Diary (Chuck Palahniuk)Chuck Palahniuk
Anchor Books
2003

Today is the longest day of the year—but anymore, everyday is. The weather today is increasing concern followed by full blown dread. The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing.

Misty Wilmott has had it. Once a promising young artist, she’s drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, and his clients are threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they’ve discovered on the walls of houses he remodeled. Suddenly, Misty’s artistic talent returns. Inspired but confused by a burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives.

Diary is Chuck Palahniuk’s sixth novel, and the third one of his that I’ve read overall. I will admit, Palahniuk’s style of writing is rather unique and intriguing, kind of a stream-of-consciousness by way of fever dream. One might say it’s kind of a William S. Burroughs of the time, with a liberal peppering of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. But, just so you know, I’m not trying to paint him as the sum of those parts—Chuck Palahniuk is Chuck Palahniuk. Period.

Diary, it seems, is one of the three titles that fall in the so-called “horror trilogy”, including Lullaby and Haunted. This is more psychological horror than the violent splatterfest most would associate with the word “horror”; and in Palahniuk’s writing style, the sense of paranoia and mounting dread is amplified with a shiny coat of surreal dark humor and a rather twisted point-of-view. The whole thing is deliciously off-putting, and by the time you got to the end all too soon, you begin to question your own sanity itself.

Overall, Diary was a nice little mind-bending vacation from reality.

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