A review of Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters
“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 sounds vague like you’re going in knowing nothing…and that’s true, but that’s how I experienced it and that’s how I’d recommend you experience it.
I’ve never been particularly bothered about reading Chuck Palahniuk, but had a feeling I’d eventually get around to it. And when that day came, I knew I didn’t want my first Palahniuk to be Fight Club*. Invisible Monsters was my library’s most recent Palahniuk audiobook acquisition, so I picked it up.
*I enjoyed the film Fight Club…though it always makes me think “OK, so money is terrible and acquiring things is terrible and capitalism is terrible…but…you’re not giving your book/film/merchandise away for free…, man.” I feel similarly about a lot of things (some of which I enjoy regardless, some of which I don’t and the irony/hypocrisy just becomes the cherry on top). And, truth be told, I’m not sure that even matters.
Anyway, having seen Fight Club, there are a lot of things I already expected from Palahniuk’s stories and writing style, and Invisible Monsters delivered just that–nothing more, nothing less. I enjoyed this story and I would recommend it. I can see why people like his writing and consume his stories although I think it might all grate on me after a while if I read lots at once. I couldn’t help but feel it was often intentionally ‘shocking’ without actually feeling shocking…to me…(or maybe that just reveals how desensitised blahblahblah). But I appreciated the humour interspersed with the grotesque. It all feels very American (in that clever* kind of way that you often forget Americans can be…haa**).
*I’m not sure this is the word I mean exactly.
**Forgive me, American friends! I jest! I jest!
Anna Fields does a fantastic job narrating this audiobook. It took a little getting used to her pace. Although I think she completely does the book justice and delivers it perfectly, it sometimes feels like everything’s happening too quickly to process Palahniuk’s easily flowing quips.
There should probably be a warning for those easily shocked by gross stuff, adult content, violence (I guess?…but not really) and so on. This is story feels like it could be made into a film too. I wonder if all of his books feel like that; almost conscious of their ‘filmability’…
rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 stars)
genre: mystery, dark humour, social commentary
publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
date read: 27 October 2015
recommend for: fans of Fight Club
pros: fun, weird, fast-paced, like a film in your head
cons: fast-paced, very punchy/dramatic/intentionally ‘shocking’