Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Fight Club's" Author Comes Out Swinging at Hollywood: "Tell-All" by Chuck Palahniuk

In his acclaimed novel, “Fight Club,” Chuck Palahniuk portrays a group of violent and testosterone-besotted pugilists pummeling one another into oblivion using their bare fists as weapons. In his new work, “Tell-All,” (due in bookstores on May 4) the author portrays a different kind of violence. A bevy of Hollywood sycophants and hangers-on wield invective and bloviated vapid faux praise as the cudgels with which to thrash each other. Written in the style of a classic Golden Era Hollywood gossip column, complete with bold type face to highlight the names of those being gossiped about, Palahniuk offers an amusing and disturbing send-up of the worst of Tinsel Town excesses. The center of all of the literary action is Lillian Hellman, portrayed as Every Woman. She inserts herself – as writer and actor - into every possible historic or key fictional scene as the unlikely heroine from John Glenn’s Friendship 7 space flight to the Kennedy assassination in Dallas.

At another level, a story is unfolding that is a film noir Whodunit. Fading Old Hollywood starlet, Katherine “Katie” Kenton, in a Norma Desmondesque attempt to hang onto youth and fading beauty, falls for the young gentleman caller, Webster Carlton Westward III. Katie is a serial bride – in real life and in the roles that she has played on the silver screen. Is this latest real life leading man insinuating himself into her life because he loves her, because he is writing a “Tell-All” expose about her or because he plans to kill her? Katie’s long-time companion and gatekeeper, Hazie Coogan, will have something to say about all of that.

There is no shadowy corner of Hollywood and its denizens that Palahniuk does not debunk and pillory in this wickedly funny confection. Every fan of Chuck’s work will smile at his left jabs and right hooks.

Enjoy, dear reader!


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