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5.0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary at its Best
Chuck Palahnuik's Lullaby was one of those reads where you imagine every detail because every detail is examined within the story. Lullaby is a story about greed, control, power, and in contrast of those, the path of redemption. Carl Streator is a detective who has a past that haunts him. When it comes back to bite him in the butt in the form of a culling song (an ancient...
Published on March 11 2004 by Josh

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3.0 out of 5 stars observer of the absurd
What first fascinated me was the "culling song" plot element. Really the only part of the synopsis you need to know is "The consequences of media saturation are the basis for an urban nightmare in Lullaby. Assigned to write a series of feature articles investigating SIDS, troubled newspaper reporter Carl Streator begins to notice a pattern among the cases...
Published on June 22 2004 by KimberleyM


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3.0 out of 5 stars observer of the absurd, June 22 2004
By 
KimberleyM (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
What first fascinated me was the "culling song" plot element. Really the only part of the synopsis you need to know is "The consequences of media saturation are the basis for an urban nightmare in Lullaby. Assigned to write a series of feature articles investigating SIDS, troubled newspaper reporter Carl Streator begins to notice a pattern among the cases he encounters..."

You don't need to read more as it will give away some plot points that are nice to discover rather than having them exposed on the dust jacket.
The culling spell leads to even more old world spells which when used in modern day have some interesting applications... so of course I suggest it because it has magic and as one review put it "it's chock full of eco-hippie rhetoric and nihilistic tendencies".
But I also found some beautiful paragraphs about color - yes it was the artist in me that drooled over these - and moments of startling profundity that awaken the reader to the absurdity of modern culture and make you wonder whose world is crazier - his or ours. This is a modern day Film Noir pulp detective story - complete with haggard-life-weary detective. It's got a lot of dark and dry humor and is a little gritty.
Half way through it get even more surreal and though I finished it I thought there were two books under one binding... I was not as enthralled with the second half. In Fight Club I identified with Marla (yeah say what you will) in this one I'm just an observer of the absurd.

Give it a peek and see what you think. But if you did not like or see moments of profundity of the counter culture statements in Fight Club you won't like this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Palahniuk Starter, June 10 2004
By 
Daveda J. Campbell "tcmanifesto" (Friendswood, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
In a Guardian Online interview, Chuck claimed that this book would be the best book for a Palahniuk novice to enter his world of eco-hippe rhetoric and nihilistic tendencies. Having only read two of his books(This and Fight Club), I enjoyed the socially conscious message that Chuck sends through both the Protagonist and Antagonist of the story. The plot can best be described as surreal. The absurdity of the wiccan lovers and the necrophiliac co-worker and succesful real estate agent all mingling to obtain the source of the culling lullaby is laughable(in a good way). Overall the most powerful impression this book leaves is the affect that we have on the environment, how we willingly rape the land of its natural resources and habitat and slaughter animals for our own self-interests pushed me in the direction of vegetarianism or at least incited me to accept the validity of the vegan lifestyle.
Fun book that Chuck sprinkles with statements of profundity that will take your mind off the crazy store and apply much of what happens to your own life.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lullaby, May 19 2004
By 
Josh Daniels "jd83" (Maple Grove, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
"Lullaby" is a story about a reporter (Carl Streader) who is working on a story for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS.) Through his research for the story, he makes a startling discovery -- a poem that is printed in a children's book, called the "Culling Song," causes death to its listeners. The story follows Carl in his quest to destroy all of the copies of the Culling Song, and he gets mixed up with other characters who share his secret of the poem's power, if not his desire to destroy it.
I was drawn to this book because I really enjoyed the movie "Fight Club," and "Lullaby" possesses alot of the same angry undertones that made Fight Club entertaining. The book started out very strong. Palahniuk seems to have a gift for creating intelligent, edgy, and angry characters who go on rants that feel like they were borne from blast furnaces. Another thing I notice in the book that you can't detect in the movie is his unique way of describing things. Green is not good enough, he describes green as the reflection off of the yellow ball on the pool table rather than the red one. I like that.
This story does bog down a little bit. He spends much too much time on a road trip scene, and he tries to develop a love interest for Carl that feels like a movie where the two love interests are just plain miscast, (i.e., Keanu Reeves and anybody...just kidding.) These parts of the book are slower, but they do not undo all the good that Palahniuk created in the beginning of his story.
This story, though probably one of the author's weaker ones, was very entertaining to a first time reader, and I am excited to read more of his works.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not Tight, April 8 2004
By 
Silas Traitor (The South, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
A journalist researching a story on "crib-death" makes some scary connections between a series of infant deaths and a book of poems from around the world, leading him and a small crew of odd companions on a nationwide quest.
I can't say I really liked Lullaby, but I can't say I didn't either. It was entertaining, and it moved at a good, fast clip. I was always interested. But then there were a few things that just didn't sit well with me. There were times when the characters failed to act in ways we had been taught to expect them to act. Then events start lining up "Hollywood" style; things happen because, well, that's what needs to happen next. It was all too convenient.
Regarding the magic, Palahniuk falls into the ancient trap of letting his magic go unrestricted. All fantasy readers know magic needs to be controlled or it will ruin a good story, so Palahniuk casts his spells then waves his hands to keep us from asking too many questions, which, if he were pressed to answer, would force him to rewrite some chapters and come up with a new ending.
Entertaining, but not very tight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, but the underlying message comes out garbled, March 26 2004
By 
Eva (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
Lullaby is one of the best books I've read in a while. Does it have a deep, important point to make that I should ponder for a very, very long time? In a word, yes. At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter all that much whether you "get it" or not. It's insanely well written (emphasis on insane), and while the plot is typical convoluted Palahniuk it never leaves you behind. While things that happen in Lullaby might seem somewhat random, there's always a method to the madness. I took a star off because of that deep, important point--it's very vague. Fight Club had a real message, Survivor had a real message, and Invisible Monsters had a real message. Lullaby's thesis, for one reason or another, eludes the reader. The basic ideas are there, but they're never really pulled together. There are compelling questions raised about power and humanity--but that's all they are. Even if the message escapes the reader, it's still a four-star book. Read it if you love black humor and unique plots.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Social Commentary at its Best, March 11 2004
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
Chuck Palahnuik's Lullaby was one of those reads where you imagine every detail because every detail is examined within the story. Lullaby is a story about greed, control, power, and in contrast of those, the path of redemption. Carl Streator is a detective who has a past that haunts him. When it comes back to bite him in the butt in the form of a culling song (an ancient poem that kills intended people when read), he must put his past and the poem to rest. With the aid of an over-the-top woman, a young wiccan, and an overbearing know-it-all, Carl must destroy all copies of the poem, and reach redemption before damnation takes over him.
Palahnuik captured the essence of his main character, and kept you involved with him from beginning to end. The same goes with each of these characters as we meet them and see each of their own downfalls. I must admit that the beginning of the novel is a bit confusing, but it all comes around in the third chapter, and from then on any mystery/suspense lover will be involved until the end.
What really kept me involved is how the novel is much like a social commentary. The undertones of how much power can control one's self is shown in each character. That's how it is in real life with people. Once power is given to someone, they want more. I won't get deep with this, but it's just an extra goodness of the book.
This is my first book by Chuck Palahnuik, and it's sparked my interest for his other novels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive, but thought-provoking, Jan. 22 2004
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
Carl Streater is a reporter. His job is to focus on the details, and it's slowly driving him mad. Ever since the death of his wife and child, he's felt empty. As he begins to realize that his life has no meaning, rage builds inside him, and it's only a matter of time before he explodes. While researching a story on crib death, Streater discovers a terrible secret. Every dead child was read a lullaby before they died. This lullaby was a culling song, a kind of ancient prayer that killed all who heard it. It was meant to end the pain of the elderly and those suffering from disease, but very few people know this.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Yeah right.
Helen Hoover Boyle is a real estate agent who's also lost her loved ones. She sells the homes that people are afraid of, the ones that have been host to strange and disturbing happenings. Her pink, gaudy exterior hides her ruthlessness. She has accepted death and she takes advantage of her situation. Helen is dangerous and vulnerable at the same time, and she knows more than meets the eye. Together with Mona, Helen's deeply spiritual secretary, and Oyster, Mona's boyfriend, they go on a desparate mission to destroy all remaining copies of the anthology that contained the culling song.
From there, this novel turns into a critique of mass media and communication and the gradual blending of cultures. Like "Fight Club" this isn't just a casual read. It's difficult, thought-provoking, and extremely disturbing. If you are easily offended, my best advice is to avoid this book. Although there are some controversial topics discussed, you should look below the surface. Don't over-analyze, but don't take things at face value either. The theme of this book is constantly in your face. It's repeated over and over and over again. This can be irritating, but it does force you to think about it.
Overall, this book was definitely worth reading. It wasn't the kind of book that I really enjoyed, but it left me quite disturbed. And honestly, I think that was the point.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superb style, Jan. 14 2004
By 
E. L. Weinhold "Lolly" (Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
Lullaby was my first book to read by Chuck Palahniuk. I was so very impressed with his writing style and his well-crafted story.
Assigned to investigate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a reporter uncovers an ancient culling spell. When he learns the power of the spell, and the damage it can do, he sets out with some other very interesting characters, to remove this poem/spell from every library and bookstore in the country.
In my opinion, the power of Palahniuk's style is in his use of repeated phrases. This book was about the power of words and the power of humans to change the world (good and bad). With words as a central theme in the book, Palahniuk constructs many rhymes and phrases that are mentioned often through the book:
"Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will kill you...",
"These noisaholics, these quietophobics..."
They are very well-placed, and really add to the overall meaning of the story. The writing was very raw, enough to make me cringe at times, but I still loved the overall story. This book has definitely opened me up to Palahniuk's writings, and I plan to read his many others in the future.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Look for Depth, Jan. 12 2004
By 
Maura Mellon (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
The best part about "Lullaby" was the summary inside the front cover. The premise sounds exciting enough: an African culling song can kill with words and the heroes, Helen Boyle and Carl Streator, are out to destroy all copies to redeem them from their previous sins. Seems like something original, occult, and obscure enough to be fresh, right? It isn't.
Palahniuk is a connoisseur of good ideas but can't present them. The author falls back on bad angst, juvenile anti-civilization commentary, and mindless repetition to bludgeon readers into believing that he is a brilliant modern writer. He exploits the fascinating philosophy of nihilism without even offering entertainment in return. His characters are indistinguishable and all speak with the same voice - his. Ultimately they can't express what he wants to say with this book, so he falls back on blatant, preachy, tiresome comments about society which provoke little or no thought. His tone inevitably loses what wit it originally possessed (and let's just say he's no Douglas Adams, either) and deteriorates into self-righteous condescension.
"Lullaby" yearns to be brilliantly avant-garde, artistically misunderstood, and appealing to only a selective, free-thinking minority. Unfortunately, it only manages to be shallow and irritating.
If you can put up with Palahniuk's style, you might enjoy this book. Just don't expect too much.
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3.0 out of 5 stars sing someone to sleep . . . forever out of your way!, Jan. 2 2004
By 
paul jorgensen "raukslyde" (living in a nation of sheep) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lullaby (Paperback)
It is a wacked world.
Lulliby was fun, but not as "eccentric" as i was expecting. Interesting: The idea of murder for the sole purpose of having at your disposal a beautiful partner and presenting it as an acceptable, and perfectly reasonable practice that makes absolute sense. In some dark morbid way it's like, "why didn't i think of that, hmmmmmmmm." I liked the present-time inserts, "Stop making babies!" and the talking "Judas cow" scene, along a story that begun at present, then backtracks to the lullaby discovery/realization by [Oregonian] reporter Carl Streator.
The "hero" (Helen Hoover Boyle), as sarcastically referred to, reminded me of all-about-money women that men love to hate, hate to love, but are doomed to becoming inseparable with them (like me) -- "and this is my life."
It seems fitting how "the hero" ends up; although, the story could have ended in so many other ways--It's a nice image though to think that a woman (conceited, middle-aged, too much foundation...) ends up inside the body of an old baggy potato of a prison cop.
Lighter than his other books, it's a good ride(along).
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Lullaby
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk (Paperback - July 29 2003)
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