13 July 2009

Chaos is success, and from chaos emerges beauty.

Though it was Chuck Palahniuk's third book, I just read "Invisible Monsters." I've owned it for a significant period of time and for whatever reason never read it. I'm currently at the beach with my family, so I chose it because the Village Voice reviewer way back when called it a "bitchy beach read."

"Invisible Monsters" is a fast-paced novel about the fast-paced world of beautiful people. These models have surgery after surgery and never look beautiful enough for themselves or their fashionista friends. In this world, people are just accessories with little worth and nothing original to offer. Specifically, the narrator laments about her condition after her "car accident," her life before and the people in between. What she wants is constantly changing, and the ways she goes about getting it will shock you.

I've mentioned before that I read Palahniuk for his poetic prose, not his often lackluster plotlines. "Invisible Monsters" differs in that it offers the same stream-of-consciousness narration and the same interesting ideas, but the language isn't as impressively lyrical. However, Palahniuk more than makes up for his not-as-picture-perfect language with a storyline that will knock you off of your feet. It's difficult to explain without giving away the story because so much is about how nothing is as it seems. The philosophies presented here are easy to relate to and more sensible than most of those in his other novels. The narrator things a lot about God and his place in the lives of people as well as our place in the lives of others, which leaves a lot to think about as a reader.

I have to say, this really is one of the best books I've ever read--top five at least. It's incredibly intelligent, amusing and interesting. It has a bit of a slow start, but after about the halfway point, I had a difficult time putting it down because there was something new and surprising at every turn. I must admit that there are a couple of inconsistencies, but they are so minor that they could be easily written off or explained if absolutely necessary.

I enjoyed this book to such a degree that I am considering re-reading "Lullaby" to see which one is better. If the language in "Invisible Monsters" is equal to that of "Lullaby," I may have just found a new favourite book....

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