, that it also seems that just about anything is possible. It also shows a certain kind of flawed - but heroic - decision-making process that is sad and yet admirable at the same time... and also, all-too-familiar. It's tragic, and, if you read much about teen 'reform school' programs, much closer to truth than is comfortable.

How A Jew Saved Christmas - Palahniuk writing a heartwarming Christmas story? Yes, it happened! Which is not to say that there aren't some wince-worthy moments along the way, in this story of nasty office politics and a Secret Santa that goes wrong.


Overall, this is the sort of collection that it's hard to give a 'star rating' to. Either you're going to like Palahniuk's style and themes - or you're not. It's definitely not for everyone. But, although I feel that at times the gross-out element veers into the gratuitous, at other times it's effective and appropriate. There's more going on here than just the shock factor. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This is definitely not a book for the young, young adults, the faint of heart, or the easily offended. There are 21 short stories and I do not believe they should be read all at once in a series. The directions Palahniuk leads the reader are too many. There are wide differences between stories in language and vocabulary as well as themes. It is a good idea to read one story, reflect on it, and then proceed.
The best story to start with is "Expedition." It was the 19th story in my collection and I read it in order. I felt that had I read it first I would have been able to better appreciate Palahniuk's mindset. In this story he is writing about writing. What is the responsibility or role of the creative writer?
There are messages in almost every story that apply to those of us in the "normal" world. But the settings in which the messages are delivered are many times gory and gruesome.
However, it is the sort of dark writing I like, hence the several stars. ( )
  ajarn7086 | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
****

Notes From The Transgressive Underground.

If Fight Club is the only thing that pops into your head when you hear the name Chuck Palahniuk, then you have some reading to do. I can understand if that is the first thing that pops into your head, because that was a great work that had the luck to be in the right place at the write time, but Mr. Palahniuk has written a fistfull of novels since then, and some non-fiction, and now he has written Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, a collection of short fiction.

Most collections have some hits, some misses and some filler, and this collection, made up of stories both published and unpublished, is about the same. Mr. Palahniuk’s unique style and voice, however, make them all unmistakably his. As usual, Mr. Palahniuk creates gritty, mundane characters that you invest in immediately. These are people whom we would overlook if we saw them on the street, or shy away from up close, but Mr. Palahniuk shows us their humanity up close, in all of its terrible reality.

In Knock Knock we meet a man who for his entire life has been the butt of his “old man’s” jokes, and as a result doesn't understand when not to joke. Red Sultan’s Big Boy is an innocent horse with the reputation of a sinner. The Jew That Saved Christmas is a vision of everyone’s worst Secret Santa nightmare exchange. The novella Excursion is a precursor to Fight Club, and shows a side to Tyler Durden that is both incisive and new. One thing that ties these disparate tales together is Mr. Palahniuk’s ability to make the strange ordinary, and the ordinary more interesting than anything we see in our everyday lives. He could make every tedious moment of a grocery store clerk’s eight hour shift fascinating.

Make Something Up contains over a decade’s worth of work, so the quality is sometimes uneven, but the one thing that is consistent is Mr. Palahniuk’s insistence on pushing his fiction to the edge. Are these stories funny, sarcastic and poignant? Yes. Are they graphic, disturbing and grotesque? Yes. Should you read them for yourself to find out which is which? Once again, yes. Just don’t be surprised to find that most are a bit of both.

Review by: Jenn Rollison and Mark Palm
Full Reviews Available at: http://www.thebookendfamily.weebly.co...
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
My old man, he makes everything into a big joke
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385538057, Hardcover)

Stories you'll never forget—just try—from literature's favorite transgressive author

     Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display; in "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze: electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators. In "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing 'relief' to dying clients. And in "Excursion," fans will be thrilled to find to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precusor story to Fight Club.
     Funny, caustic, bizarre, poignant; these stories represent everything readers have come to love and expect from Chuck Palahniuk.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:53 -0400)

"Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display: In "Zombies," the best and brightest of a high school prep school become tragically addicted to the latest drug craze: electric shocks from cardiac defibrillators. In "Knock, Knock," a son hopes to tell one last off-color joke to a father in his final moments, while in "Tunnel of Love," a massage therapist runs the curious practice of providing 'relief' to dying clients. And in "Excursion," fans will be thrilled to find to see a side of Tyler Durden never seen before in a precursor story to Fight Club."--… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
72 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.4)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 3
2.5 2
3 6
3.5 3
4 7
4.5 2
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 119,589,002 books! | Top bar: Always visible