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Choke

Written by: Chuck Palahniuk
Narrated by: Chuck Palahniuk
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Victor Mancini, a medical school dropout, is an antihero for our deranged times. Needing to pay elder care for his mother, Victor has devised an ingenious scam: He pretends to choke on pieces of food while dining in upscale restaurants. He then allows himself to be “saved” by fellow patrons who, feeling responsible for Victor’s life, go on to send checks to support him. 

When he’s not pulling this stunt, Victor cruises sexual-addiction-recovery workshops for action, visits his addled mom, and spends his days working at a colonial theme park. 

His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve. 

©2001 by Chuck Palahniuk
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.

What the critics say

"One of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all its own." (Newsday)
"At times very funny. Also sick and perverted....Readers will love it. Readers will hate it and be offended by it. Must listen to figure out what you think." (AudioFile)
"Displays a Swiftian gift for satire, as well as a knack for crafting mesmerizing sentences that loom with stark, prickly prose and repetitive rhythms." (San Francisco Examiner)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Dark & convoluted;just the way I like my Palahniuk

Dark & convoluted, just the way I like my Chuck Pahalniuk. Strange characters, strangely relatable themes.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pamela
  • 2003-10-26

Oh please, not another abridged!!!

Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

187 of 200 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pamela Harvey
  • The Coast of Rhode Island
  • 2003-10-26

Oh please, not another abridged!!!

Will you please stop featuring such appealing novels only available in abridged format? I am continually stumped as to why oh why anyone with a brain would even bother to read an abridged novel. Several times I have found on your site what promised to be a good read, but only available in the abridged version, and I have gone to the competition and rented the unabridged cassettes. Please stop the insanity!

100 of 110 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 2015-07-02

Stop the Abridged Madness!

“It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
― Philip K. Dick, VALIS

I'm not sure how this one slipped by me. I normally don't purchase abridged novels or audiobooks. Perhaps, I just really wanted to hear Palahniuk read his own stuff (his voice is uncannily like a friend of mine who suffers from Triskaidekaphobia, but I digress...), but I can't give it a great review because it is ABRIDGED. Half the Mona Lisa might still be 1/2 a Da Vinci, but it isn't the Mona Lisa anymore. It is a piece. A sleave. Ugh.

I really liked this book. In a lot of ways it may be my favorite Palahniuk novel (so far, and ignoring the abridgement which I had to fix on my own by going back to the original novel). You can tell CP is leaving a lot of his own emotion and blood in the narrative. Do I think it is autobiographical? Certainly not, but I think it may be built out of stones that Palahniuk has lifted. He is able to weave many of the themes he will visit again and again into this novel. The struggle of addiction, the struggle to be human in a dehumanized world, the explosive need to not conform to what is being sold is all here.

There is a period in modern life when you wake up and realize that YOU are the beakless chicken destined to spend the rest of your life in a battery cage so small you cannot even stretch your wings. Society will continue to feed and water you as long as you keep pumping those eggs out. Most of us wake up to this existence and either pray or beg for it to end quickly. We might seek to muffle our existence with drugs, or religion, or sex, or exercise, or some other form of mental escape. We all grab for some opiate of the egg farm. Palahniuk is one of those rare writers, one of those rare birds who won't sit still in the cage. He is a chicken that seems fully prepared to burn the farm DOWN.

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andy
  • BirminghamUnited Kingdom
  • 2008-03-30

Original amusing and sexy in a sick kind of way

I sometimes wonder if I have been listening to the same book as other reviewers. This is an ultimately uplifting book about the point at which people break out of destructive behaviors and turn their lives around.
Now that obviously involves delving into the destructive behaviors but since the example given is sex addiction everything has its positive side.
I found it a very funny book. It is completely unreliable on almost everything especially the opening entreaty from the author to stop reading.
If you are easily offended its not for you. If your are annoyed by snowboarder speak...Dude don't do it!
If you enjoy original and irreverent ideas coming at you in twisted but amusing ways get it in your cart!
I bought it because I enjoyed the sample...I think its pretty representative of the whole book so I would recommend you try that, if you enjoy it you will enjoy the whole thing.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • richmond, TX, USA
  • 2005-03-02

Completely mis-understood work of genius

This book has been reviewed by several prudes on this site, and that's cool. But this book contains so much more depth and insight into people's actions and the motivations behind them. It is one of the most insightful and thought provoking books I've ever read, and it's a shame that so many people can't see past the "vulgarity and sex talk". Have an open mind with this one and you might walk away a different person. I know I did.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • 2003-11-13

A very subtle, very brilliant, author!

Chuck does something not many other people do and he may not do it intentionally, but the wisdom of his writing is buried underneath a sort of "shock test" that you have to be open-minded enough to accept as having some value, before his brilliance really starts to surface for you. 'Lullaby' is better, but 'Choke' is good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Diamond Bar, CA, USA
  • 2003-05-21

Loved this book!

Very dark and dry humor, kept me interested the entire time. The author narrates the book which I really enjoyed. His dead pan delivery of some of the most shocking material literally made me laugh out loud numerous times. If you like sarcastic dark humor you must check this out. If you are very serious about a 12 step program you belong to this book might not be for you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Liz
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • 2003-07-01

sobering

I got this book because I really enjoyed the movie "Fight Club." I was a little unnerved by the extensive and raw description of what goes on in the mind of a sex addict. Though this was disturbing, I found the book compelling. In the end I felt that the author's narration set the perfect tone. I enjoyed my little journey in someone else's mind--a reminder that the world is composed of all kinds.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Johm
  • 2017-08-09

Dull voice performance

The author read his book with no emotion at a very slow pace. The story had some great disgusting imagery, and a great premise but was poorly executed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Corey A. Messer
  • Cromwell, Minnesota USA
  • 2008-11-19

Does not live up to hype

First off let me start by saying, this book is not offensive, edgy, or even really that "erotic". It is in fact fairly boring and highly uneventful. I was told (when I asked what Palahniuk book to start with) that it had some brilliant subtext and original characters. What I got was subtext that was repeated so much that it was no longer subtext but text written 10 feet tall on a billboard. The sexual acts within the book were some of the most tame, uninspired,snooze fests I have ever read/listened to. Its not even the authors voice that does it in, his voice lends itself well to the story. This book should have been condensed to about half its length. I didn't need a million descriptions of why his mother is crazy/the anti anti hero. I get it, move on with the story. I don't need a million examples of his sex life, he's pathetic, I get it, move on. I don't need a million repetitions of repetitions to make me feel like I'm losing it with the character, I have a better imagination then that, I get it, move on. This story kind of meanders about in a little circle never really speaking out, never really making an impact. The characters seem very forced, like 2D characters bent in half to try to make them somewhat 3 dimensional. Its a book that tries to hard. Its like the kid in grade school you see desperately trying to color inside the lines, nearly shaking with frustration from trying to keep the crayons tip inside the treacherous little black lines. Someone needs to tell that kid that sometimes, its ok to color outside the lines. Don't try so hard, we're not stupid. We get it. Hope his other books don't disappoint.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful