Fugatives and Refugees, Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk

Fugatives and Refugees

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Beginning with the premise that «everyone looking to make a new life
migrates west," Palahniuk (Fight Club; Lullaby) portrays Portland as a
city that attracts a sort of modern-day pioneering-or at least
innovative-spirit. And because it's the cheapest West Coast city in which to live, Portland also draws its share of down-and-outs, making it a bit rough around the edges. Written as much for first-time visitors
as for those who already share Palahniuk's passion for the city, this
book is a mixture of practical travel guide and personal vignettes
featuring quirky acquaintances and moments of happenstance. In keeping
with the Crown Journeys series' tone, this is at once a reflection of the writer and of a particular community. Would every other novelist
have devoted one of the longer chapters to the city's thriving sex industry and the many places visitors can partake? Palahniuk's fondness
for his not-so-sleepy hamlet comes through in each gritty detail (for
example, the recommended shopping excursions list includes the best
thrift stores, and suggestions for accommodations emphasize haunted
hotels). Certain details will tempt as many readers as they'll deter:
the semiannual Apocalypse Caf‚, where guests pretend to celebrate «the
first potluck after a nuclear holocaust»; the world's largest hairball,
on display at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary; the 1940s self-cleaning
house; and historic underground tunnel tours. Among the filth and grime,
abundant gardens grow, and Palahniuk hypes them all-from the country's
largest forested municipal park to Mill End Park, «the size of a big dinner plate… surrounded by six lanes of heavy traffic.»
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