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Chuck Palahniuk On Death, Grief, World War Z And Using Metaphor In A “Really Overblown Way”

When Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk was in the red chair to talk about his new book Doomed he explained how his book is a metaphor in a similar way as Max Brooks' World War Z is a metaphor -- both of their works mourn the death of parents.

"I wanted to write three books that would allow enough time go by to mourn the death of both of my parents," Palahniuk told George. "My father died in '99 just before Fight Club was made, just before it was released. And my mother died as I was beginning to write Damned, the first book (in this series). And during this process I spent a bunch of time with Max Brooks who wrote World War Z and I saw that he had dedicated World War Z to his mother, Anne Bancroft.

"And doing the math I figured that he was probably writing World War Z in the last year of her life as she was dying of cancer. And at some point when we were alone I said, 'So is this really World War Z, this zombie apocalypse, is it really about your mom?' And he said, 'Yeah, it is, because cancer is the zombies and we took my mother to one specialist after another, everybody offered a complete perfect idea and said don't worry about it, go on home, we've got it handled.' And every specialist failed. And every specialist led to another specialist who said, 'Don't worry. She won't die.' And then they failed. And in the end cancer killed Anne Bancroft. And every 13 year old boy out there who loves World War Z doesn't realize that it's Max Brooks' broken heart writing about that last horrible year of his mother's life.

"And so in a way it's finding that metaphor that allows you to kind of share your grief in this overblown way."

Chuck Palahniuk's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight interview airs on Thursday, October 31 at 7 pm and 11:30 pm.


Fight Club (Film) - Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Linson Films
Fight Club (Book) - W. W. Norton & Company
Doomed - Doubleday Canada
Choke (Book) - Anchor Canada
Choke (Film) - Fox Searchlight Pictures, ATO Pictures, Contrafilm
Snuff - Anchor Canada
Survivor - W. W. Norton & Company
Pygmy - Anchor Canada
Picture Of Dog -  Barbara Terao
Pictures of Chuck Palahniuk - Venetia Dearden, Corbis Corporation,  Rick Madonik, Toronto Star via Getty Images