As mass shootings, crooked politicians, identity politics, and a general sense of turmoil plague American society as we know it, Chuck Palahniuk’s newest novel, Adjustment Day, arrives at an almost serendipitous time. Palahniuk, most famous for his 1996 novel (and filmed version) Fight Club, once again writes a biting political satire on today’s society, demonstrating, as he has time and time again, his uncanny mastery of pushing the limits in uncertain times.
As the government wages war in order to kill off its excess of “youth bulge,” the youth have their own agenda, complete with a book, a list, and a lust for power and change. Like Christ and his Apostles, these young men follow the words of Talbott Reynolds, who preaches an end to society as they know it via death and retribution. The resulting society is one of factions based on race and sexuality, of money backed by death, and despite its best efforts, of chaos.
In his typical fashion, Palahniuk addresses and twists the society of today into his own hectic, haywire, yet relevant world. As he creates an alternate world that bends, breaks, and questions our own society, he provides a radical perspective that turns everything upside down.
The best example of this is demonstrated as the lesbian women living in Gaysia, the homeland for those of homosexual orientation, are forced to conceive children against their own desires. As today’s politics are chock-full of pro-life versus pro-choice arguments, Palahniuk proves his incredible power of satirical writing as he creates a reversed world in which people are no longer up in arms over the killing of unborn fetuses, but instead over the creation.
Of all the astute and thought-provoking commentary throughout Adjustday Day, Palahniuk’s most masterful one comes through the realization a day Talbott Reynolds accidentally coined “Adjustment Day” was actually supposed to be called “A Judgment Day.” By mistaking something so simple, yet incredibly significant, as the name of such a critical day to the movement, Palahniuk demonstrates that Adjustment Day, at its very core, was itself a mistake.