One-Minute Book Reviews

August 10, 2009

‘Fight Club’ Author Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Pygmy’ – A Review in the Form of a Parody

Filed under: Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:18 pm
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“Total disappointed of no result.”

Pygmy. By Chuck Palahniuk. Doubleday, 241 pp., $24.95.

By Janice Harayda

Begins here report of critic me on novel by Fight Club author all in mangled English dorky like this. Combining terrorist high-school exchange students from county like China except some with Hungarian names like Tibor and Magda, plot with bioweapon to murder many Americans at science fair in Washington. In actual, main operative Pygmy co-opted by shallow, corrupt, depraved host country. Want to read you no. Critic me quote line from book, “Total disappointed of no result.”

Best line: A quote from the Socialist Eugene V. Debs, “Progress is born of agitation. It is agitation or stagnation.”

Worst line: Yes, the entire book consists of lines like: No. 1: “Succulent barrier much thrusting mammary glands shield operative me, swinging lady buttocks further thwart attacks.” No. 2: “Tongue of operative me lick, licking, touching back tooth on bottom, molar where planted inside forms cyanide hollow, touching not biting.” No. 3: “For official record, effect worst – idiot song flush from head of operative me most irregular verbs Mandarin Chinese. Erode all knowledge Portuguese. Idiot lyric overwhelm understanding advanced field equations calculus. Overpower and devastate to oblivion stored memory to operate Iranian-manufactured Khaybar KH2002 medium-barrel assault rifle. Crowd no longer recall how many rounds per minute capable firing Ukrainian Vepr assault rifle.” No. 4: “Edging more close, ranked wall of killer assassins stance ready for execute Cobra One-Strike No-Blood.” No. 5: “In greater afraid … within thinking machine operative me, this agent ponder if entire being operative me pitted for destroy American, annihilate homosexual, crackpot Methodist religion, Lutheran and Baptist cult, extinguish all decadent bourgeoise – subsequent successful total such destruction: Render this agent obsolete? Of no worth?”

Furthermore: A review at the Daily Beast has more on Pygmy. An essay in Salon discusses Palahniuk’s other books.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

August 28, 2008

Review of Oprah’s Latest Book Club Pick, ‘The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,’ the First Novel by David Wroblewski

Get thee to a kennel! A mute boy named Edgar finds his Ophelia in a dog named Almondine in story set in a hamlet in Wisconsin

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel. By David Wroblewski. Ecco, 562 pp., $25.95.

By Janice Harayda

To read, or not to read
The Edgar Sawtelle book
That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler
In the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of
Outrageous twaddle,
And moralizing, too,
In sections told just from
The point of view of dogs,
One of them a stand-in
For Ophelia herself –
Her name is Almondine –
Because this novel is
A sort of canine Hamlet
That’s set in — of all places –
A hamlet in Wisconsin,
Or nobler to skip
A story you might like
Especially if you miss
The big, fat novels that
James Michener used to write.
To read, perchance to find
That this is your dream book:
Ay, there’s the rub!
Unless you are seeking
The kind of happy ending
That Hamlet doesn’t have
Because the author doesn’t give you
What you don’t find in the play:
A tale where no one dies.
It’s true, the book is not
The play in any way.
No poison-tipped sword looms,
A syringe is used instead.
And as for Rosenkrantz
and Guildenstern, his friend,
Like Ophelia
They have four feet and fur,
Though Hamlet is a boy, mute,
The Edgar of the title,
Who sees his father’s ghost,
A paranormal twist
In Edgar’s earthbound-life.
Morosely, Hamlet said –
Remember? – that conscience
Makes cowards of us all.
Which is not true of Edgar.
But will his morals save him
Or send him to his doom?
No spoilers you’ll find here –
The Bard supplies them all.

[Note: This review is not intended as a strict parody of Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy. If you’ve read Hamlet and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and can do better, why not leave your parody in the comments section on this post? For more on the novel, visit www.edgarsawtelle.com.]

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

May 27, 2008

‘Goodnight Bush’ — A Parody in the Style of a Certain Children’s Book

Filed under: Humor — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:49 pm
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You could argue that you can’t satirize the man who said “I know how hard it is to put food on your family” because his actions have outstripped reality. But that hasn’t stopped Gan Golan and Erich Origen from sending up the president in their just-published parody of a certain children’s book, Goodnight Bush (Little, Brown, 48 pp., $14.99). Until I can put my hands on a copy of this one, you can learn more from the reader-reviews on www.amazon.com and from GalleyCat www.mediabistro.com/GalleyCat/, which has an article on it today.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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