Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have a fondness in my heart for Palahniuk.  I loved Survivor and Choke, and I was fond of both Fight Club the book and the movie (which I thought was beter). I even liked Haunted, though I haven't looked at swimming pools the same since then.

That said, his taste for the bizarre and absurd results in his novels having a sort of "same-y" quality.  That is, a lot of his books start to read the same.  You can expect some visceral descriptions of bodily functions, some bizarre aspect of the character's lives hyperbolized, and a broken structure that bounces through time and space in burst of short sentences and paragraphs.

In Invisible Monsters, which I understand has been "remixed" and released with a less linear structure and more chapters, we get more of this.  The main characters are caricatures which don't fully actualize until late in the novel.  In fact, the twist, which Palahniuk over-uses more than M. Night Shamlamananahna (or however it's spelled), was both unsurprising and hardly emotive.  By the time I find out the shocking secret about Brandy and Shannon, I don't care.  The characters are entirely unrelatable and horrible people (which I know is the point), so when one dies in the very beginning of the novel, I never fully care that, when introduced to her earlier in her life, that she will end up dead.

Maybe that's the point: that underneath it all nothing is real and we are all horrible people.  There certainly is some truth to that, and Palahniuk does a good job showing what most people already know to be true: people, on average, will just try to kill everyone is left to their own devices.  And there is certainly some truth to the idea that nothing we see is real (to say any more would give away too much of the plot).  But even if that is true, the ending left me flat.  I didn't care.  I didn't buy the character's motivations.  I just felt "meh" at the end.

But the narrow end of this wedge of critical cheese is whether or not I would recommend reading the book.  If you liked Diary and Lullaby or are just a massive fan of Palahniuk's work (there are some fanatics out there), then yes.  Hope to it.  Otherwise, read Fight Club, Survivor, Choke and Haunted.  Those are better books.  

No comments:

Post a Comment