Invisible Monsters Archives
Chuck Palahniuk on Parade
Look. I love Chuck, okay? I'm not a member of the Cult or anything, but I have not yet read a book of his I didn't like. Fight Club blew my mind—enough so that I based BookBlog's rules on it, oh, so many years ago—and chose Invisible Monsters as our inaugural book. Also, I keep hoping Hollywood will get it together and finally move on turning Survivor into a movie.
Palahniuk is currently on tour for his new novel, Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey. I've been debating with myself over whether or not to attempt attending his appearance with Irvine Welsh tomorrow night:
Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 East 17th Street
New York, NY 10003
I have finally decided to stay home because it's likely to be a madhouse. Plus, I hate going into the city. He won't be signing books anyway, and making the super long trip without the reward of a meet & greet isn't inspiring. It's a shame New Jersey got shafted, especially since he'd probably find a lot of material for another book; we do self-loathing yet narcissistic nihilism very well here. If you're interested in finding out if Palahniuk will be near you soon, the dates for the rest of the tour are posted here.
Rather, I have contented myself with listening to a podcast interview from the Agony Column (via Return of the Reluctant). My favorite bit begins at 12:43:
Kleffel: And you also enjoy the mimetic qualities of Twain, too. You employ that. That's the basis of the book.
Palahniuk: I'm not even sure what you said.
I had some extra time on my hands today, so I thought I'd do a little bit of poking around to find out if past BookBlog authors have been up to anything interesting recently. They're quite a busy bunch.
Steve Martin [Shopgirl] - The March 8th issue of The New Yorker includes script notes on Mel Gibson's The Passion from funnyman Steve Martin. LawGeek was kind enough to share some of it with all of us ("Possible title change: 'Lethal Passion.' Kinda works. The more I say it outloud, the more I like it.") since The New Yorker is kind of stingy with its online content. (link)
Gregory Maguire [Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister] - Damn, I missed it. This past Friday, Maguire was at the Columbus Circle Borders in New York City to sign copies of Wicked. However, the musical version continues to do well on Broadway, and you can buy $100 a pop tickets through its official web site. (link)
Chuck Palahniuk [Invisible Monsters] - On Tuesday, March 16th, Palahniuk will be live online with The Guardian. The author chat starts at 4:00 p.m. GMT, which is 11:00 a.m. EST. Questions posted include "[I]s it really a good way of meeting hot chicks?" and "There was a bit of graffiti on one of the bridges crossing over the 405 from 13th to 14th street. It read: Be boring. Be deathlike. Be Eva Lake. There was some other good graffiti around town, but I don't want to repeat it here. Have you any favorites?" If you, too, have an inane question for Chuck, get it in now. (link)
Jose Saramago [Blindness] - University of California television will be celebrating National Poetry Month by showing poetry-related programs Thursday and Friday nights throughout the month of April. On April 2nd, they will air From Memory to Fiction through History with Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago, a taping of a talk the author gave at UCLA. According to the UCTV site, you should be able to watch it on demand using RealPlayer, but I couldn't get it to work. Maybe you'll have more luck. (link)
J.K. Rowling [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone] - Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has been shortlisted for The Butler & Tanner Book of the Year by the British Book Awards. Will she Bend It Like Beckham (Anyone else seen this flick?) and beat out the footballer's autobiography to the top prize? The winners are to be announced on April 7th. (link)
Haruki Murakami [Norwegian Wood] - This summer's Lincoln Center Festival is to include The Elephant Vanishes, a multimedia retelling of three stories by Murakami in Japanese with English supertitles. The performances by Tokyo's Setagaya Public Theatre will be shown from July 21st through July 25th, and tickets for multiple events go on sale beginning April 6th. (link)
Scott Heim [Mysterious Skin] - According to Heim's rarely updated blog, the movie version of Mysterious Skin, which stars the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun, is nearly complete. Andy, who moderated the book and also runs realityblurred.com, should be pleased to know that Heim reports being "utterly consumed by reality TV again." Suggestion for Heim: permalinks. xxmarydell. (link)
John Kennedy Toole [A Confederacy of Dunces] - The movie version of our August 2002 selection continues to have trouble getting off the ground, but still stars Will Ferrell as Ignatius J. Reilly. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about Elf, but IMDB message board posters have come up with some interesting alternatives: Oliver Platt, John Goodman, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (link)
The person you love and the person who loves you are never the same person.
At the end of the book, Shannon gives Shane her identity in order to allow him to start a new life. What do you think of the ending? Is Shannon's act selfless or a means of setting herself free of her own identity? After finishing Invisible Monsters, did you learn anything about yourself from it? Why do you think Palahniuk wrote this book?
Considering that there hasn't been any activity on yesterday's discussion topic so far, I'm thinking that one week is more than enough time to spend on a title. This will be the last discussion topic I'll be posting for Invisible Monsters, and I'll create a modified list of operating procedures for book blog sometime next week.
As Barbara quoted several posts back, one of the themes in Invisible Monsters is "beauty is power like money is power like a gun is power." What do you think of this statement? Do you agree or disagree with it? Why or why not? Can you relate this theme to your own personal experiences? What are some of the other themes?
By the end of Invisible Monsters, we've been subjected to so many plot twists and turns that it's hard not to walk away from it without a severe case of whiplash. Brandy is Shane. Seth is Manus. Evie was a man. Shannon shot herself. What's your take on all the nothing-is-as-it-seems stuff? Too many twists? Just right? Did you figure any of them out before the truth was revealed?
In particular, how did you feel about Palahniuk's handling of the Seth/Manus deception? When the narrator reveals Sean's true identity, we aren't given much of an explanation for it other than that she couldn't tell us about it earlier. Could the author have written it in a different way to make the reveal more satisfying/surprising?
By the way, I have a feeling I'll be posting my questions earlier and earlier each night. School has already kicked my ass and it's only Tuesday.
Since I'm dirt dog tired tonight, let's try an easy topic.
What did you think of the characters Palahniuk created? Were they believable? Which character did you like the most and why? The least? Was Shannon a reliable narrator? Which character do you think had the most impact on the story?
Your Take on Invisible Monsters
Let the games begin!
Since Invisible Monsters employs a kind of hyper-narrative that's probably new to anyone who hasn't read Palahniuk before, I thought we'd start off easy by sharing general impressions of the overall book. What do you think of the work as a whole? Is there anything in particular you like or dislike about the writing? Have you read any other books written in a similar style? Is the writing style integral to the telling of the story or could it be handled more effectively in another way?
So I was browsing the "official" Chuck Palahniuk web site which has a lot of good links and information on the author but is complete crap in terms of design. (It's obvious it was built by a fan and I can only hope Palahniuk didn't know what he was getting himself into by okaying the project.) Besides learning the author's last name is pronounced paul-ah-nik, I also found out that buying a t-shirt gets you a raffle ticket for a chance to win having a character in his next book named after you.
If you like Palahniuk, the web site suggests also checking out the following authors:
Steve Aylett [Slaughtermatic]
J.G. Ballard [The Atrocity Exhibition]
Albert Camus [The Stranger]
Douglas Coupland [All Families Are Psychotic]
Don DeLillo [White Noise]
Bret Easton Ellis [American Psycho]
Alex Garland [The Beach]
Amy Hempel [Reasons to Live: Stories]
Nick Hornby [High Fidelity]
Denis Johnson [Fiskadoro]
Jay McInerney [Bright Lights, Big City]
Jeff Noon [Nymphomation]
Irvine Welsh [Trainspotting]
Kirsten, my buddy at work, has also finished the book and wasn't too thrilled by a lot of things in it. I'm really looking forward to starting the discussion.
I'm wondering how the progress is going on Invisible Monsters. I know Kate's finished it and several others have started. Its story has a lot of twists so I don't want to spoil it by giving too much away before everyone's had a chance to get into it. Invisible Monsters is actually a pretty easy read so it shouldn't take anyone more than a few days to get through. Palahniuk uses short paragraphs and doesn't seem to know many very big words.
I'm thinking that maybe we should set a date for discussing each book. Like, we could give everyone until the 15th of the month to read a title then spend the last two weeks discussing it.
What do you think?
I finished the book today. Holy crap. I feel like my brain just went a couple rounds with Mike Tyson..
Received the book from Amazon yesterday evening, and slurped up chapter 1 before work this AM.
Wow - and I thought I knew from cynicism. Whew! :-O
I'm reminded of the "I'll show you the life of the mind!" scene from Barton Fink, with the unreality of fire and violence all around.
More tonight, I'm sure.
Welcome to book blog! A long weekend, 400 Diet Cokes, and a couple of cartons of cigarettes later, it's arrived. The launch was delayed by unexpected server maintenance on Memorial Day, but at least it's mostly finished. There's still a bit of coding to be done, but I wanted to make it live so everyone could start posting and get their feet wet with Movable Type.
If you've never read anything by Chuck Palahniuk before, be prepared for something wild. I sort of liken Invisible Monsters to riding a loopy rollercoaster. Fast-paced with plenty of twists and turns make it an experience unlike most other conventional novels. You simply need to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Unlike Palahniuk's previous efforts, Fight Club and Survivor, Invisible Monsters does suffer from a few plot problems. Those being, it doesn't have much of a plot. However, I don't want to give all of it away until everyone's had a chance to read it. I'm looking forward to reading and commenting on your posts about one of my favorite authors.