Host Kerri Miller kicks off the 12th season of the Talking Volumes series when she welcomes cult author Chuck Palahniuk. The descriptor "cult author" is a little misleading here: Sporting a string of bestsellers beginning with Fight Club, which was adapted into the classic 1999 film by David Fincher, Palahniuk has been far too successful to maintain underground status. No, he's a cult author only in that he has cultivated an actual cult, a group of devoted-bordering-on-rabid fans drawn to his apocalyptic imagery and sardonic humor. (Palahniuk's website is actually called the Cult.) It's a predominately but not exclusively male fanbase, no doubt drawn to his investigations of masculinity (or the lack thereof) in modern society. His later works have edged into genre territory, sometimes drawing on elements of horror fiction, and his examinations of gender have expanded. The protagonist of his newest book, Damned (Doubleday), in fact, is an 13-year-old girl who takes readers on a tour of hell, which is by turns Boschian, slapstick, and bureaucratic.
Thu., Nov. 17, 7 p.m., 2011