Choke

Choke

A Novel

Book - 2001
Average Rating:
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Random House, Inc.
From the author of the international sensation Fight Club, a powerful (and hilarious) novel about love and strife between mothers and sons, the addictive power of sex, the terrors of aging, the ugly truth about historical theme parks, and much else...

Fight Club
, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In his new novel, Choke, he gives readers a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.

Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's elder care: Pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who "saves you" will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of checks, week in, week out. Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action ("You put twenty sexaholics around a table night after night and don't be surprised."), and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage. An antihero for our deranging times, Victor's whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

Baker & Taylor
Medical school dropout Victor Mancini comes up with a complicated but ingenious scam to pay for his mother's elder care, cruises sex addiction groups for action, and visits his zany mother, whose Alzheimer's disease hides the bizarre truth about his parentage.

Blackwell North Amer
Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's elder care: Pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who "saves you", will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of checks, week in, week out. Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action ("You put twenty sexaholics around a table night after night and don't be surprised"), and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage. An antihero for our deranging times, Victor finds that his whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces.

Baker
& Taylor

Medical school dropout Victor Mancini comes up with a complicated but ingenious scam to pay for his mother's elder care--pretend to be choking in a restaurant and con the individuals who "save" him into giving him money--cruises sex addiction groups for action, and visits his zany mother, whose Alzheimer's hides the bizarre truth about his parentage. 40,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, 2001
ISBN: 9780385501569
0385501560
Branch Call Number: FIC Palah
Characteristics: 293 p

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d
DannyRaye
Oct 28, 2017

This book, I would read it a hundred times. It's like no story I've ever been told before. It's grotesque at times, but relentlessly honest and realistic and it brings to light what we're all trying to bury in a chest and drown with the ocean. We all live Victor's life in a way. Searching to be the best of ourselves. We all know Ida. I loved it and how easy it is to relate to. This book changed my life, changed my perspective on so many topics. I recommend this to everyone, especially people who think they have life all figured out already.

e
epelto12
Oct 30, 2015

Very long, drawn out story for a kind of lame ending. But still good, I need to watch the movie now to better appreciate it.

m
Middle Town
Aug 17, 2015

I think maybe my favourite Palahniuk (and I've read a lot of them).... what does that say about me!?

j
Jean-Pierre Lebel
Aug 13, 2012

The way I feel about Chuck Palahnuik is that a reader can just pick any three of his novels -- it doesn't matter which -- and you'll know everything that you need to about his work. I read Choke, "Invisible Monsters", and "Fight Club"; they all have the same themes and narrative style. Choke is okay, but it is also fairly gross. It can be funny at moments, but possessing a dark sense of humour is imperative. As black as I can go with humour, this book still went over the line for my taste. The easiest way to decide whether or not to read this novel is to look up the term 'handballer' (on UrbanDictionary), you'll be able to figure out the rest from there. Like the South Park disclaimer: 'this should not be read by anyone.'

k
kara4290
Jul 16, 2012

This is the first of Palahniuk's books I've read and I do not recommend it. I felt it was all over the place and really disturbing with no overall point.Don't waste your time!!!

m
misscatastrophe
Jul 02, 2012

The first thing I want to say about this novel is that Victor's last name is pronounced "Man-chee-nee".

Trust me, I'm Italian.

Anyway, LOVED this novel! I would recommend it to any fan of Palahniuk.

r
reviewer
Feb 09, 2011

This book represents the so-called transgressive fiction of Chuck Palahniuk, one of the freshest voices in literature today. Typically, his novels turn his revolutionary powers of language and observation on offensive subject-matter in a blunt, graphic style. They feature shock tactics and gross-outs; witty, black humour; scathing satires of consumer society; and intriguing, memorable characters—among them Victor Mancini, the 20-something medical-school drop-out who is the protagonist of “Choke”.

Victor’s story is as complicated and bizarre as Palahniuk’s own real-life biography, yet still resonates with readers’ more average lives. This resonance is especially remarkable (or understandable?), considering Victor’s many repulsive traits: he lives on society’s lowest fringes, seethes with anti-feminist male rage, and struggles to outgrow his protracted adolescence, self-loathing, and very Freudian “mommy” issues through his tediously slow realization that he must assume responsibility for his own life and create something better.

Most significantly, as a stereotypical white male who has trouble expressing his needs and emotions, Victor obsessively follows two distinct paths to fulfill them--staging scams in restaurants and having sex. (The book’s title “Choke” refers to the mechanics of both methods.) Victor acquires his (hetero) sex partners and learns new sexual techniques on aircrafts and by attending support groups for sex addicts--both places he deems great for meeting nymphomaniacs. Throughout the book, Victor’s pervy exploits give Palahniuk frequent opportunities to demonstrate his masterful command of writing in titillatingly detailed erotica. Enhanced by the author’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Kama Sutra and human anatomy, these passages are to his fans among the most deliciously dirty sex scenes on record.

“Writing a sex scene is boring and mundane, or boring and graphic,” says Palahniak. “But if you reinvent the language of it, you can reinvent the act itself. Every man has a different name for their penis.”

Elsewhere, regarding the effectiveness of sex scenes in prose as opposed to movies or television, Palahniuk says: “I think the advantage that books still have is the intimate nature of consumption. You make an ongoing consent and effort to read a book, so a book can depict things that are so extreme and so challenging that moves could never get away with it. I want to play to that strength. I want to tell stories that really only books can tell.”

Whether or not you possess the curiosity, the taste, or the constitution to savour his extremes, you’ll be forced to admit that few, if any, other authors have demonstrated this much courage in pushing the erotic envelope this far.

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mikeehan
Jul 09, 2016

mikeehan thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

k
Kristen MERKE
Nov 07, 2012

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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