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    In his new novel Chuck Palahniuk gives readers a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.

    Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's hospital care: pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who saves you will feel responsible for the rest of their lives. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of cheques, week in, week out.

    Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his, possibly divine, parentage.

    An antihero for our deranging times, Victor's whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

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