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Invisible Monsters Paperback – Aug 3 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; REPR edition (Aug. 3 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780393319293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393319293
  • ASIN: 0393319296
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

When the plot of your first novel partially hinges on anarchist overthrows funded by soap sales, and the narrative hook of your second work is the black box recorder of a jet moments away from slamming into the Australian outback, it stands to reason that your audience is going to be ready for anything. Which, to an author like Chuck Palahniuk, must sound like a challenge. Palahniuk's third identity crisis (that's "novel" to you), Invisible Monsters, more than ably responds to this call to arms. Set once again in an all-too-familiar modern wasteland where social disease and self-hatred can do more damage than any potboiler-fiction bad guy, the tale focuses particularly on a group of drag queens and fashion models trekking cross-country to find themselves, looking everywhere from the bottom of a vial of Demerol to the end of a shotgun barrel. It's a sort of Drugstore Cowboy-meets-Yentl affair, or a Hope-Crosby road movie with a skin graft and hormone-pill obsession, if you know what I mean.

Um, yeah. Anyway, the Hollywood vibe doesn't stop these comparisons. As with Fight Club and Survivor, the book is invested with a cinematic sweep, from the opening set piece, which takes off like a house afire (literally), to a host of filmic tics sprayed throughout the text: "Flash," "Jump back," "Jump way ahead," "Flash," "Flash," "Flash." You get the idea. It's as if Palahniuk didn't write the thing but yanked it directly out of the Cineplex of his mind's eye. Does it succeed? Mostly. Still working on measuring out the proper dosages of his many writerly talents (equal parts potent imagery, nihilistic coolspeak, and doped-out craziness), Palahniuk every now and then loosens his grip on the story line, which at points becomes as hard to decipher as your local pill addict's medicine cabinet. However Invisible Monsters works best on a roller-coaster level. You don't stop and count each slot on the track as you're going down the big hill. You throw up your hands and yell, "Whee!" --Bob Michaels

From Publishers Weekly

Palahniuk's grotesque romp aims to skewer the ruthless superficiality of the fashion world and winds up with a tale as savagely glib as what it derides. Narrator Shannon McFarland, once a gorgeous fashion model, has been hideously disfigured in a mysterious drive-by shooting. Her jaw has been shot off, leaving her not only bereft of a career and boyfriend, but suddenly invisible to the world. Along comes no-nonsense, pill-popping diva Brandy Alexander, a resplendent, sassy, transgendered chick, who has modeled her body rearrangement--the breast implants, the hair, the figure--on what Shannon used to look like. Brandy suggests veils, high camp and no self-pity. Shannon wants revenge[...] Adding to the plot's contrivances are the relentless flashbacks, heralded at the beginning of almost every paragraph with "Jump back to..." and the author's pretentious device of using a fashion photographer's commands ("Flash. Give me adoration. Flash. Give me a break") to signpost the narrator's epiphanies. Palahniuk writes like he's overdosed on Details magazine. Though the absurd surprise ending may incite groans of disbelief, this book does have fun moments when campy banter tops the heroine's flat, whiny bathos. (Sept.) FYI: The film of Palahniuk's novel Fight Club will star Brad Pitt.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel E. Donche Jr. on July 12 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book while driving and crashed into a fountain (one of the ones of an Angel pissing). You'd think I'd have had enough of it by then but no, I hadn't. It's that good. I read it three times in the hospital and once more in the waiting room at physical therapy (this I had to do collectively over a period of visits). If you like weird stuff and surprises, don't have that midget spring naked and ablaze from your closet when you get home from work. Read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Taylor on May 14 2009
Format: Paperback
As the title says, this novel is pretty consistent with a lot of Palahniuk's work (of which I've read most). A really absurd story with unique characters, and surprising twists. I wouldn't say it's one of his best though.

My main qualm with the book is that it is written in first person from a female perspective, and in my opinion, it was not convincing at all that this person was a woman. I felt like the character thought much like ones in his other books (which are men) - and that the things she would think about and conclusions she reached didn't mesh with how a woman thinks (I'm a woman!).
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Format: Paperback
The writing style is unlike any I have ever read; brutally honest, slightly surreal, and hilarious all at the same time. The closest you'll come is probably "Katzenjammer" by McCrae or some of Bukowski's works ("Post Office"). Still nothing compares to MONSTERS. You don't know whether to laugh or cry or be horrified, but you do know you want to find out what happens next. I had no trouble at all with the inconsecutive style; it keeps you on your toes and forces you to piece together a very bizarre puzzle. Is it weird? Yes. Is it gruesome at times? Yes. Does it push your sensitivities to the limit? Yes. And isn't that what we want in a book? I know I do. A novel about a model who agonizes and depresses over a drive-by hitting her, shattering her jawbone and disabling her speech and career. She loses all hope and travels down the wrong path of life for the next year. The story is about that year, with her fiance leaving and sleeping with her best friend, to her parents freakingly denying her brothers death years ago, dead of aids. She tumbles and twists to tell you this tale and the classic voice of Chuck Palahniuk screams through, unraveling the creativeness he always has been good at. Read this novel. Would also recommend the novels "Lullaby" and "Katzejammer: Soon to be a major motion picture." While excellent though, nothing compares to Mr. P's works. Check them out first.
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Format: Paperback
When reading this novel you have to keep in mind that a book being 'good' and a book being 'entertaining' are two entirely different things. Take for example Proust, no doubt good literature, but it will bore you to death(me at least). Invisible Monsters brings about nothing that hasn't been covered in Palahniuk's other literature, basicly being anti-everything as per Palahniuk's other books. And although the things are not what they appear, role reversal game gets a bit tired by the end, this is no less a very entertaining book. I can say that I've enjoyed it only slightly less than Lullaby. One of may favorite aspects of this,all of Palahniuk for that matter, is that he keeps his books short and active, along with his quirky modern-Vonnegut-esque writing style it allows him to both keep a reader interested and thinking. Finnaly some may say that his aforementioned odd style makes his books confusing, although this may be the case I find that a dry book will lose me far more easliy, and dry this certainly isn't.
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Format: Paperback
Invisible Monsters was a very interesting book in its manner of narrative. There is very little actually story progression; instead, Palahniuk uses a very non-linear, random method of releasing certain facts at opportune times to let the reader know what's going on. Thus the reader is surprised multiple times, leading them through a story that slowly evolves into a lot more than just a tale of lost vanity. This is a tale of sexual identity, vanity, jealousy, and truth. Everything about it is weird and yet everything is original and smartly produced.
In this it is very similar to all his other books. He displays a complete disregard for the standards of human sensibility and this makes his novels great. Combine this with his sprawling talent for quick, attack-like sentences and you have a great novel.
My only really problems with this novel were the manner in which he releases information throughout the novel. In the manner of his previous novels, it feels as if you are learning the information along with the characters. It's all really surprising and quite jolting when read. In the case of Invisible Monsters, all the realizations, while quite clever and very surprising are too convenient. The manner of narrative is such that the way he presents his revelations is too contrived. You can see the author behind the words, and that's always distracting to the grand narrative of any novel.
It all boils down in the end to whether Palahniuk is your cup of tea or not though. If you're into his type of story, all of his books are genius and I wouldn't only recommend this one but everything else he's written, but if you've got a weak stomach or simply dislike reading about human beings being horrible and wretched to one another, than this is not the book for you, as are any of the rest. (You really should check him out anyways though. He's a great writer.)
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