The Skinny Event - Chuck Palahniuk @ Charlotte Square Gardens, 16 Aug

Everything smart that Brad Pitt parroted in Fincher's Fight Club came straight from Palahniuk's keyboard

Preview by Lindsay West | 31 Jul 2008
  • Chuck Palahniuk

Friends, readers, cult fiction fanciers; you are hereby cordially invited to the union of two fractious, brazen youths of the literary world - prodigious U.S. novelist Chuck Palahniuk, and your humble Skinny magazine. If this were a real wedding, it would be the kind where the plates are paper and the night ends with a nice, cleansing brawl. We'd all say too much, drink too much, and live happily ever after. Failing this, however, we'll settle for an hour of quality time at the Edinburgh Book Festival, gleefully egging on the antics of one of the most exciting and subversive novelists around.

Probably best known for Fight Club, Palahniuk's oeuvre might crudely be summarised as tales of offbeat emotional crutches, perverse coping mechanisms and adventures in extremism, set within an eerily familiar world of bigger, faster, more, again. His sex addicts, sociopaths and cultists scrawl obscene grafitti and hijack planes, cursing, blaspheming, and revelling in the dankest of details. But don't be fooled by this penchant for the extreme - there isn't a 'fuck' in Palahniuk's work that's just for fuck's sake. From Choke to Rant, this is considered, compact minimalism; drum-tight and rife with research, no matter how you might feel about the choice of topic. Know that the housewive's remedies punctuating Survivor will really get your stuff clean. And know too, that everything smart that Brad Pitt parroted in Fincher's Fight Club came straight from Palahniuk's keyboard.

The centrepiece of Palahniuk's Edinburgh visit will be his ninth novel, Snuff; the tale of a six-hundred-men-on-one-porn-star world record attempt. If this prospect weren't enough to get Book Festival bums-on-seats, potential Edinburgh attendees might also be interested to note that Palahniuk's book readings and signing sessions have become legendary in and of themselves. With random prop 'rewards' frequently exchanged for audience questions, and the last documented number of faintings standing at 73 (thanks to readings of the literally stomach-wrenching short story 'Guts'), the odds of a dull Q&A session are about as high as they are of the novel being tame.

So stop resisting: join the cult, and test out the idea that the provocative and the intelligent may not actually be mutually exclusive. We'll save you a seat.

Chuck Palahniuk will be appearing at The Edinburgh International Book Festival on 16 Aug from 8pm until 9pm.

£9 (£7)