cover image Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread

Chuck Palahniuk. Doubleday, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-53805-3

For the first time, Palahniuk (Beautiful You) collects his short stories, which feature his signature humor, horror, and grit. Old fans will relish Tyler Durden, from Palahniuk’s debut 1996 novel Fight Club, returning in “Expedition” to spread his twisted influence in Hamburg, Germany. Also included are previously published stories such as “Zombies,” in which the newest high school fad is lobotomy by defibrillator; “Phoenix,” in which a broken family deals with the aftermath of a house fire; and the cringe-worthy “Cannibal,” capable of turning stomachs. Not surprisingly, Palahniuk finds sincerity among his characters even in disreputable occurrences in “Romance” and “How a Jew Saved Christmas.” Some of his never-before-published stories show him experimenting with voice and style to mixed success, but the biggest winner is the novella “Inclinations,” which follows a group of teenagers checked into a “gay cure” hospital. Other stories deal with fire, bodily fluids, malfunctions, critiques of material society, bestiality, a bewitched tennis ball, and a murder at a Burning Man–type retreat. The collection is essential for Palahniuk fans and will likely win him some new ones. (May)