That's about as hard as it seems Palahniuk tried to make this book any good. I guess you could call this a spoiler, but probably everyone who cares already knows that the plot here is that Cassie Wright is setting a porn world record by getting fucked by 600 guys in a row. The whole book feels like just an excuse to catalogue three things: gross facts about how movie stars keep themselves beautiful & viable (cutting the heel off one shoe to make your ass grind together sexily, drinking crushed eggshells to get a smoky, husky voice); unfunny names for men who jerk off a lot (monkey-milkers, ham-whammers, sock-soakers); and clever fake porn movie names based on books & movies (To Drill a Mockingbird, Chitty Chitty Gang Bang, Gropes of Wrath, A Midsummer Night's Ream).
Youre probably reading a Chuck Palahniuk sex story. This is the story of a day in the life of 600 dudes, including an aging porn star . Okay, HUGE secrets . If you have nothing better to do and want to say you read something by Palahniuk since hes soooooo edgy, dont let this review stop you.
Because ladies and gentlemen, the topic I'm talking about today is exactly the subject of Palahniuk's newest novel, the short and terse sex-horror tale Snuff; and before you read any more of today's essay, before you ever go to add the book to your Amazon wish list, you need to be aware that this is the ugliest book about sex ever published by a mainstream press, and that it has the potential to cause lingering graphic nightmares in anyone not already versed on the subject of apocalypse porn. (Indeed, chapter 25 alone contains what might just be the ugliest story about sex ever written in human history; and oh, believe me, you'll know what I'm talking about when you finally read it yourself.) Make no mistake, the story has to be this ugly for Palahniuk to make his point -- his point, after all, being to examine why this kind of porn has become so popular during the 2000s, and why certain people in certain societies are attracted to it -- but it's an incredibly disturbing story nonetheless, a story so disturbing that you owe it to yourself to seriously ponder whether or not you actually want to read such a thing. It's the concept of this woman being put into such a submissive position that is the real turn-on for people who like this kind of stuff; it's not the minimalist sex itself that's erotically satisfying, but what it says about humanity that the video even exists in the first place. Palahniuk's book, then, takes a look at five different characters all involved with one such commercial gangbang video shoot: the aging porn veteran in the middle of it all (think a down-on-her-luck Ginger Lynn); her young radical-feminist alt-dot-sex assistant, also the production manager of the shoot itself; a famous fellow-aging pretty-boy male porn star who will be the 600th and last lay of the event, known for his enormous schlong and rapidly crumbling looks (very obviously a thinly-veiled Peter North); an obsessed teenager who has basically allowed his adopted parents to kick him out of their house in order to attend; and most bizarrely of all, a gay closeted Hollywood actor who was once a popular television cop, until it came out that he himself had been the subject of a gay gangbang video when younger, who is now at this straight video shoot in an attempt to get "outed" as a heterosexual TMZ-syle and jump-start his mainstream career again. (Go read about it if you want to know why such a thing actually kills a few hundred women a year in real life; it's too gross to get into here.) The people behind the shoot start playing this detail up, hoping that it'll drum up more publicity; but the more everyone starts thinking about it, the more they realize just what a goldmine it would be for everyone involved if the woman does actually die during the shoot, not only for all the copies that would eventually be bought online through shady international servers and the like, but also because it would undoubtedly outrage the American public, probably leading to Congress banning the shooting of such videos, making that shoot legally the last gangbang literally in the history of porn.
This is also the book that started Palahniuk's dive into mediocrity and self parody. During this time, we're led to believe that Cassie might be related to one of her bones-at-the-throne. Snuff reads as if Chuck Palahniuk simply wanted to see how many faux-adult-film parodies he could title before the end of the book. I think I laughed once, and that was because I couldn't believe how it ended. Not because I was shocked but because I couldn't believe that THAT was supposed to be the twist.
One is, I keep reading good books, and all those four- and five-star reads have me worried that something might be wrong, that my judgement is off, so I decided to read something bad to compensate. This book is bad and all the others I read so far this year were pretty good. The more you try to wipe it clean, the skin stretches and the mess keeps getting bigger.
Her comments did, however, give me pause as I opened up this new Palahniuk delight about an aging pornography queen set to beat the world record for sex acts taped for a movie (600 men/600 sex acts). Given the title and a very early tip from one of our narrators (Palahniuk's at his stylistic wheel of fortune again, this time giving us first person narration from four different characters' p.o.v.'s) I knew that the film Cassie Wright, our porn queen, was making would eventually turn out as a snuff film. Pick it up, be totally aware of the subject matter and don't be shocked to read about sex acts, sex toys, and sex performers in graphic-traffic detail.
Cassie Wright is an aging porn star who is trying to set a world record for having sex with 600 dudes in one film, an act that everyone seems to think will kill her. A whole mess of creepy men answer the casting call to help Cassie make history, and the story is told from the point-of-view of three of those dudes: Mr. 600, a professional porn star and the man who got Cassie started in the business; Mr. 137, a washed-up television star who somehow thinks doing this will resuscitate his failing career; and Mr. 72, who - as messed up as this sounds - believes he is Cassie's son.
Chuck Palahniuk's take on the porn industry blows wades of sex euphemisms all over the reader like moneyshots at a gangbang. Like moths to light, certain kinds of people seem drawn to join the porn industry.
While on the road in support of Diary, Chuck began reading a short story entitled 'Guts,' which would eventually become part of the novel Haunted. Then, in 2009, Chuck increased his involvement by committing to read and review a selection of fan-written stories each month. The best stories are currently set to be published in Burnt Tongues, a forthcoming anthology, with an introduction written by Chuck himself.