I really liked a lot of Palahniuk’s earlier work — especially books like Fight Club — but lately I’ve been having a tough time with his writing. It’s all very very skilled, just not that much fun or rewarding to read. Pygmy is in that category. It’s got occasionally hilarious parts, but most of it is just a slog.
It’s about a middle school/high school exchange student from a fictional revolutionary company — he & his other operatives come over to start Operation Havoc — a terrorist operation aimed at the US’s science fairs.
This must have been a very hard book to write, because it’s all in the broken, angry English of the main character — so props to Palahniuk for that — and I have to say that it’s a better effort than Snuff, but I wouldn’t really recommend it.
One funny part was the main character’s description of playing dodge ball in PE, which I’ll put here:
For official record, American education rituals especial efficient at task segregation youth of superior intellect removed from youth gifted superior physical prowess. Best example, ritual label as “dodgeball.” Therein all peer males engage mock battle under witness fertile peer females. Commencement of ritual, physical superior males select best combatants for accompany into battle, thus ranking all from most-best to least desirable for reproduction during females note close attention. Next then, divided males engage violent assault upon each opposite army, battering with inflated bladders latex rubber. Over course conflict, males boasting superior musculature inflict injure upon males typical of superior intellect although suffering inferior height-to-weight ratio, body mass index, and stature. At completion dodgeball ritual, females made full aware which males present most-desirable physical traits. Vanquished males culled by injury, weak reproductive citizens force self-select, redirect, instead impregnate mates, procreate offspring, instead channel aggressions chess club, focus sexual ambitions science club. Debate or forensics. Model rocket association. Granted no access sexual reproduction, thereby liberate superior intellect for indulge in further education. During same, superior physical genetics routed so impregnate superior physical females. For benefit all society, most crucial segregate intellect out physical fit. All accomplished in battle dodge of ball.