cover image Adjustment Day

Adjustment Day

Chuck Palahniuk. Norton, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-393-65259-8

The defiance of social order well-known from Palahniuk’s Fight Club finds new—if stunted—life. As American society continues to fail the common man, the mysterious actor Talbott Reynolds appears on radio and TV promising a new system built truly by the people. Soon, copies of a blue and black book proliferate quickly underground through the U.S., speaking of an Adjustment Day that will bring power to the powerless. With the American government on the verge of reinstating the military draft, Talbott’s followers rebel, killing and enslaving all journalists, politicians, and academics. New leaders arise from the rebels, creating three separatist states: Caucasia, which reverts to a medieval society; Blacktopia, which springboards into a magical and technologically advanced world; and Gaysia, a state consumed with outing heterosexuals and inseminating lesbians to keep the economy in balance. As misplaced citizens flee, others must hide in plain sight. One elder white woman blackfaces to awkwardly fit in, while a heterosexual couple passes as gay so they aren’t permanently separated. The over-the-top premise is classic Palahniuk, but he stumbles in its delivery, focusing more on the farcical aspects of these societies rather than on the characters living in them, resulting in a thin story. [em](May) [/em]