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Author Topic: chuck palahniuk  (Read 13377 times)
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2013, 09:21:05 AM »

Just came out in Finland translation his 2011 book Damned.

What a miserable situation with Finnish book publishing this was... Wrote last december that book is out. Went to all bookstores, checked out some mailorders. Had other person to do the same. And couldn't find it. NEW hardcover book on semi-big LIKE publisher and the main bookstore chain would not have any.  Then suddenly, in summer/autumn 2013 I saw one online dealers blow-out sale, that this book is suddenly 3,99 euro. Which basically means that since it didn't sell shit, now it's on discount campaign.
Well, of course lucky for me, not to spend probably 20 euro higher price when I tried to get it. But this can probably mean end of publishing Palahniuk in Finnish? If there is no demand or commercial possibilities, why bother?

Damned (= Kirottu) is nowhere near his best works, but dark humor, where some social observations and hellish mythology blends together with supposed to be clever humor bordering farce. Or that's how I see it. I doubt Finnish translation can make all this actually work well, and despite often being quite annoyed by style of language, there is still something captivating what forces to keep going. 13 year old girl dies and goes to hell. Every chapter opens with her diary like entry talking to satan.

If you thought Palahniuk wasn't very good after Fight Club, then don't bother. If not, then I may recommend to keep eye for cheap copy. Perhaps not worth hunting for...
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simulacrum
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2013, 10:21:25 AM »

I find it kind of strange that people on this board are into him. He's always seemed to me to be nothing more than the recuperation of underground ideas and tropes packaged up nice and safe for the mainstream buying public.

This exactly. I get such a highschool rebellion vibe from this guy. I've read Choke and not much of his other stuff and it's all so bad. I can't believe that this is a thread on SI.
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2013, 10:39:48 AM »

Well, when there are topics of anime or comedy, I suspect it's hardly "less transgressive" than that ;)

Over here, same publisher did Dennis Cooper and Palahniuk. First one, I found so boring I couldn't finish up the book. Still, we aren't really talking of sort of necessity of "esoterism" with a lot of ideas/themes, but if they can be repackaged and sold to mainstream (such as Fight Club), I'm certainly supportive for it.
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2013, 10:40:09 AM »

Well, when there are topics of porn, anime or comedy, I suspect it's hardly "less transgressive" than that ;)

Over here, same publisher did Dennis Cooper and Palahniuk. First one, I found so boring I couldn't finish up the book. Still, we aren't really talking of sort of necessity of "esoterism" with a lot of ideas/themes, but if they can be repackaged and sold to mainstream (such as Fight Club), I'm certainly supportive for it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2013, 06:57:53 AM »

I think the movie of Fight Club is OK and at least watchable, largely thanks to some decent acting with Helena Bonham-Carter trying especially hard.

Have tried Chuck Palahniuk's writing and find it desperately and pathetically weak. He is not someone I would even regard as a writer, just a cynical hack latching onto a kind of parody of 'underground' 'transgressive' themes. I agree with Jordan above - can't understand why this mainstream crap is being discussed here.
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simulacrum
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2013, 10:50:38 AM »

I think only the users reading translations are the ones really discussing the finer points of Palahniuk. I'm not asserting any sort of regional supremacy, I'm just speculating that, as an American reading the books in their native language, that the Finnish translations are probably lacking the almost kitschy sort of transgression seemingly for transgression's sake and the clumsy rebellious sort of tropes that I feel attracts him to an American audience who are too scared to have anything deeper than a cursory interest in transgression but who maybe pride themselves on being "edgy" considering their interest in Palahniuk and those and that tangentially similar. Everyone I know personally who likes this guy is unbearable and I try hard to stay away from them because they all fit into this milieu of similar characteristics and tendencies that I cannot relate to and do not care to be familiar and/or friendly toward.

I know absolutely nothing of the Finnish language. So, whereas I know just enough of the translation process from an original Russian work- prose whose native articulation is overripened with feeling and passion- being condensed into English, a language that, by comparison, is cold, mechanical and utilitarian, and just knowing generally that not only is a lot of cultural significance lost through translation but even that the author's vision often becomes obedient to the whim of the translator, I'm going to go ahead and say that it's possible Finnish translations of Palahniuk's works are presenting his themes and tropes and so on in a much different light than they are presented in in the native English.
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simulacrum
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2013, 10:53:53 AM »

If Mikko or anyone who can read well in both Finnish and English could maybe describe Finnish language in relation to English, I'd really appreciate it. I may not know a particular native language that a book I am reading was originally written in, but I'd at least like to have somewhat of an understanding of the mechanics of the native language so I could have a bit of a deeper appreciation for the author's work.
Or at least have something to blame (the translator's job) other than the author himself.
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2013, 08:50:00 PM »

I think his language has been often described very blunt and simple. Barely "artistic merit" for writing. Simple and short sentences. One could compare this to situation in rock lyrics. Lets say someone throws some banal/childish/ridiculous sentence in English, and it's fine. Translate it to your native language (my case: Finnish), and it may appear extremely annoying.
However, as much as I dislike the language used in many Palahniuk's books (I think I mentioned in all comments here the very hard start to try to get in the mood - it's direct result of this problem), I like the general storyline or ideas hidden inside story.
One may ask is author good, if he doesn't write well....   Hmm... naturally there are many options to choose. I'm drawn to certain ideas rather than pure skills or innovations.
Same could be said about photography, painting, music. It's quite rarely about "good musicians", "talented painters", "technically superior photographers" etc.

Advice on extremely well written literature what catches these trite "underground ideas" - feel free to recommend. General Literature Discussion is created for that purpose...
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« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2013, 12:12:10 AM »

Read Choke (the finnish translation) some months ago. Didn't like it, maybe my expectations were too high. Humor did nothing for me

Especially the beginning - at least in translation - appears very irritating at first. It's this "stupid little brat" this and that, repeated so much it suddenly reminds me of why I hated Steward Home so much. Repeating same stupid sentences and descriptions over and over again. But when book starts to roll forward and some coherent story becomes more visible, I liked it always more.
The thing that's necessary to understand about Stewart Home's fiction, or at least his skinhead & ultraviolence stuff (Red London, No Pity, Pure Mania, Defiant Pose) is that it's all fundamentally a piss take on the '70s exploitation novels like Skinhead, Suedehead, Skinhead Girls, Boot Boys, Terrace Terrors, Knuckle Girls, etc. written by James Moffat (under the pseudonym of Richard Allen ). He takes Moffat/Allen's basic formula, then ramps up the sex & violence and injects post-situ/"neoist" ideas into the mix. He also increases the repetition of key phrases and descriptions quite intentionally; Moffat was writing the Richard Allen books as quickly as he could in order to get them done by deadline so his publisher could cash in on the current youth trends he was writing about before they were passe. He would reuse the same turns of phrase many times in a book, because it saved him writing/boozing time and because he figured his audience was too young/stupid/prole to know or care. You can't read Home's work straight; in order to realy get what he's doing, you really need to have read some Richard Allen, and it can't hurt to know a good deal about the Situationist, pro-situ, ultraleft and anarchist milieux of the '70s and '80s as well.

As for Palahniuk, Fight Club was fairly enjoyable pablum, and a very entertaining movie, but having worked in bookstores I see him as a sort of degenerated Kerouac for frat boys, "transgressive" high schoolers who haven't gotten laid yet and pseudo-intellectual "rebels"... where once someone trying to prove how hip and with it they were might carry around a copy of On the Road to impress, now it would be Fight Club or Choke.
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Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air.

"As long as humans have hands to draw with, topics such as fucking, sucking, tits, ass, sodomy, pink cunts and big dicks along with death, murder, politics and power will always be on our cave walls." -Joe Roemer
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