Award-winning author Chuck Palahniuk discusses his new book, Invisible Monsters Remix, and reflects on past works such as Fight Club, Choke and contemplates their cultural staying power. Invisible Monsters Remix is a reworking of his 1999 cult novel.
Tom Barbash is an American writer of fiction and nonfiction, educator and critic. He is the author of the novel The Last Good Chance and the bestselling nonfiction work On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick & 9/11: A Story of Loss & Renewal. His fiction has been published in Tin House, Story magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review and The Indiana Review. His cricitism has appeared in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He currently teaches at Stanford University, where was both a Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer, at California College of the Arts, and at the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Chuck Palahniuk was born Charles Michael Palahniuk on the 21st of February 1962 in Pasco, Washington. His heritage is said to be French and Russian, and his surname is Ukrainian. He was raised in a mobile home in Burbank; however, he also spent time on his grandparentâ€™s cattle ranch in eastern Washington.
Palahniuk graduated from the University of Oregonâ€™s School of Journalism in 1986, having interned for KLCC. He moved to Portland and began writing for a local paper, soon after which he switched jobs to work for Freightliner as a diesel mechanic. During this time he wrote manuals for fixing trucks and did a little journalism, and began writing novels. He also began volunteering at a homeless shelter, then as a escort for a hospice where he transported terminally ill patients to their support meetings. He stopped volunteering after a patient with whom he had developed a friendship died.
During this time also, Palahniuk joined the Cacophony Society (described by themselves as â€œa randomly gathered network of individuals united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society through subversion, pranks, art, fringe explorations and meaningless madnessâ€). He regularly participated in their events which helped supply him with inspiration for events in his fictional and non-fictional writing. It is said that he used the Cacophony Society as the basis for Project Mayhem in Fight Club.
Palahniuk attended writers workshops with Tom Spanbauer in his mid thirties and began writing fiction. His first novel, Invisible Monsters was rejected by publishers for being too disturbing, which prompted him to write Fight Club in an effort to disturb the publisher even more. At this stage, he was still working as a mechanic. Palahniuk became a cult figure after the publication of Invisible Monsters and Survivor in conjunction with the movie release of Fight Club in 1999.
1999 may have been the year where Palahniuk became a cult figure but it was also a difficult year for Chuck because his father and his fatherâ€™s girlfriend were found murdered. The girlfriendâ€™s ex-husband was subsequently charged and convicted for the murders, and Palahniuk apparently began the novel Lullaby during all this time later stating that he used the writing process to help him cope with his decision to help get the murderer a death sentence.
Palahniuk currently lives in Vancouver, Washington.