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Invisible Monsters [Paperback]

Chuck Palahniuk
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.95
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1999
Love, betrayal, petty larceny, and high fashion fuel this deliciously comic novel from the author of Fight Club and Survivor. The fashion-model protagonist of Invisible Monsters has just about everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But one day she's driving along the freeway when a sudden "accident" leaves her with half her face, no ability to speak, and next to no self-esteem. From being the beautiful center of attention she becomes an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman; Brandy will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing the past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.

In this hilarious and daringly unpredictable novel, the narrator must exact revenge upon Evie, her best friend and fellow model; kidnap Manus, her two-timing ex-boyfriend; and hit the road with Brandy in search of a brand-new past, present, and future. Changing names and stories in every city, they catapult toward a final confrontation with a rifle-toting Evie--by which time the narrator will have learned that loving and being loved are not mutually exclusive, and that nothing, on the surface, is ever quite what it seems.

By turns witty, poignant, and exhilarating, Invisible Monsters will take you on a ride you'll never forget.


Frequently Bought Together

Invisible Monsters + Choke + Survivor
Price For All Three: CDN$ 38.19

  • Choke CDN$ 13.68
  • Survivor CDN$ 12.27

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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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Where you're supposed to be is some big West Hills wedding reception in a big manor house with flower arrangements and stuffed mushrooms all over the house. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far my favorite book by anybody named Chuck 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Original! May 2 2005
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good vs. Entertaining June 8 2004
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Give me awesome. Flash. Give me original. Flash April 23 2004
By Eric
Format:Paperback
Invisible Monsters is definitely one of the better Palahniuk books I have read so far; Survivor, Fight Club, and Invisible Monsters being one of them. Choke was all right, but it mostly dealt with Victor having sex with his mom's doctor, and not him choking on food except for maybe one time in the book.
Invisible Monsters is about a former model, who's face is destroyed by a car accident, which leaves her face disfigured by the accident. At home, her parents grieve on the death of their only son thanks to burning the garbage when a can of hairspray blows up killing him. Now she meets Eveie; a model also but brings her into going to different cities making up her own history where she goes. So now, at home, Evie is gone to Cancun for a photo shoot, and now she is on the hunt with her trusty shotgun to Cancun to kill her for taking her prisoner at her home. So now as she travels, she makes up history as she goes until she runs into Evie. I am not going to spoil the book, this is one of Palahniuk's best work since Fight Club. Definitely worth checking out. Also there are a couple of original Palahniuk things in here; where her parents give her a female condom for Christmas, and how her mom and dad made a memorial blanket which just makes up laugh. Good novel though.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Palahniuk delivers the twist
Well-written, fast-paced, really interesting. There are a few times that this book gets a bit difficult to follow, but you can make your way through. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Danielle Lucas
2.0 out of 5 stars Paluhniuk fans beware.
Maybe I am just out-growing Palahniuk, but this book fell flat for me. It doesn't have that sickly entertaining spark that his other books seem to hold so well. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2012 by K. Ketz
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic Palahniuk save gender issues
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. Read more
Published on May 14 2009 by A. Taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars Jump to boring
I'm not going to waste a lot of time analysing this book, because lots of others have slammed its ridiculous style and premise, not to mention its revolting twist. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2008 by Steve Z. McCauley
4.0 out of 5 stars Loud and proud
Whether you're into any of the subjects that Chuck Palahniuk writes about, you'll enjoy WHAT he does with the materials chosen. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2007 by James Monroe
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best book you'll read in your life!
This book reads itself on its own so much you're captivated by the rollercoaster of events and "hidden guns" (as Palahniuk calls the "plot twists"), although you find yourself... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2007 by neuroxik
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so invisibly good
The writing style is unlike any I have ever read; brutally honest, slightly surreal, and hilarious all at the same time. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2007 by Ellen Rice
5.0 out of 5 stars Cover is as good as the book
I do so hope that the people who buy this book take a good look at the cover: it's as ingenius as the writing inside. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2006 by Peck Ransom
5.0 out of 5 stars See-through great!
Someone has blown the face off a beautiful model as she is driving on the expressway! Whodunnit? This question is almost ignored throughout this really weird and hilariously... Read more
Published on March 19 2006 by Charity Valentine
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great cover, great everything
The writing style is unlike any I have ever read; brutally honest, slightly surreal, and hilarious all at the same time. Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2005 by Ellen Rice
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