Not Forever, But For Now

Image of Not Forever, But For Now
Release Date: 
September 5, 2023
Simon & Schuster
Reviewed by: 

“Gross, irreverent, darkly sarcastic, and molasses slow, Not Forever, but for Now is Palahnuik’s weakest book to date, not to mention least enjoyable.”

From famed nihilist/satirist/gross-out artist Chuck Palahniuk comes another horror satire for die hard Fight Club fans. Right off the bat the reader is in for another sickly treat, this time starring two wealthy, privileged boys Otto and Cecil, an incestuous duo whose family business is murder. Literally.

With two books already made into the movies (the famous Fight Club and the lesser-known Choke), Palahnuik has a large following of those who appreciate his nihilistic writings leavened with enough horror to make Vincent Price gag in his grave. It seems that in the past few years he wants to top his previous vomit-inducing spectacle and Not Forever, but for Now is his latest cringe-inducing attempt.

Otto and Cecil (who can hardly be called boys but are in fact young men) are destined to inherit the mantle of killers responsible for famous deaths across the globe (Lady Di and Chris Farley to name two). It’s the family business, and business is good. Unfortunately for the world, Otto and Cecil are the type of young men who are more likely to cause a nuclear apocalypse instead of strangling Putin in the shower.

This is the set up. Now the meat of the story. Various servants on the boys’ estate wind up dying by mysterious circumstances, causing the locals to believe that the house is haunted. It is, but not by ghosts, but by the free-wheeling murderous brothers. Add to this an opioid addicted mom, a dad whose gone missing, and dear old grandpa who wants them to grow up and take care of business and you have a mansion with a pretty high body count.

The book starts out a bit slowly and does not get better as the pages turn. Sure, there is humor, but it’s darker than a black hole and the horror hits the reader with the force of a thrown brick. While employing a bit of the classic Palahniuk repetition like in Fight Club (I am Jack’s total lack of caring), here it falls a bit flat even though he does shine an uncomfortable light on some of today’s topics; however, that light tends to drown in the sheer weirdness of the Palahniuk narrative style, which, quite frequently, tends to bog down the book.

Gross, irreverent, darkly sarcastic, and molasses slow, Not Forever, but for Now is Palahnuik’s weakest book to date, not to mention least enjoyable. That’s not to say there won’t be a niche audience of fans who will greedily lap up every word and ask for more. If the reader wants light, more energetic fare, it’s recommended they try Michael Connelly or James Patterson.