Monday, November 04, 2013

Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk

(hb; 2013: sequel to Damned)

From the back cover:

"The bestselling Damned chronicled Madison Spencer's journey across the unspeakable (and really gross) landscape of the afterlife to confront the Devil himself.  But her story isn't over yet.  In a series of electronic dispatches from the Great Beyond, Doomed describes the ultimate showdown between Good and Evil.

"After a Halloween ritual gone awry, Madison finds herself trapped in Purgatory - or, as mortals like you and I know it, Earth.  She can see and hear every detail of the world she left behind, yet she's invisible to everyone who's still alive.  Not only do people look right through her, they walk through her as well.  The upside is that, no longer subject to physical limitations, she can pass through doors and walls.  Her first stop is her parents' luxurious apartment, where she encounters the ghost of her long-deceased grandmother.  For Madison, the encounter triggers memories of the awful summer she spent upstate with Nana Minnie and her grandfather, Papadaddy.  As she revisits the painful truth of what transpired over those months (including a disturbing and finally fatal meeting in a fetid men's room, in which. . . well, never mind), her saga of eternal damnation takes on a new and sinister meaning.  Satan has had Madison in his sights from the very beginning: through her and her narcissistic celebrity parents, he plans to engineer an era of eternal damnation.  For everyone."


As darkly satirical, snarky, conspiracy-minded and voice-true as its predecessor novel, Doomed is a solid follow-up that expands on its source work.  I found myself semi-regularly cringing and laughing out loud at this zing-laden and otherwise fun read, which may put off some fans who prefer Palahniuk's earlier, edgier and considerably darker work.

It's not Palahniuk's best novel, but like Damned, it's notably different than the rest of his books, and still worth checking out - perhaps from a library, for readers who prefer the aforementioned edgier, earlier work.  (Be forewarned that the ending of Doomed leaves little doubt that there's a second Madison-based sequel forthcoming.) 

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