cover image Not Forever, but for Now

Not Forever, but for Now

Chuck Palahniuk. Simon & Schuster, $26.99 (238p) ISBN 978-1-6680-2141-5

Palahniuk (The Invention of Sound) delivers a grisly yet hazy satire of slasher stories. Two 20-something brothers embrace a murderous strain of arrested development in their upper-crust household in present-day Wales, where they listen to stories from their contract killer grandfather, who claims to have offed Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and other celebrities. Despite their ages, the brothers still have governesses, and Cecil, who narrates, looks on while his older sibling, Otto, stabs one of them to death. Cecil also recounts Otto’s other killings, among them a landscaper and the family’s dog. There are also heavy-handed hints about the brothers’ incest. Episodes in the plotless mélange include Otto and Cecil creating a deranged lottery system for their neighbors, where the winner is killed in front of the other players, and their grandfather’s ill-advised attempt to force Otto into the killing-for-hire racket. Palahniuk’s unflinching approach to the macabre material is sure to please many of his fans, but the gratuitous violence and aimless narrative won’t win any new ones. Fight Club this is not. Agent: Sloan Harris and Dan Kirschen, ICM Partners. (Sept.)