Hernan Migoya

Updated Monday, February 26, 2024-21:26

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Chuck Palahniuk

connects at home to our virtual date with a certain polite boredom to answer my questions about his magnificent novel

The Invention of Sound

(Random House ed.).

He does not reject any of them, he weighs them for a few seconds and responds precisely.

He is cordial without being affable, he imposes that distance from the gringos that would not shorten a face-to-face meeting.

But he knows how to laugh.

In this book about the stumble of a pedophile hunter who seeks to avenge the disappearance of his daughter with a sound engineer who creates noises capable of causing catastrophes, his old obsessions reappear: alienation, the search for certainties through the adoption of false identities.

He is attracted to lies. My characters never scam for money, since

Fight Club

their motivation is the need for emotional support.

They present a false identity to be loved and in the process they discover that the world is already just as false as they are.

We all pretend to some degree to deal with our work or intimate environment.

But their characters are very radical, they lie with premeditation and treachery. Everyone lies on purpose, but they end up forgetting that at three or four years old they made the decision to be "the pretty girl" or "the athletic boy."

My characters, at least, are aware that they are lying.

Young people have no resources, they have minimal education, few contacts and a lot of precariousness.

Her appearance and the ceremonial of being attractive are her closest resources.

So, for them, losing their attractiveness or suffering public humiliation is a definitive defeat.

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Chuck Palahniuk.

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The Invention of Sound

we can find a lot of thematic motifs, but it never stops at just one.

Do you know where you're going when you start writing a story? No!

When I knew where I was going, I never got there because I would end up bored halfway there.

That's why I have to make each chapter or twist of the story like a story, elaborate and complete in itself.

At the time when I still combined it with a normal job, I was unable to keep all that enormous incomplete material in my head, so I organized myself to write each chapter as a self-contained story, to at least have something closed before going to work.

Now, I usually know the contents of half the book, and I trust that if I write that half as best I can, the book itself will write its second half. So what it does is enjoy the mere act of opening it. doors until it finds a path. First I open doors and then the doors open for me.

The book must coax me into going places I would never want to go.

And somehow, as a writer, I must coax the reader into going places they would never go voluntarily.

"I only tell stories that are too extreme for film, television or


. I don't want to create domesticated stories that a film could tell better"

One of the findings of this novel is its use of the third person narrative, very far from those first persons of his that are so distinctive, but so invasive. I am not very skilled in that resource.

The minimalist style in which I was taught to write considers the third person as an unsuitable voice.

She operates too detached and distant, so she usually gives up adding color to the story.

In first person you have greater immediacy and it allows you the possibility of modifying the language and adopting your character's point of view.

So I'm glad that third person worked! The play came out in the US three years ago.

How was the reception there? I never look for how my books are received.

Whether they worship them or not is something I should not witness because it is not healthy.

It doesn't help me as an author to be happy or sad about readers' reactions.

There are enough things in my own life to be happy about.

Plus the world is too connected, everyone is critical now!

So who am I supposed to listen to and who to ignore?

It no longer makes sense. He always dares to convey very crude real stories that most other writers would not dare to address, such as the horrible incidental death of that child locked in a car under suffocating heat.

For Palahniuk there seems to be no limit to toughness.

What criteria do you follow? Number one: it has to be a fun story.

According to my best teacher, our job is to make the reader laugh and at the height of their laughter, suddenly break their heart.

And then make them laugh a little again, as a culmination.

So I look for very funny stories that turn very tragic.

And also that they cannot be told by any other means, too extreme for cinema, television or



Because right now the only advantage that books have is that they can tell stories that no other medium can afford to tell.

I don't want to create domesticated stories that a movie could tell better.

"The violence I describe is always consensual. Gay writers always come from consensual violence: it is more difficult to rape another man"

Do you feel total freedom when writing?

How does the rise of political correctness and cancellation affect you? Taking it personally: since I was little and realized that I was attracted to men, I have always been canceled.

Somehow, I was already born cancelled!

So the idea of ​​being canceled is not too threatening to me, the idea of ​​going back to that no longer represents any punishment. Since you mention it, and without wanting to sound deterministic, I am fascinated by the toughness, the audacity and the cerebral nature of the violence in his books, as much as in those of Clive Barker or Bret Easton Ellis.

And the only link I see in the three of them is his homosexuality.

Am I hallucinating or could it have something to do with it? I can only speak for myself.

In most of my books, violence is always consensual.

One character accepts and even provokes the other to violence.

This is demonstrated by the rules of

Fight Club

, for example: it is a structured, highly ritualized violence, where both parties consent.

My characters have usually agreed to that kind of violence.

But from there I can speculate that gay writers come from a place where, if they have experienced that kind of violence, it has been consensual.

On the other hand, this activity between heteros is not usually so.

It is much more difficult to rape another man, so it is much more difficult for that non-consensual attack to occur.

And I think that might be where Barker, Ellis and I are coming from.

We have not suffered as much risk of receiving abuse or we are less aware of the possibility of non-consensual aggression. His books contain many elements of horror without belonging orthodoxly to that genre.


doesn't remind me so much of Stephen King as of what he signed as Richard Bachman, a postmodern

The Long March

. Ah, wow!

My model for writing



The Canterbury Tales

, about those pilgrims who tell stories while they make their journey through spacious landscapes. He always enjoys mentioning his beginnings in literature workshops and his teachers. First of all, I have learned my craft from many sources. people.

And many are already dead.

I believe that my responsibility is to share those teachings, ideas and tricks with others as a way of honoring my teachers Peter Christopher, Amy Hempel and Tom Spanbauer.

I try to ensure that this legacy, always proven, continues with future generations.

On another level, spreading your knowledge clears your own vices as a writer.

If you show others what your tricks are, you are less likely to keep repeating them for the rest of your life.

You purge them from your system.

"When you are 20 years old you give up sex, drinking and drugs to write. Now that I am old, the only thing I have is my activity as a writer"

As a comic book writer, I am amazed by his seriousness and ambition in the Fight Club


for artist Cameron Stewart. I never aspired to write comics.

The people at Dark Horse invited me to a dinner for screenwriters like Brian Michael Bendis just to convince me to try the craft.

They told me how it is a team effort (the scriptwriter, the coordinator, the letterer, the colorist) and they made the idea of ​​writing with that team of young people very attractive instead of being, as always, alone in the creation of a work.

The idea of ​​working with four or five very talented people decided me. Another author would have approached it as a derivative product of the successful source, that is, the original book.

Did you enjoy the experience? Look, I started writing when I was twenty, and at that age the whole world awaits you outside.

So whatever you're writing has to be incredibly better than any party, because you're giving up sex, drinking, and drugs to write.

Now that I'm old, the only thing I have is my activity as a writer.

I don't want to go to parties or have sex with strangers.

I just have to write!

So writing still has to be what it was when I was 20. And now it's easier, because I already have the job. But do you ever feel disenchanted, tired, fed up, bored? [Laughs] Of course, all four things, always!

And angry, disappointed, bitter.

But I always find an idea that forces me to start writing again.

An idea always ends up saving me.