Diary: A Novel

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Diary: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

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

Diary: A Novel is rated 3.9231 out of 5 by 13.
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, 8 × 5.16 × 0.6 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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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulously Disturbing Misty Wilmot was a promising young artist back in her youth. She met Peter in art school, married him, had his daughter, and somewhere along the line her talent seemed to dry up. Her husband’s unsuccessful suicide attempt has left him in a coma, and Misty is turning to alcohol to get her through the days. Peter was a contractor, and now his former clients are threatening lawsuits at Misty because rooms in their houses have disappeared and there are disturbing messages on the walls. Amidst all of this stress and turmoil, Misty’s artistic talent comes roaring back. Soon Misty finds herself in the middle of a dangerous plot that could endanger many lives. Diary by Chuck Palahniuk is a suspenseful, darkly twisted read. I’ve come to expect a certain level of disturbing and shocking content in a Chuck Palahniuk novel, enough to make me cringe but at the same time make it so I can’t look away. Diary definitely didn’t let me down on that front! Palahniuk paints a vivid picture of his characters and the setting, but he often chooses to describe these things based on their flaws and ugliness. I thought this was a very interesting and truly Palahniuk approach to thing. One of the things I love most about Chuck Palahniuk books is that he always includes really random and fascinating bits of information in his novels. Due to the art theme woven into the plot of Diary, the tidbits of information are all revolving around art, artists, and my personal favorite, the different ingredients in different shades of paint. You’d be really surprised what’s in some of it. The plot of Diary felt different from the other Palahniuk novels I’ve read. It had a suspenseful, almost mystery novel feel to it, but done in a unique way that is true to the author’s nihilistic, unsettling style. While I did predict some of the aspects of the plot, I was still surprised by the majority of events taking place. Things weave together at the end in a much more complex, solid fashion than I would have expected. I was truly creeped out by the events taking place, probably because even though it’s unrealistic to think that people would actually stoop to the level of the characters in this novel, I could sort of see a bunch of greedy, disturbed people pulling something this horrifying. Even though Palahniuk’s novels are bizarre and hard to believe at times, they aren’t completely out of the realm of possibility. For readers looking to step outside their comfort zone and try something new, I highly recommend Diary by Chuck Palahniuk. It was a fantastic read!
Date published: 2010-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not his best work Just finished Diary. Being a fan of Chuck's writing I don't expect any run-of-the-mill story or plot twists and while he keeps this formula in this book - the story wasn't that exciting or attention grabbing like his other efforts. I liked it more than I loved it, but I wouldn't place this in his top 5 works.
Date published: 2009-09-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Disturbing And Entertaining Read I really enjoyed reading Diary, no matter the subject matter, Palahniuk always provides insight and entertainment. This book was a bit different than the others that I have read, but it was pure Palahniuk, meaning that it was brutal, funny, disturbing, philosophical, and, of course, nihilistic (nihilism being very much synonymous with Palahniuk in the writing world). It takes a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the writing but once you do, it’s beyond engaging. Palahniuk’s novels always disturb me a teeny bit, I suppose that’s part of their allure for me, but Diary totally creeped me out- it was fantastic. If I had to, I would describe Diary as The Stepford Wives meet Massacre Island or maybe And Then There Were None. While I was reading, all I kept picturing was Bet Middler’s creepy smile after she’s been addled. Yet another fantastic novel from one of my very favourite writers. I would recommend Diary to anyone who wants to be knocked off their feet, the ending twist is superb.
Date published: 2009-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from creepy yet riveting This book is extremely twisted and creepy. The reader would expect nothing less of a Palahniuk book. Misty Wilmot was once a talented artist who painted pictures of imaginary houses. She married to her college sweetheart who caught her attention with the antique costume jewelry he once wore. She married and settled down on an island, had a and lost interest in her art. Her husband , a contractor, is in a coma after a suicide attempt. His clients are threatening lawsuits because he walled up rooms with wild and vile messages written all over their walls. Misty now works as a waitress at the hotel, hoping to make a life for her and her child while coming to terms with her husband's bizarre writings. All of a sudden her creativity returns and she starts to paint once again. Little does she know this is all a conspiracy and she is only a pawn in a much bigger picture. I had a little trouble st first getting 'into' the story but WOW once I did I could not put the book down
Date published: 2009-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Off the wall I expect nothing less than a novel completely off the wall from Palahniuk and this one gave me exactly that! Misty Wilmot is an artist who lost her inspiration after she had a child and got married. As a kid, she would paint pictures of houses of an imaginary place where she wished she could live. After entering art school she meets Peter, an odd character that captures Misty's attention with old costume jewelery. Years later, Misty finds herself living on an island that resembles her childhood dreams with a husband in a coma after trying to kill himself, a pre-teen daughter, a meddling mother-in-law, and a potential lawsuit on her hands. Before Peter tried to kill himself, he wrote nasty messages about the island and his family in the walls of homes he remodeled. The continuous pressure to find inspiration has Misty confused about what all these messages mean and what the island is doing to her. Writing the synopsis sounds like it should be an episode from Lost. Although, with a Palahniuk book this isn't too far from the truth. This story is twisted and messed up in every sense, but that's exactly what keeps you reading. You can't help but wonder what crazy plot twist will get thrown at you next and you certainly aren't disapointed once you put the book down. I passed an hour waiting to get in to see my doctor and get my prescription filled reading the end of this book without realizing I had been waiting for so long!
Date published: 2009-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Diary I really enjoy the way Palahniuk writes; his characters, his descriptions, and the way he perceives the world makes me think all the time. Diary is about a failed artist, whose husband recently tried to kill himself. After this event, she starts to keep a diary and becomes an extraordinary painter. That's just the surface of the story! You can't just flip through one of his books because there are always questions until the very end. I love that!
Date published: 2008-12-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An Easy Intro to Palahniuk The only words I have are "wow." I've read so much talk about how Palahniuk is a genius blah blah that I was scared of ever reading anything he wrote. I hate when something falls very far from expectations. I decided to compromise. I couldn't not read him. I couldn't let all this talk go by without trying him out for myself. I didn't want to read Fight Club as I wasn't too much a fan of the movie and I didn't think it would leave the best impression. So I picked a book I hadn't heard anyone mention, one that I assumed was one of the least popular. Now, I want to devour everything he's every written and am cursing the library for their limited selection. I started reading Diary slowly, but about a quarter of the way in... I just kept going. I forgot about eating and forgot about going to the bathroom. I was consumed with wanting to slap Misty, with desperately wanting her to wake and realize that things weren't right. I wanted to shake her daughter and scream at her. Ugh, just phenomenal. It's great books like this that make you hesitate before starting another... because nothing could fill the void left by the previous novel.
Date published: 2008-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What You Don't Understand, You Can Make Mean Anything Misty Marie Kleinman grew up in a trailer with her working-class mother slaving in a restaurant all day. When she was just a child she drew an island with crayons, filled with happy people with money, sparkling lights and bowls filled with candy. Many years later, she was in art school, painting the houses of her daydreams only to discover those houses existed somewhere. In a place called Waytansea Island. After getting pregnant, she dropped out of art school and retreated to the haven of her childhood daydreams. Chuck Palanuik’s Diary is a story about an artist trying to make a living after giving up on her dream. The dream of being a famous artist that the people around her refuse to let go of. Palanuik is the master of “that’s so extreme that it would never happen except that it’s so close to the truth that I could believe it,” like the story about a fellow artist who swallowed tubes of tempura paint and chased it with ipecac.
Date published: 2007-11-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I've seen better... As A big fan of Chuck Palahniuk I considered this book a disappoitment. This book did not excite me like the others, though you could still tell by the use of words that it was wrote by Palahniuk. Pleasent, but not recommended.
Date published: 2006-06-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but not great. Diary is a good Palahniuk book, but its definetly not his best. I have read 5 of Chuck's books and this is by far my least favourite. It is quite interesting, however, I found this book easy to put down unlike Choke or Fight Club. The ending isn't written in stone so it can be open to interpretation like most of Chuck's other novels. Overall I probably won't read it again.
Date published: 2006-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a really great book! this is one of my favorites, it's suspenceful, mysterious, hard to put down and not to mention funny. It has a pretty nice twist to it at the end, but at the same time a little, tiny bit corny too. But I seriously recommend this book .
Date published: 2005-10-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just start I've read the first three pages. I've already decided it's one of Chucky's best.
Date published: 2003-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dazzling new book by Palahiuk Can you feel this? This new novel by America's favorite nihilist, Chuck Palahniuck, is by far his best litterature piece. In the form of a diary written to a comatose man, the story is told in a way that is captivating and that will prevent you from putting the book down, even for one second. On a paradisiac island where rich people come to spend their summer, a poor woman has to deal with the suicide attempt that put her husband in a coma. She has to deal with her husband's clients in which houses he left disturbing mementos. She also has to deal with an intrusive mother-in-law that desperatly wants her to return to painting and become famous artist. To top things off she has to do all this in a car that smell like piss. Expect this book to be disturbing yet entertaining. For those who have read Fight Club, Choke, Survivor or Lullaby this book is definatly a must-read. The only thing you have to ask yourself is: Can you feel this?
Date published: 2003-08-28

– More About This Product –

Diary: A Novel

by Chuck Palahniuk

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8 × 5.16 × 0.6 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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