Diary: A Novel

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Diary: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | September 14, 2004 | Trade Paperback |

3.9231 out of 5 rating. 13 Reviews
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Misty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she's now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn't stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they've found on the walls of houses he remodeled.

Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America's most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk's most impressive work to date.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: September 14, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1400032814

ISBN - 13: 9781400032815

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

Diary: A Novel

Diary: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: September 14, 2004

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1400032814

ISBN - 13: 9781400032815

About the Book

The bestselling author of "Fight Club, Choke," and "Lullaby" continues his 21st-century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at mankind's quest for some sort of immortality. "Diary" takes the form of a "coma diary" kept by one Misty Tracy Wilmot as her husband lies senseless in a hospital after a suicide attempt.

Read from the Book

June 21-- The Three-Quarter Moon Today a man called from Long Beach. He left a long message on the answering machine, mumbling and shouting, talking fast and slow, swearing and threatening to call the police, to have you arrested. Today is the longest day of the year--but anymore, every day is. The weather today is increasing concern followed by full-blown dread. The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing. June 22 By the time you read this, you''ll be older than you remember. The official name for your liver spots is hyperpigmented lentigines. The official anatomy word for a wrinkle is rhytide. Those creases in the top half of your face, the rhytides plowed across your forehead and around your eyes, this is dynamic wrinkling, also called hyperfunctional facial lines, caused by the movement of underlying muscles. Most wrinkles in the lower half of the face are static rhytides, caused by sun and gravity. Let''s look in the mirror. Really look at your face. Look at your eyes, your mouth. This is what you think you know best. Your skin comes in three basic layers. What you can touch is the stratum corneum, a layer of flat, dead skin cells pushed up by the new cells under them. What you feel, that greasy feeling, is your acid mantle, the coating of oil and sweat that protects you from germs and fungus. Under that is your dermis. Below the dermis is a layer of fat. Below the fat are the muscles of your face. Maybe you remember all this from art school, from Fi
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From the Publisher

Misty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she's now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn't stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they've found on the walls of houses he remodeled.

Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America's most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk's most impressive work to date.

From the Jacket

Misty Wilmot has had it. Once a promising young artist, she''s now stuck on an island ruined by tourism, drinking too much and working as a waitress in a hotel. Her husband, a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt, but that doesn''t stop his clients from threatening Misty with lawsuits over a series of vile messages they''ve found on the walls of houses he remodeled.
Suddenly, though, Misty finds her artistic talent returning as she begins a period of compulsive painting. Inspired but confused by this burst of creativity, she soon finds herself a pawn in a larger conspiracy that threatens to cost hundreds of lives. What unfolds is a dark, hilarious story from America''s most inventive nihilist, and Palahniuk''s most impressive work to date.

About the Author

Chuck Palahniuk's novels are the bestselling Lullaby and Fight Club (which was made into a film by director David Fincher), Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Editorial Reviews

“Some of his best work is here. . . . When it’s on, it’s on, and it could be Palahniuk’s most ambitious novel to date, certainly the most ambitious since Fight Club .” – The Washington Post Book World “Madly inventive. . . . It simply, exuberantly, escapes literary categorization.” — Los Angeles Times "Palahniuk''s pacing is impeccable. . . . He draws from a strange palette of worldly nihilism and supernatural conspiracy to paint a compelling portrait of the artist as an unwitting conduit of evil." --The Boston Globe “Palahniuk is a bracingly toxic purveyor of dread and mounting horror. He makes nihilism fun.” – Vanity Fair “To read a Chuck Palahniuk novel means being shocked, enlightened, disturbed, buoyed, horrified, delighted and perplexed–sometimes on a single page.” — Pittsburgh Tribune Review “Palahniuk delightfully pushes Diary into the ludicrous, but his restless intelligence coheres plotwise, and as always he makes his ideas move . . . . The pleasure here resides in his awesome ability to transform gleeful absurdities into a well-sculpted riddle.” – The Village Voice “This is a book you won’t soon forget.” — Hartford Courant “ Diary is far more inspired and philosophical than one would expect even from a top-drawer horror novel.” — Seattle Times-Post Intelligencer "Palahniuk has never sounded more l
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. The opening pages of the novel present a bewildering situation for the reader with their use of the narrating voice. Who is "you"? How soon do we learn who is speaking (or writing), and who is being spoken to? What is the effect of this confusion, and why might Palahniuk have chosen to begin this way? What are the characteristics of Misty's diary style?

2. Misty grew up in a trailer park where "she never knew her dad, and maybe her mom worked two jobs. One at a shitty fiberglass insulation factory, one slopping food in a hospital cafeteria. Of course, this kid dreams of a place like this island, where nobody works except to keep house and pick wild blueberries and beachcomb" [p. 9]. Why does she poke fun at her own background and her dreams of a perfect place like the island?

3. As she works in the Wood and Gold Dining Room, Misty calls herself "queen of the slaves" [p. 17] and is disgusted by the rich summer people who have destroyed the island. When she sees a message written on the underside of table six-"Don't let them trick you again" [p. 22]-she doesn't understand what it means. How do the book's early chapters create suspense, and how do they create a sense of empathy for Misty?

4. What details contribute to the reader's perception of Peter's mother? Why is she both laughable and sinister?

5. Misty tells herself after marrying Peter, "It wasn't a career as an artist that she wanted. What she really wanted, all along, was the house, the family, the peace" [p. 13]. Does the novel suggest that Misty has been sucked into a role of feminine domesticity at the expense of her desire to be an artist? Or does it suggest that there was never any other destiny available to Misty than to be the chosen vehicle for the island's salvation?

6. Diary is full of scrawled messages and urgent attempts to communicate. Some are left by Peter Wilmot, some by Maura Kincaid, and some by Constance Burton. Why are these messages so difficult to understand? Why did Peter leave his messages in sealed rooms? Does Misty lack the knowledge essential to interpreting them? How does she figure out what is going on, and how does her understanding influence her actions?

7. How has Peter described Misty's body? How does Misty describe her own body? Why is her physicality important to the story, and why does Palahniuk use such unflinching details about bodies and their functions? What do these details contribute to the atmosphere of the novel?

8. Why does Misty allow her drinking habit to be replaced by the little green pills, even when they give her terrible headaches? How might she have resisted the doctor and her mother-in-law?

9. With Misty's descriptions of the work that was considered cool in art school, is Palahniuk delivering a critique of contemporary ideas about edgy, ironic art [pp. 75-76, 79-80]? Is he suggesting that art like Misty's, which is a direct expression of her own desire, is of greater value? Or is he also criticizing the art of the idealized landscape and the perfect world-"the wish list of a white trash girl; big houses, church weddings, picnics on the beach"-as being trite?

10. Who is staging the "reality" that Misty is experiencing? What is being staged, and what is she imagining? Is there any way to explain the events that take place in this story? Is the world of the novel meant to comment on reality? If so, how?

11. Does Misty love Peter? How hurt is she by what she has found out about his true feelings for her and by the fact that he was simply using her to save the island? How interesting is it that Peter is gay and has been pretending to be straight in order to do his parents' bidding?

12. Is Misty, in the end, heroic in her attempts to stop the violence on the island and save her daughter? Or is she too passive, allowing herself simply to be used by Peter's parents? To what degree is Peter also a disposable element in his parents' plot?

13. Peter's father Harrow tells Misty how she fits into the island legend: "She's doomed to fame. Cursed with talent. Life after life. She's been Giotto di Bondone, then Michelangelo, then Jan Vermeer. . . . She has always been an artist. She will always be an artist" [p. 242]. What do the events related on pages 242-45 reveal about Misty's identity, and does Misty herself accept these statements?

14. On page 257 we're told that Tabbi is "hugging the ashes of Grace and Harrow." Why do Peter's parents die in the fire? Are they really dead?

15. How does Misty react when she learns of Tabitha's role in the hotel fire? How surprising are the final few pages of the novel, and which revelations are most shocking?

16. How does Misty hope to change the future by sending her diary to Chuck Palahniuk [p. 261]?

17. A reviewer for Newsday wrote, "Palahniuk is one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time." Which aspects of his style or voice contribute to this sense of his uniqueness?

18. If you have read any of Chuck Palahniuk's previous novels, how does Diary compare to them? What concerns, obsessions, or themes of the author are continued or revisited here?

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