Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I feel icky.
Chuck Palahniuk's take on the porn industry blows wades of sex euphemisms all over the reader like moneyshots at a gangbang. The language is as base as the subject matter. The characters have all the nuance of a cookie cutter. The plot, slightly more complicated than the old school "I've come to fix the pool" porn of yesteryear, is nonetheless as formulaic as a whodunit mystery. And yes, all this works in the author's favor. He is, after all, writing about porn.
Is this titillation pure and simple, or is this an important truth? To me, it seems filled to the brim with both. Like moths to light, certain kinds of people seem drawn to join the porn industry. In evening news programs like 60 Minutes they've often been depicted as having preexisting "damaged" traits. Palahniuk plays this up to the hilt and then takes it a step further, going into the Hollywood world for examples of actors and actresses drawn to the flame of stardom, some on the cusp of making it only to fall into the necessity of making ends meet. But Palahniuk casts about too far in piling on the shocking examples of movie industry mishaps, which drift so far from the point as to nearly devolve into the sort of sensationalistic headlines found on the cover of gossip mags in the counter aisle.