on March 11, 2004
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.
on November 6, 2003
This is a very trippy novel. Chuck has a dark style quite effectively compared to Vonnegut. His examination of the seamier side of the human psyche and of the dangers of invoking ancient magic chronicles a journey and transformation that the main character Mr. Streater undergoes through the course of the novel. Tackling increasingly unnatural and disturbing elements of society, both past and present, Palahniuk keeps the reader riveted, while strangely disgusted at the same time. While not exactly graphic in its writing, the images conjured by the content and what is implied are more than enough to make the novel considerably more dark and unnerving than most. It is however, one of Chuck's less disturbing titles. Other novels he has written, such as Fight Club or Choke, are probably much higher on the "I'm disgusted, but can't look away scale," but Lullaby is by no means a piece of literature for anyone who can't appreciate a dark look at what happens when nobler aspirations are taken to the extreme. People are trying to save the human race and Mother Earth, but are trying to accomplish this goal through mass murder and magic. Anyway, it's a very gravy book. Chuck is an excellent writer and this is an excellent book as well.
on November 6, 2003
series of articles about S.I.D.S. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) He makes a shocking discovery when he goes to the scenes. At the scene of every death, he found a copy of the same anthology of poems and lullabies all open to the same African chant. This chant is lethal when spoken or thought in anyone's direction. Once it becomes "lodged" in his brain, he finds himself being an involuntary serial killer. He and Helen Hoover Boyle team up to eliminate all copies of the book from libraries and bookstores. Mona Sabbat and her eco-terrorist boyfriend, Oyster also tag along in this adventure.
This book was an amazing book that stretches the imagination and makes the senses feel alive. You can really feel this book. Once you pick it up, you won't want to put it down. This book is a great book for anyone who wants an exciting book. To quote Chuck Palahniuk himself, "This book makes Fight Club look like little women." This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and if you've seen or read Fight Club and liked it, you'll love this book. This is a "blackly comic tour de force" This book definitely reinstates him as our funniest nihilist.
on October 6, 2003
Well, I read "Lullaby," and it was spectacular. This is typical of a Palahniuk novel, because his stories all feature extremely amazing characters with equally awesome first-person narrations, twisted and compelling plots, and dark, funny, and always thought-provoking social commentaries. The narrator in this story is reporter Carl Streator, who is assigned to check out multiple cases of SIDs. After a close look into each case, he finds out that the "culling song" has been read to each victim; a culling song is a song or poem read to someone to put them out of their misery. The problem: it kills even if it's recited in your head, and Carl has definitely read it enough to know it in his mind. Further investigation takes him to a woman named Helen Hoover Boyle, a real estate agent who sells people houses that are possessed by demons (one of the many funny things about the narration in this one is the descriptions of the houses), her strange friend and secretary, Mona, and Mona's extremely, well, opinionated boyfriend Oyster. Together, the four of them go all over the country looking to destroy every remaining copy of the book that features the culling song, and the story just gets crazier and weirder and more and more exciting as you read. Making you laugh, making you shudder, and making you think, "Lullaby" is a great novel by one of the best writers to date, and you need to check it out.
on April 2, 2003
excellent, excellent novel. palahniuk delivers once again. for anyone who's read fight club and survivor (the two best, in my opinion) lullaby extends palahniuk's library of social commentaries. reading some of the other reviews, i think a few people missed the point. some say that he moves to fast through the story, or that he doesn't develop the characters as well as he has in previous novels. THAT'S THE POINT! the point is to be a smooth read without being overbearing. lullaby touches the tip of the iceberg on many different topics. it does this to make you think, and God forbid we do that! it pours the troubles of humanity into your lap and makes you put the peices together. none of that spoon fed drivel that can pass as a novel these days. the point of not developing the characters as efficiently as possible is to allow the reader to relate the characters and opinions to his/her own life and to. the theme of oversaturation by the mass media is classic palahniuk, and is just as enthraling in lullaby as in his other novels. it seems like the other reviewers missed the social parallel of the death penalty debate. once again challenging the opinion of the reader and making you THINK. an excellent, page-turning, hilarious, swift read! i would highly recommend reading lullaby along with fight club and survivor.
on December 18, 2002
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk. October 2002 by Doubleday. Signed 1st Edition Hardcover.
From inside the front flap '...a scitillating, cunningly plotted novel about the ultimate verbal weapon, one that reinvents the supernatural thriller for our times.'
In classic Palahniuk style, the prose is punchy, the imagery coming in quick, concise jabs; to the kidney, to the gut, a rabbit punch to the side of the head. This is classic Palahniuk in the tradition of Fight Club and Choke. Fantasy? No. Horror? Only environmentally. Supernatural?......
What if you discovered an ancient culling rhyme? What if that rhyme were unwittingly published in a children's book of nusery rhymes as a simple lullaby? What if this was just one of many such incantaions in a much more powerful and dangerous tome? This is a story of the impact of this single rhyme and the quest for the larger grimore; a book of spells, lore, and incantaions that can change the world and all things on it.
Helen - Middle-aged (almost), big-haired 'Barbie doll', realator dealing exclusively in haunted mansions. She knows the power of the lullaby and uses it for profit.
Mona - Helen's assitant. A hippie-tree hugging-wiccan wannabe.
Oyster - Mona's boyfriend; an angry, anti-establishment, activist who is also a con artist.
Carl - A recent inductee to the lullaby's power, though he used it, unwittingly, many years before.
You will never look at nature or meat the same way again! Through Oyster, Palahiuk reveals many truths about the impact that industrialization, immagration, and commercialization/importation has had on the North American continent. Hundres of non-native plant and animal species have invaded this continent, choking out and driving native species to extinction. If you thought chicken nuggets and patties are made from the same nice, plump birds and parts you see in the store, think again!
A thoroughly entertaining read.
on November 26, 2002
This is the first time I read a Palahniuk novel, though I did see THE FIGHT CLUB when it was first released and today it still remains one of my all time favorite movies. Reading LULLABY was certainly an adventure in itself that will linger for sometime. I could actually picture the movie adaptation of LULLABY in my mind while turning each page.
The plot is imaginative and extraordinary. Carl discovers a pattern to several SIDS deaths while writing a feature newspaper article. He realizes that an African culling spell was read preceeding each death. Carl aims to destroy each copy of the culling spell. During his journey he meets a cast of strange characters including Helen, Mona, Oyster, Sarge, and Nash. While in an effort to save humanity from the culling spell, Carl finds himself involved in his own internal journey of what his life has become.
Palahniuk successfully weaves strands of social commentary aimed primarily at the increasing influence of mass media and commercialism on individuals minds and free will (i.e. these noise-oholics and quiet-ophobics.) In addition, Palahniuk's use of color was exceptional. I've never read a novel which uses colors the way Palahniuk does. It creates a visual effect which further enhances the story and results in a unique experience. Highly recommended.
on November 16, 2002
This is the first time I've read a book by Chuck Palahniuk, and I was impressed. Very.
For those with a morbid sense of humour, this is a must read. Even with gross-out moments aside (and there were a lot of those), this book is rich with darkness and dark humour. The haunted houses and deaths are horrifying, yet funny at the same time. Age old themes of mysticism cross with modern ecology and loads of paranoid fantasies in a way only Palahniuk can pull off. Practically everything that's taboo is right here to stare everyone in the face.
The all-over-the-timeline non-linear-narrative is expertly handled, and surprisingly not as confusing as it could have been. The flashforwards give a lot more away than mere forshadowing, but how things came to be always turn out to be a twist.
The cold, consise style is perfect for the persona of the journalist in the main character. Not a word is ever without purpose in this book. Some things may seem randomly thrown in at first, but at the end, everything that was brought up serves some kind of purpose. Even the smallest details.
My only complaint is that it had to end!
on November 6, 2002
Mr. Palahniuk's writing always tends to attack mainstream Earth culture (ie Western Civilization) in very subtle manners, but in his newest work he takes it head on by encasing it in a very fast paced and confusing storyline. I dont think there is anything about the plot that I could say that other reviewers havent said so I will instead comment on Mr Palahniuk's moral stance that is evident from page 1-260. His characters tend always to be introverts whom dwell on all of society's more droll tendencies and this novel's protagonist, Carl, is no different. His nemesis comes in the form of annoyance of the constant need of distraction that the "common" man has in this era. Distraction in the forms of visual, audial, and non tangible medium which he feels could potentially train human drives instead of instinct. Words with the suffix "phobic" are thrown around constantly and Carl's irritation becomes the target of his stigma. In the end, nothing is really solved and more problems are presented but Carl comes to terms with his humanity and perhaps that of others.
on November 4, 2002
"It would be nice to see words come back into power...a world where each word was worth a thousand pictures." (pg. 60)
Since I first discovered the brilliance of "Fight Club" and the lashing satire of "Survivor," Palahniuk's books have been my guilty pleasure. Yes, as a Christian, I find many offensive things within, but I also find honesty. This guy's a genius. He's insane. A heathen. A real thinker. A neo-moralist of my generation.
Palahniuk's words do have power.
"Lullaby" starts in a more linear fashion than his previous novels. We soon discover, along with his protagonist, Mr. Streator, that a children's poem is actually an old Zulu culling song, a means of killing people in a genteel manner (?!). Welcome to Palahniuk's wild and wacky world. I love it.
As Streator strikes out on a mission to end the curse, we meet his disenfranchised "family." We see the insanity of the quiet-ophobics. We question whether there are worse things than killing someone--such as the slow death of our culture. Or the dancing hypnotism of Big Brother (identified with the media throughout the book).
The typical Palahniuk anarchist insanity doesn't ensue until about halfway through--about the time the witches and vegans join the crowd. That's not to say they are responsible. Not solely. No, in Palahniuk's writing, the usual suspects include the entire planet. He harpoons just about everyone. If this book doesn't offend you at some point, I'm certain Palahniuk would feel palpable disappointment.
But offending us isn't his sole goal. (Although some of my fellow believers might think so...we Christians have a tendency, paradoxically, to believe in blind faith while living with anemic imaginations.) His novels force us to think outside the box, to challenge our assumptions, to assume the challenges. Life is a mess. Chuck deals with that. He calls politics, religion, even God to the witness stand. He raises valid questions. He offers ideas in place of answers. He deserves a hand.
"Lullaby" is a five star book, but it does use redundant themes and occasionally unnecessary raunchiness. If you can handle digging through stomach-turning moments for gems of brilliance, then you're well on your way to becoming a fan like me.