Chuck Palahniuk Reads Latest Work, No One Faints

palahniuk_061707.jpgPalahniuk @ The Strand

Urban lit legend, perhaps. But the last time the Strand Bookstore hosted a free Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) reading — during the “Roses and Shit Tour 2006” promoting his novel Haunted — 800 fans showed up to hear the cult author read one of the novel’s most graphic stories, “Guts,” which to this day, has caused 73 people to faint. So Saturday’s reading — at $35, the first-ever ticketed Strand reading — was equally historic.

Over two hours, Palahniuk, dressed in a standard starch white button-up tucked into black dress pants and bright yellow tennis shoes, completely and refreshingly uninhibited, doled out gifts of chattering monkeys and life-size rubber snakes, answered audience questions, told stories and read from Snuff, his next novel, encouraging the audience to laugh even when it seemed inappropriate.

When fans answered his trivia or asked a question, they received a copy of Obscene Interiors, which Palahniuk described as “one of the funniest, dirtiest books I have seen in my entire life.” They were also given a set of CDs that Palahniuk recorded of him telling stories that he has been asked to refrain from telling. They included an almost-endearing story about children masturbating, which he proceeded tell anyway.

Said Palahniuk: “This is why I do what I do … everybody I know is going to die. But if I can take, if I can remember one great story they told at a Christmas party a couple of years ago, that really illustrates, that really totally nails how smart they are. And that moment when they really really shined…If I can honor that and preserve that, and prove to people how great they are. You know, I can think of worse things to do with my life.”

— Meghan Louttit