Biblical descriptions aside, ideas of what constitutes hell vary from person to person. For me it could be the forced watching of reality television shows and reading of romance novels with trips to Wal-Mart thrown in for extra punishment. But alas, “Damned” describes hell as only Chuck Palahniuk can imagine it. The book will be released Oct. 18 and is already kicking up a stir by the author who’s best known for the award-winning novel “Fight Club.”
Lemuria Bookstore owner John Evans is high on Palahniuk and his latest book. “Reading adds to our actual life experience by giving us a safe place to dig into our own psyches. Through Chuck’s characters we witness aspects of life without having to experience them, experiences we wouldn’t even want to have,” he said. “I believe a Chuck Palahniuk reading experience can remind us how much control we do have over our own life plots and how much of our lives just happen to us.”
He goes on to say that in the hell presented in “Damned,” we view from the outside what many of us fear the most: death and coming to terms with our wrongful actions and life mistakes. In the book, Madison, a 13-year-old girl in hell, becomes Palahniuk’s source of inspiration, a muse for readers to view hell with a sense of humor.
“‘Damned’ gives a reason to laugh at what scares us the most, and perhaps the biggest fear for us all is to be damned to hell,” Evans said. “Could Chuck’s hell be our motivator to wake up, to cut through our malaise and angst? Chuck challenges us to have less fear of the unknown and live life boldly, allowing us to have more impact on the world we do live in.”
Madison is the daughter of a narcissistic film star and a billionaire who left her at a Swiss boarding school during Christmas where she dies of a marijuana overdose. She finds herself in hell with a motley crew of young sinners almost too good to be true. The cellmates set off to meet the devil, enduring numerous hardships including climbing a mountain made of toe nail clippings.
To celebrate this other-worldly book, Lemuria is having a Damned Book Night of Sin on Oct. 20 at Hal & Mal’s in Jackson. “It’s all in fun with exaggeration, at least as much as we can figure out how to provide,” Evans promises. “All over 21 are welcome to step out there. By exploring Chuck, we are challenging ourselves and our community to address uncomfortable issues and create change.”