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FUGITIVES AND REFUGEES:
A Walk in Portland, Oregon

One in the Crown Journey series
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
    • Want to know where Chuck Palahniuk’s tonsils currently reside?
    • Been looking for a naked mannequin to hide in your kitchen cabinets?
    • Curious about Chuck’s debut in an MTV music video?
    • What goes on at the Scum Center?
    • How do you get to the Apocalypse Café?

In the closest thing he may ever write to an autobiography, Palahniuk provides answers to all these questions and more as he takes you through the streets, sewers, and local haunts of Portland, Oregon. According to Katherine Dunn, author of the cult classic Geek Love, Portland is the home of America’s “fugitives and refugees.” Get to know these folks, the “most cracked of the crackpots,” as Palahniuk calls them, and come along with him on an adventure through the parts of Portland you might not otherwise believe actually exist. No other travel guide will give you this kind of access to “a little history, a little legend, and a lot of friendly, sincere, fascinating people who maybe should’ve kept their mouths shut.”

Here are strange personal museums, weird annual events, and ghost stories. Tour the tunnels under downtown Portland. Visit swingers’ sex clubs, gay and straight. See Frances Gabe’s famous 1940s Self-Cleaning House. Look into strange local customs like the I-Tit-a-Rod Race and the Santa Rampage. Learn how to talk like a local in a quick vocabulary lesson. Get to know, I mean really get to know, the animals at the Portland zoo.

Oh, the list goes on and on.

From Publishers Weekly
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." Map.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

$16.95 (hardcover)
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