Consider This by Chuck Palahniuk
It might sound odd to describe a book discussing the nuts and bolts of the craft of writing as ‘gripping’, and yet ‘Consider This’, subtitled ‘Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different’, by Chuck Palahniuk is exactly that. On reflection, it shouldn’t be surprising, Palahniuk, who’s debut novel ‘Fight Club’ launched his career in 1996, and was made into a film in 1999, has enjoyed a level of rock 'n’ roll fame in his career most writers only dream about. There’s a reason for that, he’s a masterful storyteller.
Palahniuk followed up the success of ‘Fight Club’ with more intense, transgressive novels and short stories – and there is much controversy around his subject matter. His fiction is not for the faith hearted, but you don’t have to enjoy it to see the craft in this book. In ‘Consider this’, Palahniuk does something magical. Part memoir, part storytelling tips, he tells a story which patiently shows you the mechanics behind it while he weaves a narrative out of bag of theatrical tricks, memoir and notes on writing. Many of his tips are all attributed to various teachers, and he is generous in his praise of other writers and the books that have inspired him.
In the end, it’s the story inside ‘Consider This’ that keeps the pages turning, which is the point Palahniuk is trying to make all along. How much of his antidotes are strictly true? Some are so flamboyant it’s hard to believe them, but that’s not the point, either. Palahniuk is a writer who relishes the power and art of storytelling and it shows.
This is a very clever book, and an insightful companion to those working to hone the craft of writing, and while I could put myself in that camp, I imagine this ‘Consider This' has wider appeal, and will be relished by fans hoping to know more about the man behind the stories.
Reviewer: Heidi North