Pygmy

Chuck Palahniuk

Pygmy

Agent Number 67, nicknamed Pygmy for his diminutive size, arrives in the United States from his totalitarian homeland (a mash-up of North Korea, Cuba, Communist-era China, and Nazi-era Germany), as an 'exchange student' into the welcoming arms of his Simpsons-spinoff Midwestern host family. Host cow father (he works in the biological weapons complex outside of town), chicken neck mother, pig dog brother, and the disconcertingly self-possessed cat sister introduce Pygmy into the rituals of postmodern American life, which he views with utter contempt. Along with his fellow operatives, all indoctrinated into the mindset of the totalitarian state, he is planning something big, something truly, truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat, dumb inhabitants to their knees. 2.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
Pygmy

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 356
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication June 2009
ISBN 978-0224087131
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

Agent Number 67, nicknamed Pygmy for his diminutive size, arrives in the United States from his totalitarian homeland (a mash-up of North Korea, Cuba, Communist-era China, and Nazi-era Germany), as an 'exchange student' into the welcoming arms of his Simpsons-spinoff Midwestern host family. Host cow father (he works in the biological weapons complex outside of town), chicken neck mother, pig dog brother, and the disconcertingly self-possessed cat sister introduce Pygmy into the rituals of postmodern American life, which he views with utter contempt. Along with his fellow operatives, all indoctrinated into the mindset of the totalitarian state, he is planning something big, something truly, truly awful, that will bring this big dumb country and its fat, dumb inhabitants to their knees.

John Crace's Digested Read (The Guardian)

Reviews

The Guardian

Christopher Tayler

Chuck Palahniuk is one of those writers who get punished by critics for making them feel embarrassed about the eagerness with which their adolescent selves might have joined the writer's fan base... Behind the often quite funny overkill and casually exiguous plot, it's essentially a fantasy about being a small, picked-on outsider in high school while fancying yourself a secret agent on a mission of revenge.

13/06/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Doug Johnstone

Ultimately, Pygmy feels a little light on content and themes. It's undoubtedly entertaining for the most part, and often pretty funny, but you get the feeling that the convoluted style is only really serving to obfuscate a lack of new ideas and subject matter.

14/06/2009

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The Washington Post

Jeff VanderMeer

Sloppy yet smart, Chuck Palahniuk's "Pygmy" veers from sublimely ridiculous to just plain ridiculous, sometimes within a single paragraph... Throughout, Palahniuk displays such a lust for profane jokes that he's willing to sacrifice logic for them. That's a shame, because Palahniuk is brilliant at juxtaposing Pygmy's insane background with the madness of contemporary Western society.

20/05/2009

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The New Statesman

Tom Lewis

Whereas novels such as Trainspotting or A Clockwork Orange create their own language-worlds in order to absorb readers in surreally affecting new environments, Palahniuk’s efforts amount to little more than a series of hollow stereotypes that mock and parody their targets. There are a few smirks to be had here and there, but the effort required to conquer Pygmy’s cloying observations on American life yields few rewards.

11/06/2009

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