FICTION

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread

Doubleday. May 2015. 336p. ISBN 9780385538053. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385538060. F
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Billed as Palahniuk's first collection, this volume features 21 stories and one novella, some never before published, As usual, the author's tales cover a wide variety of life experiences, some we would rather not think about. Whether exploring deceitful fathers, children using their sexuality to manipulate their parents, or teens whose latest fad is electrocuting themselves into a permanent stupor, Palahniuk takes his usual strange, off-kilter viewpoint on things we all deal with in life: fitting in, the desire for success, etc. Many of the stories are written as fables with anthropomorphized animal characters which try to find success in their careers or get through their teenage years. And Tyler Durden, the character from Fight Club, makes a brief appearance in "Expedition." Readers will find a similar tone in the Palahniuk-edited anthology Burnt Tongues.
VERDICT You either love Palahniuk or hate him. For new readers, this compilation offers a small taste of the author's style. His faithful fans will be entertained, intrigued, and at times a little disgusted, but what else would we expect from Palahniuk? [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/14.]

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