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Lullaby Paperback – 5 Sep 2002

3.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (5 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224063014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224063012
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,262,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Maybe our generation has found its Don DeLillo’ -- Bret Easton Ellis

Book Description

'Probably the most entertaining-funny-fascinating book of the year' The Face

By the author of Fight Club --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
'The-guy-who-wrote-Fight-Club's fifth novel starts off intriguingly, based on the premise that words - specifically, a children's poem - have the power to kill. The story quickly mutates into a road trip/crusade, in which the central character and narrator, Carl Streator, attempts to destroy every copy of the poem, at the same time seeking redemption for his own wrongdoings. Aiding him in this quest is his new 'family': Helen - a ruthless real-estate agent who accidentally killed her own son Patrick with the same deadly poem some years prior - Helen's secretary, Mona, and Mona's eco-warrior boyfriend, Oyster. Streator is another one of Palahniuk's great antiheroes, in as far as he succumbs to the temptation of using the 'lullaby' for his own purposes; that is, to kill anyone who pisses him off. Palahniuk's genius lies in his ability to make this seem both scarily natural and blackly hilarious.

As with all his novels, Palahniuk succeeds in creating well-rounded characters that are both despicable and heart-breakingly human, at the same time delivering an unflinching narrative and a series of stark but thought-provoking observations on American society and the world at large. Though his observations and predictions are invariably bleak, they are wrapped in warped notions of love, romance and hope for the future, giving Lullaby a unique, refreshing twist.

Occasionally, Palahniuk does seem to be labouring the point with regards to the idea that words and music have become a disease of the mind. It is also worth noting that Lullaby is one of Chuck's more far-fetched novels, as he delves into the worlds of witch-craft and occupation spells, but, with a healthy suspension of disbelief, the reader should reach the final page of this strange and beautiful novel completely convinced of Palahniuk's fortitude as a master story-teller.

Matt Pucci
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By A Customer on 10 Oct. 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read three of Chuck's books, and I started out with Lullaby. This is the book that made me want to read his other novels... and to finally get round to watching fightclub.
He's a truly excellent writer, though the style of Lullaby is certainly different to the other books. It's much more subtle than his previous novels, which is the beauty of it. He describes this poem, which when read aloud will kill people. The first instance is with cot death. It's an idea this simple that is chilling, especially for all those mothers out there. He describes the chaos that would rein if society ever found out about is, yet adds a dark humour to it.
I think Chuck is a fantastic writer with a great and refreshing style, he's certainly very gifted and probably sees and analyses much more than you and I ever think about.
It really is well worth the read, and if you've never read and of Chuck's work before then I would definitely pick the subtle chilling novel before moving on to the more complex plots. But they're all great, and you won't be disappointed.
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What attracted me to this novel is its incredibly interesting concept. By taking the idea that words can hurt and amplifying it to create a lullaby that can kill, Palahniuk finds a compellingly imaginative way to explore Western culture in the media age, as well the abuse of power. However, I was left with the impression that the story had failed to live up to its potential. Palahniuk undoubtedly expands upon the power of words and sounds in clever ways, and his brief envisioning of a world dramatically altered by widespread knowledge of a song that can kill is fascinating and thought-provoking. After being tantalised with such big, darkly intriguing ideas it was slightly disappointing to find that the narrative's focus became a series of repetitive chapters depicting a road trip in which the protagonist and three other characters attempt to find and destroy all books containing the fatal lullaby. The novel has its impressive aspects, such as the distinctive voice of narrator Carl Streator, which allows the reader to peer directly into his mind, with all its humorously idiosyncratic (if sometimes irritating) thought patterns. It is just unfortunate that the author brushes over some of his most interesting ideas in favour of portraying unnecessary gruesome scenes, and furthermore creates a world which is a little difficult to get a grasp of because it contains too many unlinked far-fetched occurrences.
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The concept of this book is fantastic. Imagine a world in which words had the power to control life and death. The author's style however, whilst apparently revered, wasn't to my taste. I would have liked a book that would have further explored the concept of the power of words, rather than some rather lengthy and seemingly irrelevant descriptions that added nothing to the book.
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I was initially quite disappointed with Lullaby when I began reading it, for the simple reason that I thought the plot was just so implausible and far-fetched! But obviously this being Chuck Palahniuk it can't be taken too literally, and once I'd got my head around that I really enjoyed it. I think it should be mentioned in reviews that this isn't really a horror novel. It is psychologically provocative, and has an occult glossing, but is more of a statement about media influence than anything traditionally 'horror'. I don't think it is a big departure from his previous novels. Lullaby has really short chapters, and this helps the narrative keep its pace throughout, which is important to the story. There are loads of typical Palahniuk twists and subplots, which really make the book for me. I find his books to be like three-quarter finished jigsaws, which the reader has to complete, using what is in front of them, and Lullaby continues this. Overall, it doesn't beat Survivor (for me personally), but it is a quality addition to the authors' remarkable body of work.
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