The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park--Chuck Palahniuk's finest novel since the generation-defining Fight Club.
"Begins here first account of operative me, agent number 67 on arrival Midwestern American airport greater _____ area. Flight _____. Date _____. Priority mission top success to complete. Code name: Operation Havoc."
Thus speaks Pygmy, one of a handful of young adults from a totalitarian state sent to the United States, disguised as exchange students, to live with typical American families and blend in, all the while planning an unspecified act of massive terrorism. Palahniuk depicts Midwestern life through the eyes of this thoroughly indoctrinated little killer, who hates us with a passion, in this cunning double-edged satire of an American xenophobia that might, in fact, be completely justified. For Pygmy and his fellow operatives are cooking up something big, something truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat dumb inhabitants to their knees.
It's a comedy. And a romance.
Palahniuk's 10th novel (after Snuff) is a potent if cartoonish cultural satire that succeeds despite its stridently confounding prose. A gang of adolescent terrorists trained by an unspecified totalitarian state (the boys and girls are guided by quotations attributed to Marx, Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, etc.) infiltrate America as foreign exchange students. Their mission: to bring the nation to its knees through Operation Havoc, an act of mass destruction disguised as a science project. Narrated by skinny 13-year-old Pgymy, the propulsive plot deconstructs American fixtures, among them church (religion propaganda distribution outlet), spelling bees (forced battle to list English alphabet letters) and TV news reporters (Horde scavenger feast at overflowing anus of world history), before moving on to a Columbine-like shooting spree by a closeted kid who has fallen in love with the teenage terrorist who raped him in a shopping mall bathroom. Decoding Palahniuk's characteristically scathing observations is a challenge, as Pygmy's narrative voice is unbound by rules of grammar or structure (a typical sentence: Host father mount altar so stance beside bin empty of water), but perseverance is its own perverse reward in this singular, comic accomplishment. (May)
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Showing 1-3 of the 3 most recent reviews
1 . great book
Posted October 03, 2009 by C Clarke , Jackson, MSWritten as an account of a terrorist operative from some unnamed country. Written as a narrative from the operative. Text ingeniously disjointed reflective of spoken thought suggestive of, in my opinion, a North Korean. Full of twists and dark humor reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Truly an original work that kept me entertained.
2 . I like it
Posted August 17, 2009 by Dan , Jupitor FloridaWOw, this book really gets inside the head of the protaganist. Every sentence reflects how he was raised and what he believes, added with the wierd events that happen, this makes it a one of a kind novel. I have never read book like this, it's stylr is beyond catergory. The thing I always love about chuck's work is that he makes you really think, and this book puts your head through the wringer. Loved it!
3 . Would Not Recommend
Posted June 17, 2009 by cjdew , HonoluluThe book is difficult to read. I enjoy reading but this book is written in broken english gibberish. Why would someone unfamilar with the english language attempt to keep a log in english?
I don't enjoy reading this book at all. I will finish the book but the story is secondary to the chore it is to read this garbage.
May 03, 2009
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