Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pygmy:This Book is Awkward

It's about time I got around to doing this book review. I mean I finished this thing back in January and look, almost the end of Febuary until I get around to talking about it. Better late than never I guess.

But yes, the book I'm going to be reviewing today is Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk. You may recognize that name because he's the same guy who wrote the Fight Club.

I've never actually read Fight Club and I've only seen half the movie.

The book takes place in present time and follows the story of a boy from an unnamed totalitarian country which feels like a mash-up of the USSR, North Korea and Communist China. The boy has been trained as an elite spy and with his colleagues have been "adopted" by various families in an unknown small town in the United States.

Their goal is to perform an act of terrorism only referred to as "Operation Havoc" and kill as many people as possible.

Meanwhile, my readers are questioning my tastes in books.

The book is narrated by the boy who is called Agent 67 but later goes by the name Pygmy, a nickname given by his adoptive family. This is where the book for me was very painful to read. Imagine if a robot with a poor grasp of the English language and understanding of Western culture and objects was giving reports on his how his day was. That's what Pygmy feels like.

Pygmy often refers to himself as "Operative Me", goes into long and descriptive comments on even the most mundane of tasks and occurrences. He gives unique phrases for various thing for example, crying is "bleed eye water". The grammar and the syntax of all his sentences are like that. Short, concise and but colorful. He also describes his environment in the same way, able to identify specific chemicals and compounds simply based off what he smells or sees.

I wasn't even aware you could smell Viagra off someone's breath...

It's a contrast of two cultures. The decadent, materialistic and free USA compared to the strict, militaristic and controlled Unknown nation. I didn't really enjoy this aspect either, it's kind of cliched, and felt really forced to the point where it was cartoonish.

Oh and as with any of Palahniuk's books expect violence and sexual content, this book is not for children. Not that they'd be interested, I also found the text to be kind of dense. Probably just because of Pygmy's speaking quirk.

It's not a bad read, but it certainly wasn't my favorite book ever. I've actually had this book for years but stopped reading halfway. Now I remember why.

And I'll be honest, I only bought it because I heard good things about the author, and the cover looked hilarious.

Best weapon ever.

So that concludes my first book review, any comments or suggestions for things to do in the future? Or even other books to read. I generally prefer dark humor or satire.

59 comments:

  1. I liked Fight Club but that was about it. Never read this one, sounds okay but not really one I'd wish to read. Very good review though.

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  2. The cover does look hilarious. As I type this, I have a half read book from last month next to me. Maybe I should continue.

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  3. Maybe the success of Fight Club got to his head and though he could make another bestseller? At least that's what I think.

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  4. What? You gotta finish watching Fight Club!

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  5. Given all the praise I've heard of him over Fight Club I was expecting his other books to be good too. Though I've only seen Fight Club, never gotten around to reading it.

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  6. I read his book Rant last year. It was the first of his books I had read. Very interesting. I will check this one out.

    Haunting sucked.

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  7. I never heard of the book but sounds interesting though. I'll to check it out myself :D

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  8. I always forget Fight Club was a novel too. The cover does look silly

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  9. Definitely satire over this kind of stuff. Thanks for the review, I'll be looking elsewhere when this one comes into my view.

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  10. It will never come to me, there was an English writer that a Norwegian roommate loved to read. I thought Terry Pratchett, but that was fantasy not humor so I got nothing. I'm not amused by much of late.

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  11. Never heard of the book but it sounds interesting albeit a little hard to read from what you've mentioned haha

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  12. Looks like an interesting book. I haven't read a book for a good five years or so though.

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  13. I'm the same about Fight Club man, I haven't seen all of the film myself either and definitely haven't read the book. Awesome review mate, sounds like it's an interesting book to say the very least.

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  14. reminds me of that one episode of futurama where fry gets his arm cut off

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  15. I admit to not reading Mr Palanhuik but I did see the Fight Club film. It didn't entice me to read the book version though! LOL!

    Thanks for an honest review of Pygmy. If I see this in my library, I may browse!

    p.s. Terry Pratchett books are full of wonderful humour, some satirical, some just plain funny, as well as fantasy. Ahem.
    Take care
    x

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  16. I'm attracted to books by their covers, too.

    Next time you make soup, make sure to buy the low sodium broth. Then you can add salt if it's too bland. Hope you've had a nice weekend so far~

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  17. John Dies at the End is full of dark humor. I love that book. Anyway, this sounds interesting in its own way. I actually think I'd LIKE it.

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  18. Hmmmmm, yeah, not sure if that's something I would pick up. Thanks for the good review!

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  19. Well it sounds like we have very different tastes in reading - but as far as satires go, Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" was pretty funny.

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  20. Sounds like a good book.. review. The book itself doesn't appeal that much to me though.

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  21. I don't like such stories, they are usually ignorant and biased.

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  22. I've never read anything by Palahniuk--doesn't really sound like my kind of novel, though. Thanks for the review!

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  23. Fight Club was epic...but I guess not everything he's done is genius

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  24. I need to read Fight Club and I love the fact you put a bar of soap as the reference for the book, nicely done. And yes we're getting sun but I'm sure you'll get some nice weather soon! xxx

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  25. Pygmy is actually one of my favorite books! I know it's not for everyone, but I actually liked the caricature of the US that Palahniuk paints. It was a quirky read, but I like that kind of stuff.

    Kudos to you for finishing it!

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  26. My taste in books generally falls under the fantasy range, but the John Rain series is a great set of books written by Barry Eisler. Might be worth taking a gander at.

    I think from your review of this book though I'll avoid reading Pygmy. It sounds like I'd just get frustrated with the main characters descriptions of things far too quickly.

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  27. you have too see fight club, it is a great film.

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  28. I quite enjoy dystopian sort of theme in books. I might borrow this from the library.

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  29. it actually sounds kinda interesting. i've never read fight club but i read his other book invisible monster, that was fantastic

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  30. That is a nice cover. Book sounds a bit dull, though.

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  31. Oh wow. And I didn't know about Viagra and breath either. This definitely isn't the kind of book I can see myself go to bed with. Sigh.

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  32. Loved Fight Club (movie) but this does not sounds like a book for me. Thanks for the review

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  33. Sorry kiddo, can't think of a book for you at this juncture.

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  34. It sounds alright, not sure if I could read it cover to cover though. Maybe someone could make a screen play out of it

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  35. Pygmy must be nice, Fight Club 's writer is good

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  36. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea.
    -Ryan (http://findonlinescams.blogspot.com)

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  37. I should read fight club. the movie was really good and the books are always better. I can only imagine what I'm missing in the book

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  38. I don't think you'd like the books I read.....

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  39. If I found it cheap I might give it a go.....

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  40. Sounds like an interesting read.

    I've never read Fight Club nor saw the movie. Don't yell! lol

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  41. Whait what? Does book still exist?

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  42. doesn't sound like an interesting book

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  43. I tried reading that book ages ago but got bored with it almost immediately. Maybe it's because I prefer horror novels more.

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  44. I like Fight Club, and Rant by Palahniuk. I don't know about this, though... might or might not pick it up if I come across it.

    My current favourite author is Terry Pratchett, though. Ever tried Kurt Vonnegut?

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  45. i didnt knew fight club was a book xD

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  46. i will have to look it up, thanks for it bro

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  47. the emails keep coming from random adult sites and have these semi amtauer nudes in em. dont read em, but I do check out hte pics on a daily basis, usually get anywhere between 3-6 of these a day

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  48. Thanks for your input! I would be curious to read it now.

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  49. This is definitely an interesting book. I have seen the movie the fight club, it's quite good but haven't read the book.

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  50. Sounds like an...interesting book? I'm sure the other people in the comments have said this, but I would suggest either reading the Fight Club book or watching the entire movie. One of my favorite movies ever. But, I liked your book review...it made me actually want to read the book, even though it sounds quite odd.

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