A couple of weeks ago The Poplar Tree attended a meeting at the Deansgate branch of Waterstones to find out more about becoming a judge on the Guardian Book Awards panel. The newspaper asked for members of the public to volunteer as judges and pick out the best new author from a shortlist of 10 books. Around sixty people turned up to the Deansgate branch, which had seven judging places up for grabs. To qualify you had to submit an entry form which included a short review (200 words) of a novel published within the past 12 months. Unfortunately The Poplar Tree wasn’t successful. For anyone who likes Chuck Palahniuk’s work, here is the short review I submitted:
Pygmy is a thirteen-year-old Communist agent hailing from an unknown territory somewhere in Eastern Asia. His homeland is seeking vengeance on America for alleged acts of terrorism, and he is sent on a state mission, while masquerading as a foreign exchange student, to implement ‘Operation Havoc’.
Pygmy doesn’t have the meteoric twist of Palahniuk’s other works such as Fight Club, or the back-to-front ending of Survivor, instead the culmination of Operation Havoc is played out over 20 or so pages of increasingly loose pidgin English. As Palahnuik struggles to collect the strands of his novel together, many unanswered questions remain and, although this may be typical of Palahnuik’s style, in this instance, the effect sadly distances rather than intrigues the reader. Continue reading