Book Review/Rant : Invisible Monsters

Chuck Palahniuk churns pseudo-intellectual and badly thought out stories all the time, but, after reading his Invisible Monsters, I can attest that it's his worst.  It's supposedly a quick-witted satire on America's obsession with looks and their short attention span, but I had to stretch mine farther that I did when watching Transformers 2 just to finish this piece of pretentious garbage.

It's offensive just to be offensive, shocking just to be shocking.  Maybe Palahniuk is under the false impression that when he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about he can just throw in an explicit and usually disgusting sex reference just to wake the reader up.

Even his picture on the back cover is pretentious.  He stands in a deep brood, pondering about the darkness of the world that he's been forced into.  Please.  He cashed in on the Fight Club movie deal years ago, so now he writes like he's some modern visionary.  Even the adaption of that book, somehow named one of the top 10 movies of the 90's by some, is horribly overrated.  It's over two hours of sadistic beatings shown almost pornographically followed by a a broad social statement that barely makes sense.  Wait, what did I just watch? An allegory to society's obsession with violence and man's need for primal activity to break out of the Establishment's cage? Oh, I was under the impression that I was watching Brad Pitt and Edward Norton kick people in the face for 120 minutes and then attempt to justify it with a half thought out philosophy.  Maybe that's just me, though.

Back to Invisible Monsters.  It centers around a model whose jaw is brutally shotgunned off, and her transsexual friend who's about to become a "fully woman."  At least I think that's what it's about.  Palahniuk makes sure to gimmick it up, like always.  Here, the book will be "just like a fashion magazine."  In other words, instead of attempting to (God forbid) write a coherent novel, he's going to jump around and tell you whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  It's quite a cop-out, and does absolutely nothing to help the story.   I'm actually a big fan of non-linear story telling when it's done correctly (Pulp Fiction and Magnolia are two of my favorite movies), but here there's no emotional arc, either.  It's just go here, watch this, go there, watch that.  It has no meaning besides a pathetic speech on materialism that Palahniuk has to tack on the last page so that the Nietzsche college kids will call it another post-modern masterpiece.  Stick with brooding, Palahniuk.  You're better at mysteriously staring off into the distance than writing anything worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. Amen. I haven't read Invisible Monsters because, after reading Haunted, I really have absolutely no desire to read any of Palahniuk's books again. His characters are flat, his writing style tedious and disjointed in a bad way, and his philosophies are laughable. Haunted was supposed to be about how storytellers will go to any length to get their books published and ends up being a repetitive mess with a random apocalyptic ending. So, basically, it was all about how Chuck has no idea what to do with his writing anymore and is just throwing everything he can out there in the hopes another group of fanatics will think it's a masterpiece.