Customer Reviews for

Invisible Monsters: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Ridiculously Awesome!

This is my favorite novel written by one of the most extreme and talented contemporary writers I have encountered thus far. There are so many twists in the story, yet they are so tightly woven that the absurdity flows so smoothly, and ends with a satisfying conclusion. ...
This is my favorite novel written by one of the most extreme and talented contemporary writers I have encountered thus far. There are so many twists in the story, yet they are so tightly woven that the absurdity flows so smoothly, and ends with a satisfying conclusion. Psychologically trippy, and full of complex characters, I definitely recommend this novel to anyone with an open mind looking for a fun and thought provoking read.

posted by eeh on October 20, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

putting the fun in dysfunctional

Chuck Palahniuk is the hugely popular author of modern, edgy books like Fight Club (also a movie with Brad Pitt--go ahead, act surprised) and Choke. For this reason I did not expect to like Invisible Monsters, originally published in 1999.

The story is told by a name...
Chuck Palahniuk is the hugely popular author of modern, edgy books like Fight Club (also a movie with Brad Pitt--go ahead, act surprised) and Choke. For this reason I did not expect to like Invisible Monsters, originally published in 1999.

The story is told by a nameless narrator: a young woman who used to be beautiful. After a series of bizarre, haunting events involving a freeway, birds and a few other things those days are gone forever. Her face disfigured, her voice gone, the narrator is invisible. And a monster in the eyes of most. Desperate for someone to save her, the narrator meets Brandy Alexander at just the right time. Brandy embodies the life that the narrator used to have--except for an important operation that Brandy still needs to have.

Riding off with Brandy, the narrator starts fresh. Life is a story. If you don't like the story you have, make up a new one. As the lives Brandy offers up as truth continue to change and the lies threaten to fall apart, it becomes clear that no matter where you run eventually you have to face the facts and really decide what story you want to tell.

That's the story. But it's really not even half the story.

Stylistically, this novel has a lot going on. It's written in the first person, present tense setting up a tone that is both conspiratorial and conversational. Despite that, the narrator remains aloof, unreliable. Talking to the reader like an old friend, the narrator reveals the smallest details of her past while leaving key plot points to herself until the right moment. There are few male novelists who can write as convincingly in the voice of a woman as Palahniuk. The narration is amazingly authentic even when the story becomes more and more over-the-top.

Palahniuk also brings a high level of complexity to the narrative, writing the story in a non-linear format. The novel opens with the final scene as the narrator tries to explain how she got to that point. Along the way flashbacks are interwoven with "the present" and other points in the time line of character's lives.

This is the kind of book that requires a lot of attention. Like the modeling world that the narrator comes from, nothing in this novel is exactly what it seems. Characters lie, information given as fact turns out to be false. Palahniuk manages all of these elements impressively well, making it all work despite the bizarreness and absurdity inherent to certain parts of the plot.

More than anything, though, this book is really a character study. Palahniuk creates a lot of unique characters whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. As might be expected from the plot description given above, many ofthe relationships between characters in Invisible Monsters are dysfunctional. But it is the dysfunction that allows Palahniuk to look at how people interact and what it really means to love someone. So, while it is utterly strange, this novel definitely puts the "fun" in dysfunctional.

posted by MissPrint on February 17, 2012

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  • Posted February 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    putting the fun in dysfunctional

    Chuck Palahniuk is the hugely popular author of modern, edgy books like Fight Club (also a movie with Brad Pitt--go ahead, act surprised) and Choke. For this reason I did not expect to like Invisible Monsters, originally published in 1999.

    The story is told by a nameless narrator: a young woman who used to be beautiful. After a series of bizarre, haunting events involving a freeway, birds and a few other things those days are gone forever. Her face disfigured, her voice gone, the narrator is invisible. And a monster in the eyes of most. Desperate for someone to save her, the narrator meets Brandy Alexander at just the right time. Brandy embodies the life that the narrator used to have--except for an important operation that Brandy still needs to have.

    Riding off with Brandy, the narrator starts fresh. Life is a story. If you don't like the story you have, make up a new one. As the lives Brandy offers up as truth continue to change and the lies threaten to fall apart, it becomes clear that no matter where you run eventually you have to face the facts and really decide what story you want to tell.

    That's the story. But it's really not even half the story.

    Stylistically, this novel has a lot going on. It's written in the first person, present tense setting up a tone that is both conspiratorial and conversational. Despite that, the narrator remains aloof, unreliable. Talking to the reader like an old friend, the narrator reveals the smallest details of her past while leaving key plot points to herself until the right moment. There are few male novelists who can write as convincingly in the voice of a woman as Palahniuk. The narration is amazingly authentic even when the story becomes more and more over-the-top.

    Palahniuk also brings a high level of complexity to the narrative, writing the story in a non-linear format. The novel opens with the final scene as the narrator tries to explain how she got to that point. Along the way flashbacks are interwoven with "the present" and other points in the time line of character's lives.

    This is the kind of book that requires a lot of attention. Like the modeling world that the narrator comes from, nothing in this novel is exactly what it seems. Characters lie, information given as fact turns out to be false. Palahniuk manages all of these elements impressively well, making it all work despite the bizarreness and absurdity inherent to certain parts of the plot.

    More than anything, though, this book is really a character study. Palahniuk creates a lot of unique characters whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. As might be expected from the plot description given above, many ofthe relationships between characters in Invisible Monsters are dysfunctional. But it is the dysfunction that allows Palahniuk to look at how people interact and what it really means to love someone. So, while it is utterly strange, this novel definitely puts the "fun" in dysfunctional.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Another fantastic & curious read from Chuck

    Im making my way through all C.P's books. Not once have I been disappointed. This one however was better than others. Drama, murder, drugs and drag (well, sorta). Jaw dropping and hilarious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Okay

    Decent, but not my favorite from Chuck Palahniuk.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    My favorite satire Palahniuk has written..

    Great characters and a dark / hilarious twist. This is a fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2005

    Not Impressed

    The beginning of the book was very well written and fairly humorous, but towards the middle of the book it just went completely downhill. The ending reminded me of a really bad soap opera. I wouldn¿t recommend reading this.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2005

    Well...

    It really scares me how obssessive people are about Chuck P. and his writing. I loved the film 'Fight Club,' and so decided to read a couple of his novels, this being the first one. It was disturbing, jaunted, not excruciatingly well-written, but entertaining enough I guess. I think the main flaw with this book was that it was supposed to have a female protagonist, but Chuck obviously has no foothold on the inner workings of the female mind; I felt like I was following a guy narrator the whole time, which made it difficult to believe. Also, he ends his books in gore-fests, much like a Tarantino flick, and this can get boring if you're looking for something meaningful. However, there are some interesting plot twists and surprises, and it is a fast-paced read. I would recommend it for guys and for Tarantino/Rodriguez fans, but that's about it.

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