Choke by Chuck Palahnuik (2001)



Vincent Mancini has a lot of problems. He has a crap job, a sick mother, and is a sex addict. Throw in some crazy friends, and an inventive way of making money, and you get one bizarre story.


This is another of my “book stockpile” books. I’ve had it for probably about a year and half at this stage, but only recently dove into into. Again, this book had the honour of being my commuting book.

I’ve been using the same method of commuting to the city centre since I first moved to Dublin. I ALWAYS have a book with me, and I’ve never had any issues with anybody. However, that was about to change.

My shift in the past couple of weeks allowed me to finish work around 5.30 and weary from a long week of work, I shuffled onto the train and stood, wedged in between sweaty busniess men and women with huge bags. I fished this out of my bag and quickly got lost in the story. A few minutes later, I heard the almost stereotypical “ahem” and a bony finger poking me in the arm. A woman in her late 50’s/ early 60s was staring at me like she was expecting me to burst into flame. “Do you mind not reading that? I find it offensive.”, she said, pointing at “Choke”. I just gaped at her. I didn’t know what to say. The guys that I was standing next to looked at me, I looked at them, and went back to reading, ignoring Mrs. Prissy Pants’ sighs and mutterings.

What the actual fuck.

Anyway. This book is an odd one. The story is hard to get in to. It’s almost impenetrable. I didn’t feel any empathy towards Vincent at all. I suppose he isn’t really an empathic character and is just a tough cookie to crack also. You can almost chart Vincent’s coming off the rails and are aware of plot turns and twists before he is. In a way, it’s like car crash tv. You know what’s happening, and what’s about to happen before Vince does, but you can’t look away.

The sex described in the book is not pleasant. It’s not romantic. It’s Vincent’s addiction and is treated as such. He hates himself as much as everyone else. He doesn’t know how to interact with others, and has a very limited range of emotions.

Would I recommend it? It’s difficult to know. I would recommend it to people who have read Palahnuik’s other works, but it’s not my favourite by him.

TL:DR – Let’s not forget Jesus’ foreskin.


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