Rod Raglin

This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection,  the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.

"Pygmy" reads like a comic book

Pygmy - Chuck Palahniuk

When a Christian organization from the mid-west of the United States sponsors a group of young teens from a anonymous country governed by a leftist totalitarian regime little do they know these exchange students are actually operatives train to carryout a terrorist plot.


The narrative is told by “Pgymy”, one of the exchange students and takes the form of “accounts” of events filed by this operative.


Initially, Pygmy’s literal interpretation of the English language and American colloquialisms is humorous as is his speech peppered with anti-American slogans that have now become clichés.


Pygmy identifies his host family as “cow father”, “blinking chicken mother”, “pig dog brother” and “stealth cat sister”. He imagines ways he can kill them and just about any one else he encounters with vicious martial arts maneuvers.


Early in the story, Pygmy is confronted by a teen bully in the washroom of Walmart but overcomes him with his martial art skills. For some reason, the author doesn’t have his hero stop at giving the thug a beating, but has him brutally sodomize his assailant as well. This violent act has significant ramifications throughout the story but this reader could never understand Pygmy’s motivation and so all the plot points that spring from it appear false.


About two-thirds through the book it becomes apparent the story is taking a familiar course – that of a hostile foreigner being won over by all that is great and wonderful in America, despite a few shortcomings. The message seems to be any other way of life or political system is brutal, corrupt and just plain stupid and when it’s all said and done everyone, given the opportunity, would happily abandoned all their principles and ideology just to live in the good old USA.


I applaud the author for his attempt at a unique voice, though even this becomes tiring and one would think Pygmy’s “broken English” would improve over the course of his stay in the country. But as a novel it reads like a comic book stereotyping middle-America and citizens from non-democratic countries. As a satire it has nothing original to say.