Monday, August 11, 2008

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

I have heard from many that Chuck Palahniuk is a 'must' author to read. His most popular book is probably Fight Club, the one that a movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton was based on. Personally, I have not read or seen the movie, but do have the book on my to-be-read list. This book, Invisible Monsters was one that I picked up on a discount table or used book sale or something. I was intrigued by the cover because it is one of those double images . . . one that you can view one way for an image and then turn it to face another way for a different image . . . so I decided to try it out. Before I get to my personal opinion, here's a quick summary from Publisher's Weekly as seen on Amazon . . .

Palahniuk's grotesque romp aims to skewer the ruthless superficiality of the fashion world and winds up with a tale as savagely glib as what it derides. Narrator Shannon McFarland, once a gorgeous fashion model, has been hideously disfigured in a mysterious drive-by shooting. Her jaw has been shot off, leaving her not only bereft of a career and boyfriend, but suddenly invisible to the world. Along comes no-nonsense, pill-popping diva Brandy Alexander, a resplendent, sassy, transgendered chick, who has modeled her body rearrangement--the breast implants, the hair, the figure--on what Shannon used to look like. Brandy suggests veils, high camp and no self-pity. Shannon wants revenge[...] Adding to the plot's contrivances are the relentless flashbacks, heralded at the beginning of almost every paragraph with "Jump back to..." and the author's pretentious device of using a fashion photographer's commands ("Flash. Give me adoration. Flash. Give me a break") to signpost the narrator's epiphanies. Palahniuk writes like he's overdosed on Details magazine. Though the absurd surprise ending may incite groans of disbelief, this book does have fun moments when campy banter tops the heroine's flat, whiny bathos.

As I read through this review, 'grotesque' really stands out . . . a very good description!! It is grotesque in parts, very graphic in many (and in many forms!), and very humorous just the same. To think that all of these can be rolled into one book intrigues me! This book is so twisted that it will keep EVERY reader on his/her toes from beginning to end. And, the twists are ones that a reader would never guess! I loved the surprises! Though there are parts that made me blush simply as a reader and I expect many of his books to be like this, I definitely intend to be reading more of Palahniuk in the future. He is so talented, imaginative, creative, and just plain good!

Now, on a side note . . . A few years ago, I had heard him speak at a local bookstore. I was actually working there at the time, so was therefore, unable to hear much of the reading. It was rumored that he prided himself on the number of people he could make pass out during his readings. Has anyone else heard this? And, if so, what makes people pass out and what's the reasoning behind this? Whatever the case may be, the night of his reading, he could add two more people to his list, both of which were males!! I still to this day am unsure of what affected these two men to make them pass out, so if anyone has any insight, please share!!

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