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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: #50,503 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
Invisible Monsters is the story of a famous fashion model, horribly disfigured by the slug of a rifle. The events before, during, and after the shooting unravel, jumping back and forth, until finally the whole story is laid out before you. In a style that will be familiar to those who have read other books by Palahniuk, the story starts near the climax of the action. After that, everything jumps around, narrated by the main character, in a stream of memories type style.
Even giving away a big portion of the climax of the story, I found that Palahniuk kept me guessing. Nobody is quite who they seem to be in this novel. Everybody has an interesting past, and most of these pasts end up woven together in one messy, dysfunctional, disturbing fabric by the end of the book.
Along the way, Palahniuk drops lots of interesting facts that you aren't really sure if you want to know. Do you take or know anybody who takes the hormone drug Premarin? Palahniuk will key you in on the way that particular drug is made. Have you ever pondered what a difference letter placement makes in the meaning of a word? The author's discussion of the meaning of the words feltching and fletching might get you thinking about this subject.
I found it particularly interesting that the main character, and narrator, of this story is female. Often, male authors don't seem to do a very good job of writing from a female's perspective. I think that Palahniuk did a good job here. I would appreciate comments from females who have read this book about this assertion, whether you agree or disagree. But in the end, I think a lot of the gender thing disappears, as the main character becomes just a very troubled human being.
This book raises a lot of questions. It gets you thinking.
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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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