Doubleday Books, Hardcover, 9780385533027, 256pp.
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
This is the afterlife as only Chuck Palahniuk could imagine it: a twisted inferno where The English Patient plays on endless repeat, roaming demons devour sinners limb by limb, and the damned interrupt your dinner from their sweltering call center to hard-sell you Hell. He makes eternal torment, well, simply divine.
Praise for Damned:
"Palahniuk's 12th novel is just as gleefully, vividly, hilariously obscene as you'd expect —and it's also a hell of a lot of fun. [He] has always been known for his pitch-dark satire, and it's evident here in his depiction of the underworld.... As a young adult novel, it's surprisingly sweet, hopeful and empowering; as a satire, it's funny, irreverent and hugely entertaining. 'Hell is other people,' mused Sartre. Leave it to Chuck Palahniuk to tell us that might not be such a bad thing after all."—Michael Schaub, NPR
"Damned is as lively as a book about the dead can be....the Judy Blume book from hell, just as Mr. Palahniuk intended."—Janet Maslin, the New York Times
"And now, from the Well, What Did You Expect file: Chuck Palahniuk imagines a great hell. His matter-of-fact underworld is the charming setting of Damned, a...very funny coming-of-age (after-you're-dead) novel....Palahniuk's descriptions of hell are inspired, crafted with great comic flair and the brilliant satirical stipulation that the Christian fundamentalists are right: Hell is literal, dinosaur bones were faked by Satan and among the unspeakable demons slurping about is Robert Mapplethorpe....[A] winning and funny book, and near the end, when Maddie seems to be ascending toward a sequel (Purgatory, anyone?), you'll likely want to read that one, too."—Jess Walter, Washington Post
"Damned is gross, sick, nasty, silly, all the things you want from the merry madman of American letters, Chuck Palahniuk. How can you not be instantly transfixed by an opening like this?: 'Are you there, Satan? It's me, Madison. I'm just now arrived here, in Hell, but it's not my fault except for maybe dying from an overdose of marijuana.'
And so begins the kind of goofy, but hypnotically endearing tale of a 13-year-old girl who, completely lost in life, finally starts to discover herself in Palahniuk's demented version of the afterlife....With Damned, [he] opens the fire hose to full bore again, stripping away the veneer on American society and showing us the yucky parts we don't want to see."—Chris Talbot, AP
"...[T]horoughly original...satiric and horrifying, enough so you'll want to repent after you read."—Christian DuChateau, CNN
"Some Fight Club trademarks--youthful disaffection, violence, gross-out humor, a dystopic setting, cultural satire as an extreme sport, a decent helping of third-act pathos--can be seen in...Damned. Even prepubescent Madison Spencer, the protagonist of Damned, has traits that could be seen as Tyler Durden-esque. She's disaffected from society (i.e., those still alive), she kicks serious butt and is a cultural critic who becomes an unlikely leader....It's hard to pitch the broadly satirical Damned as a useful replacement narrative of life after death, but it's a rollicking adventure of Swiftian proportions, a Valleyfair of the Underworld that, incidentally, shows an overweight teenage girl bringing Satan himself down a peg."—Claude Peck, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Damned is typical of Palahniuk's work: a scathing satire that is unfiltered, caustic and smart....[His] descriptions of hell are priceless."—Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
"Even just its first few chapters reveal several layers of satiric humor, social commentary, Grand Guignol violence and heartbreaking insight....The narrator's blend of snark, precocious wit and unconcealed vulnerability and need is a combination as refreshing as the book is hard to put down."—Bill O'Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper