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Chuck Palahniuk: Brief Bio and Summary of Some of His Best Novels

Updated on January 29, 2013

Writing For the Moment

"I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That's the moment when you have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about."

In a style that leaves its reader at the edge of their seat, Chuck Palahniuk produces fiction that has audiences dancing with him along the line dividing reality and fiction. With every character and their fantastic story, he takes their lives, tears it apart, and then brings it back together just as brutally as it was broken, proving that sometimes the truth hurts and that fixing a problem isn't always easy, or pretty.

There are three novels that I think best exemplify his style and are my personal favorites. Read on if you are unafraid of the explicit, gruesome details and twists and turns you will find in any Chuck Palahniuk novel.

Fight Club

Of course, of all of his novels, his most easily recognized is Fight Club, mainly due to its movie adaptation. For those unfamiliar with the movie or novel, it is about an unnamed insomniac who tells us his story of finding unconventional love at a support group he and Marla didn't need. In the meantime, the narrator ends up finding Tyler Durden and having his life turned upside down, inside out, and nearly splattered everywhere. It's about an underground Fight Club turned Project Mayhem, where physical violence turns to public destruction and the narrator has to choose to stay true to himself or follow Durden all the way.

It's offensive, exciting, thought-provoking, and totally Palahniuk.


Tender Branson tells his story at the end of it all, into the black box as the plane goes down. The last of a cult-like church that committed mass suicide, Branson tries to lead a normal life. He lays low, does simple work and sees a therapist, since it is expected that he will follow the rest of his church members in killing himself eventually. We believe he can be just as normal as he seems until we learn the truth about his Creedish Church and find that it may just be impossible for Branson to be normal or live much longer than the upcoming Deliverance.

Invisible Monsters

Invisible Monsters starts off with an unnamed character, like Fight Club, at the very end of an long and complicated story, like Survivor. This time, however, it's about a woman. She is voiceless, faceless, and monstrous. A mess of drugs, robbery, transsexuals, and murder with so many twists it will make your head spin, Invisible Monsters is a great read for one who loves the unexpected and a book that leaves your mouth open wide in amazement as you finish those last few pages and everything is revealed.

© 2011 Lisa


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    • kristyleann profile image

      Kristy LeAnn 6 years ago from Princeton, WV

      I read Invisible Monsters, Choke, and Haunted. Loved them all. :) He is an amazing writer.

    • ohsoamberx profile image

      ohsoamberx 6 years ago from Ohio

      He is one of my favorite authors. I have read a good amount of his books. I still have quite a few to tackle. And to be honest I am a little afraid to read haunted haha. I have read survivor, lullaby, choke, invisible monsters, and as of right now I cannot think of any others. sometimes when i finish one of his books, I feel like I need to reread it because I am like what just happened, my mind is completely blown. I want to read fight club. I have seen the movie and had to watch it twice because I had to many questions from it haha.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from WA

      Thanks to all for the positive feedback. Matt in Jax, I loved those novels too and I thought of making another hub about those and maybe a couple others so I just might do that.

    • Matt in Jax profile image

      Matt in Jax 6 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      Good write up. Definitely a large fan of Palahniuk's. Perhaps more book reviews of his? I actually enjoyed Diary, Lullaby, and Choke more than these three.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thoughtfully written. I love reading and yet have not been exposed to this author. Thanks for the insight and the recommendation.

    • Peter Allison profile image

      Peter Allison 6 years ago from Alameda, CA

      I'm a huge fan of edgy contemporary fiction and count Will Self, AM Holmes and Denis Johnson among my favorite writers. I have been meaning to read Palahniuk for quite a while now and appreciate this enthusiastic endorsement!

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 6 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Great review! I always loved the movie "Fight Club" and now I will need to read the book! Thanks for this and welcome to HubPages!

    • Nokchill profile image

      Nokchill 6 years ago

      Now this is very profound; Nothing like deep feelings to bring out your souls creativity!!