Diary: A Novel


Publication Date
September 2003

Chuck Palahniuk

Central Theme
The truth and your destiny may be stranger than you can possibly imagine, but play your part, fulfill your bizarre destiny and be amazed by what happens.

Chuck Palahniuk, the bestselling author of Fight Club ,Choke , and Lullaby continues his twenty-first-century reinvention of the horror novel in this scary and profound look at our 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. Once she was an art student dreaming of creativity and freedom; now, after marrying Peter at school and being brought back to once quaint, now tourist-overrun Waytansea Island, she’s been reduced to the condition of a resort hotel maid. Peter, it turns out, has been hiding rooms in houses he’s remodeled and scrawling vile messages all over the walls an old habit of builders but dramatically overdone in Peter’s case. Angry homeowners are suing left and right, and Misty’s dreams of artistic greatness are in ashes. But then, as if possessed by the spirit of Maura Kinkaid, a fabled Waytansea artist of the nineteenth century, Misty begins painting again, compulsively. But can her newly discovered talent be part of a larger, darker plan? Of course it can ¢â‚¬¦‚© Doubleday.

Beliefs num
–There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics.
–Yet at the same time there is a spectacular synchronicity that seems to have a meaning and purpose.
–The darkest trials can be persevered.
–The most meaningless events can sometimes be explained.
–Life though full of hardships is worth the struggle.
–In the end, all you love will disappoint you.
–Something wicked this way comes.
–If things don’t seem to make sense it is probably becuase they don’t.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–What are the artistic merits of this book?
–What elements common to human experience did you resonate with in this book?
–What elements in word, deed, theme or behavior created a dissonance with who you are or want to be spiritually?
–What does this book tell us abut who God is? Who humans are? What we are seeking in life?
–Should we operate with a sense of doom?
–Does pain inspire creativity?
–What is behind life’s mysteries?
–Do you agree that there is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics?
–Do you expect the mysteries of life to be resolved? The injustices made right? The sorrow replace with joy?

Provocative Quotes byline
–The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing.
–A man calls from the mainland, from Ocean Park to complain that his kitchen is gone.
== Narrator.
–set foot on this island and you will die¢â‚¬¦run as fast as you can from this place. They will kill all of God’s children if it means saving their own.
==Note on wall.
==This is Misty’s own personal coma. A couple drinks. A couple aspirin. Repeat.
== Narrator.
–We all want to explain ourselves. Nobody wants to be forgotten.
–The only difference between Peter and a homeless outpatient with limited access to soap was his jewelry.
–You’ll need to suffer to make any real art.
–Because her dear sweet stupid husband, he didn’t leave a suicide note. Because this is part of him she never knew. Because she wants to understand who he was. She wants to find out what happened.
–If misery is inspiration, Misty should be reaching her prime.
–So is this her? Is she the mystical lady?
==Peter’s friend inquires.
–I’m not having kids. I’m going to be an artist.
–The Jains were a sect of Buddhists who claimed they could fly.
–There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics.
–you learn the symptoms of adult lead poisoning include tiredness, sadness, weakness, stupidity, symptoms Misty has had most of her adult life.
== Narrator.
–The weather today is partly angry, leading to resignation and ultimatums¢â‚¬¦Today’s weather is partly furious with occasional fits of rage.
== Narrator.
–For all his trademark toughness, Mr. Palahniuk has never sounded more like a latter-day Kurt Vonnegut than he does here¢â‚¬¦ he shares Mr. Vonnegut’s wildly inventive sense of doom… Yes, Mr. Palahniuk remains best known for the violent twists of “Fight Club.” And he is the popular novelist who would be most at home at the Bates Motel. But his use of singsong repetition, in the form of trademark tics or obsessively invoked subject matter, can be as soothing as a lullaby.
==Janet Maslin, NYT.
–Just for the record, Diary is as hypnotic as a poised cobra. Chuck Palahniuk demonstrates that the most chilling special effects come not from Industrial Light and Magic but from the words of a gifted writer.
==Ira Levin, author of Rosemary’s Baby

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