By Chuck Palahniuk
W. W. Norton & Company/ Paperback/ 329 pages/ $27.66/
What would occur if everybody actually went again to the place they got here from, as racists are wont to taunt?
It would go terribly, posits Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel in 4 years, during which the American cult writer imagines a future United States the place tribalism is taken to its excessive.
He units his thoughts as soon as extra to the matter of the “youth bulge”, during which an extra of hot-blooded and disenfranchised younger males proceed to unseat the social order.
The government has determined to skinny the ranks of their youth by delivery them off to die overseas in battle. But the menfolk of America have different plans in thoughts.
Inspired by a mysterious manifesto by a person named Talbott Reynolds, scores of males plot a nationwide coup on Adjustment Day, assassinating all these named on a listing – politicians, teachers, journalists and liberal snowflakes – and reducing off their ears as trophies.
These males come to carry the reins of energy within the new order, during which the US is split into three states – Caucasia for whites, Blacktopia for blacks and Gaysia for gays and lesbians. Everyone else will get shipped again to the place they got here from – Hispanics to Mexico or Latin America, Asians to Asia, and so forth.
Like all Palahniuk’s work, Adjustment Day lies within the shadow of his 1996 cult novel Fight Club – much more so than its predecessors, as a result of it too offers with the results of getting too many offended, unfulfilled males round.
It lampshades this by having varied characters repeatedly break the primary rule of Fight Club (which isn’t to speak about Fight Club). “Palahniuk,” mutters Talbott dismissively. “All of his work is about castration. Castration or abortion.”
Palahniuk, very like his revolutionaries, succeeds within the revolution, however loses the plot on what occurs afterwards.
Caucasia descends right into a Renaissance Faire backwater. Blacktopia, taking the Magical Negro stereotype to ridiculous heights, evolves right into a parody of Black Panther’s Wakanda. Gaysia turns into a Handmaid’s Tale-esque police state of pressured in-vitro replica, albeit one the place the police are in drag.
It is a pity, as a result of Palahniuk nonetheless has his moments of comedian genius. In one scene, younger ladies in Caucasia are obliged by legislation to steadiness crowns of lit candles on their heads – based mostly on some historical Scandinavian custom – and so wander round city blithely setting awnings and umbrellas on fireplace.
The guide afforded a chance to dissect real-world considerations of poisonous masculinity, social inequality and racism, however this has been traded in for a daft thought experiment.
If you favored this, learn: Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (Faber & Faber, 2003, $19.14, Books Kinokuniya), a Man Booker prize-winning black comedy a couple of Texan teenager who finally ends up on dying row after being implicated in a mass capturing at his highschool.