Chuck Palahniuk is one of those authors you have to trust, jump into his novels with both feet, and let him take you on a very wild, confusing ride. He's best known for his cult favorite book “Fight Club” but has written many others - all just as strange and good.
“Lullaby” is the story of down-and-out reporter Carl Streator. Carl is assigned to write a series of articles about SIDS. As Carl continues his investigation and speaks with the families of children who have suddenly died, he begins to notice a common theme - all the children were read the same poem before they died. Carl takes this lead and starts digging. What he discovers is the poem is an ancient African lullaby or “culling song” - one that is deadly if spoken.
Carl doesn't know quite what to do with the incredible power he's suddenly discovered. He goes on a short killing spree until his conscious gets the better of him. Carl then decides he must track down and destroy every copy of the poem that’s out there.
With this deadly poem memorized, Carl teams up with real estate agent Helen Hoover Boyle who makes her living selling haunted, or demonized, homes because of the quick turnaround. Families move out as quickly as they move in. The dysfunctional duo set off on a cross-country road trip, bringing along Helen's Wiccan assistant, Mona, and her not-so-nice boyfriend, Oyster, to find the copies of the poem.
Like most of Palahniuk's books, “Lullaby” is filled with a whole cast of interesting, strange characters. Carl is one of those people you don't really like, but you can't help but feel sorry for him at the same time. For example, when Carl isn't working, he enjoys building model homes and then smashing them with his bare feet. He definitely has some problems, but overall, those only make him a more dynamic character.
Again with “Lullaby” Palahniuk uses his novel to make a statement. In “Lullaby” he gets across a very clear point that today’s modern access to any information you could ever want is not necessarily a good thing.
I loved this book not only for the completely original plot but for the gritty descriptive writing, the strange characters and the dark, dry sense of humor. Even dealing with such dark topics as death and murder, Palahniuk’s wit manages to make you laugh at the strangest moments, even if you feel a little guilty afterwards.
“Lullaby” is definitely not for everyone. But if you can stand the dark, gritty descriptions and want to go on a strange, hilarious ride, I definitely recommend giving this Palahniuk book a try.
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