Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pygmy ~ Chuck Palahniuk

Pygmy is a diminutive 13 year old terrorist from a country/state that is never named, but is likened to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and China.  This ‘country’ has arranged for several of its young ‘operatives’ to stay with host families in America as a kind of student program.  

The operative’s mission is code-named ‘Havoc’ (surprise surprise for a Chuck Palahniuk novel!!), and it is to take place at the National Science Fair where money tainted with a neurotoxin will be released and it is hoped that the money will be spread around until all the capitalists are killed.

This story is told via Pygmy’s regular dispatches to his superiors, and is written in a drone-like pigeon English which at first is quite hard to read, but you do get into the rhythm of it.  As well as learning about Pygmy’s time in America you also find out about his formative years and his training leading up to the mission. Pygmy rarely mentions actual names, so his host family, the Cedars, become familiar to us as ‘Pig Dog Brother’, ‘Cat Sister’, ‘Cow Father’ and  ‘Chicken Mother’. Things look dire for America with such indoctrinated and well trained operatives, but things do go a little awry when Pygmy realises that deep down he does feel emotion and that strange feeling is actually fondness for his host ‘cat sister’.

Pygmy is a satire on Western, particularly American, consumerism and greed. It is certainly a very original novel, not just for the plotline but also in the way that it is written.  After reading the first chapter I debated whether to make my life a misery over the next few days or just forget it and move onto something else.  Luckily I decided to persevere and I read a very clever, shocking and funny novel.

I don’t recommend Palahniuk novels to people I know as he’s very confronting and not to everyone’s taste, a lot of readers I know would be offended by his work.  But, for the record, I thought this was a great novel though I think he has limited his readership because of the narrative voice.

For more info on Pygmy and other Chuck Palahniuk novels visit http://chuckpalahniuk.net/books/pygmy

Happy Reading!


Maxine

3 comments:

  1. "and it is to take place at the National Science Fair where money tainted with a neurotoxin will be released and it is hoped that the money will be
    spread around until all the capitalists are killed."

    Truly sounds like something a thirteen-year-old terrorist would hope for. May end up killing non-capitalists too, himself included, as money circulates like the wind.

    But I fancy the idea.

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  2. Well I guess fanatics don't think logically LOL !

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