What can stories do, how best might one tell them and sell them? These questions lie at the heart of Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different, the new memoir-cum-creative-writing-manual from Chuck Palahniuk. Best known to readers as the author of Fight Club, the cult novel which has become something of a bible to a generation of Angry Young Men, Palahniuk here swaps shock value for an odd sentimentalism.
It’s a sentimentalism which tinges reflections both on his own career (from a “kitchen-table MFA” to his latter-day successes) and those on the state of literature in general. As in this sentence: “Bret Easton Ellis tells me the novel is no longer even a blip in the culture.” Yikes. The line is an early red flag: if the novel is such an irrelevancy, why need he pen a book offering advice on creative writing? Nevertheless, he persists.