Monday, July 26, 2010
This was my first foray into Chuck Palahniuk. Admittedly I wanted the first book to be Fight Club but the book store didn’t have any copies, so I grabbed Lullaby, Choke, and Haunted. I chose Lullaby first based on the recommendations of a few people. I was told I would like Palahniuk because my writing, in some ways, mirrors his. I can see this after reading Lullaby…mainly because he is fucked up, and I, myself, am pretty fucked up.
Lullaby begins by following a reporter, Carl, as he goes around interviewing the parents that have suffered at the hands of infant deaths. His assignment is to tell the tale of how these parents have coped and moved on with their lives. While doing his research he realizes that the same book keeps popping up Poems and Rhymes from Around the World. One of these poems, he realizes, is a culling song. A song that actually kills those it is told to. I take that back…the story really begins by introducing us to Helen, a real estate agent that deals primarily with haunted houses. Eventually the story delves into witchcraft and other black magic. You see, once Carl reads the culling song he can’t get it out of his head…and he starts killing people by accident…and some not so much by accident. Carl and three other people start a hunt for the book with the intent of removing the culling song from every copy so that no other people die unnecessarily. Along the way some of the group seek out another book for an entirely different purpose.
I was told not to look for the bigger picture but its kind of hard. I suppose what Palahniuk is really trying to say is that people desire power (for many different reasons) and once they have that power they only want more. Some want to use it to achieve ulterior motives, some want to help, some just want to rule the world.
Palahniuk’s writing flows really well. He writes simple, but not too simple. The pace stays fairly even throughout, and his language isn’t difficult to understand. He has a weird means of description, an example of which would be as follows: The suit she’s wearing, the skirt is fitted to her hips. It’s green, but not the green of a lime, more the green of a key lime pie. It’s not the green of an avocado, but more the green of avocado bisque topped with a paper-thin sliver of lemon, served ice cold in a yellow Sevres soup plate. He also has an unusual obsession with sex. Not just normal sex though. Frequently the book comes up with instances of necrophilia. He also just throws out random descriptions that make no sense, like constantly describing a woman by saying she has hairy armpits but a shaved vagina. I can understand referring to it once…but several times? I also found it interesting that the only penis he really mentions is pierced.
Bottom line? I like Palahniuk and look forward to reading more of his books. If you’re looking for a quick read I would recommend Lullaby…that is…if you don’t have a problem with weird sex and uncomfortable situations. I will say, however, that when he describes a scene in the book that is both horrific and brutal, he could rival the King himself.