© 2011 Emma Mould
Monday, 30 May 2011
Sweat Collects: Chuck Palahniuk's 'Snuff'
(Written to convince the editor of bookmunch to make me a contributor)
With ‘Snuff’, Chuck Palahniuk continues to explore a kind of post-modern macabre where all human relations descend into ridiculous and gross depravity. Porn legend, Cassie Wright, is intending to end her porn career by putting Annabel Chong to shame- having sex with six hundred men and breaking the world record. The event unfolds through the perspective of four interlocking narratives; three nameless men waiting for their turn plus Sheila, the talent wrangler who initially pitched the film to Cassie and is in charge of organising all six-hundred ‘pud-pullers’ as she calls them. The male characters range from the naïve to the disgusting- Palahniuk is fantastic at creating everyday monsters, characters whose inhumanity are never as showy or glamorous as say, Bret Easton’s Ellis’s. Instead, they are empty and cold in a dull and pathetic way and Palahniuk manages to convey this superbly in sparse and unforgiving prose. Sheila too, seems as cold and detached as anyone who has spent too long turning sex into a commodity but her cynical denouncements of the men around her and the sex industry are both humorous and astute: ‘Going to Spring break at Fort Lauderdale, getting drunk and flashing your breasts isn’t an act of personal empowerment. It’s you, so fashioned and programmed by the construct of patriarchal society that you no longer know what’s best for yourself’.