Chuck Palahniuk is a novelist who has become closely associated with Generation X culture. Born Charles Michael Palahnuik on 21 February 1962, Palahnuik gained major recognition after one of his novels was turned into a film. Fight Club, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, turned Chuck Palahniuk into a best-selling author overnight.
Chuck Palahniuk was born and grew up in Pasco, Washington. In 1986, he graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism. Short stints followed at a local newspaper and as a mechanic, but after becoming increasingly dissatisfied with his career choices, Palahniuk volunteered to work at a homeless shelter. He also spent time as a volunteer transporting terminally ill patients to support group meetings.
Chuck Palahniuk used these dark experiences in his third novel, Fight Club, published in 1996. Fight Club was originally written to annoy a publisher who had accused his work of being too disturbing. Before Fight Club, Palahniuk's previous novels, Insomnia: If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Already and Invisible Monsters, were both rejected by publishers, though Invisible Monsters has since been published and is to be made into a film.
Palahniuk’s style of writing is sparse. He writes in short sentences and uses the main character’s voice to tell the story. He has often been described as a shock writer who uses graphic and horrific descriptions in order to shock the reader on an ever increasing scale. At many of his readings of his novel Haunted, people were said to have fainted due to the gory content of the stories.
One of Palahniuk’s trademarks is to intersperse his stories with pieces of factual information. This technique serves to draw the reader further into the story. However, many of the so-called facts are actually fiction.
With Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk became hailed as the modern voice of anti-materialism. Both the film and the book behind it struck a chord with many people who were dissatisfied with large corporations and the influence they had on people’s lives. Some people have criticized Palahniuk's writing as nihilism, a tag that he has rejected as an easy label used by the media.
Fight Club turned Chuck Palahniuk into a cult phenomenon and a best-selling author. He has the largest Internet fan base of any author. He is exceptionally considerate of his fans and replies to every letter written to him. Chuck Palahniuk also contributes to an official website called The Cult. Chuck Palahniuk has written nine fiction novels and three non-fiction books.