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CHUCK PALAHNIUK - Lullaby   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Sunday, 17 October 2004

There are many rumours about Chuck Palahniuk. That he lives alone. That’s he’s secretly been married for eight years. That he lives on an abandoned farm in the middle of desolate American wasteland, hasn’t got a television, and accesses the net maybe once every two weeks.

That his grandfather murdered his grandmother, and then stomped around the house with an axe looking for an 8 year old Chuck who was hiding under the bed. That his father was murdered in a driveway by a jilted lover only two years ago. That he has facial reconstructive surgery every three years. And that people call him “Sir” in restaurants when he asks for clean food.

Rumour knows nothing. Some of the things that people say about me, I don’t even recognise the guy they’re talking about.

But what I’m about to tell you is fact. “Lullaby” is Palahniuk’s best book since his debut. Whereas previously his other novels have dealt with the personal apocalypse, this novel ups the ante in style. This time the whole fate of mankind could rest on the whims of anyone who can memorise a short poem.

The power to give and take life makes whomever has it a God. In “Lullaby” we can all play God.

With noble intentions to track down and eliminate every copy of this culling poem, Carl Streator instead learns that power corrupts. And the power to murder is absolute power. In Palahniuk’s convincing first-person narrative, we learn only what Streator sees. A world of babbling fools, whom with the power to kill ever present in his mind, can soon be turned into a paradise.

It’s no surprise that our narrator is faced with the temptation of becoming one of the biggest serial killers in human history and just can’t help himself.

And so, in breathless, clipped prose and surreal plot developments, in urban paranoia and characters described solely by their computer passwords, Palahniuk gives us a nightmarish vision of a world that is possible, but just beyond the plausible. A world where things continue ceaselessly, often without reason, and yet its still a world we recognise, a world we despise, a world that if we had the power, maybe we would give into that temptation.

Maybe.

He’s done it again. You’ll love this.......

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