Invisible Monsters: A Novel

( 408 )

Overview

Love, betrayal, petty larceny, and high fashion fuel this deliciously comic novel from the author of Fight Club.
She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge that she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away ...
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Invisible Monsters

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Overview

Love, betrayal, petty larceny, and high fashion fuel this deliciously comic novel from the author of Fight Club.
She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge that she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.
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Editorial Reviews

James Sullivan - San Francisco Chronicle
“Chuck Palahniuk's stories don't unfold. They hurtle headlong, changing lanes in threes and banging off the guard rails of modern fiction. This time he has really done it. ?Invisible Monsters? makes... ?Fight Club?... seem like a leisurely buggy ride.”
Greg Berkman - Seattle Times
“A harrowing, perverse, laugh-aloud funny rocket ride of catastrophes.... Gutsy, terse, and cunning, ?Invisible Monsters ?may emerge as Palahniuk's strongest book.”
Emily Jenkins - Village Voice
“[A] stylish, bitchy beach read.”
Steve Sullivan - Cityview
“?Invisible Monsters could scare the tights off the ratings board.... A wildly plotted, quick-read showcase of his hip, perverse humor and dark imagination.”
New City
“Palahniuk is either crazy or genius—his wildly inventive plotlines are from so far left field they might as well be lobbed from outer space; his language is quick and clever and impossibly honest and nasty (serrated, not graphic); his style—this time jumping through logical time like a nervous whippet—breaks all rules and conventions, like he never even learned them.... Invisible Monsters ?is a soap opera wrapped in a mystery; an enigma swaddled in a Bret Easton Ellis nightmare.”
Ted Loos - Out
“Fast-paced.... Everyone wants to be someone else, and in this hilarious book, they get the chance.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393319293
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/17/1999
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 43,492
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Chuck Palahniuk is the author of the best-selling novels Fight Club, Survivor, Lullaby, Diary, Rant, Damned, and many other works of fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Biography

Readers of Chuck Palahniuk's novels must gird themselves for the bizarre, the violent, the macabre, and the just plain disturbing. Having done that, they can then just enjoy the ride.

The story goes that Palahniuk wrote Fight Club out of frustration. Believing that his first submission to publishers (an early version of Invisible Monsters) was being rejected as too risky, he decided to take the gloves off, so to speak, and wrote something he never expected to see the light of day. Ironically, Fight Club was accepted for publication, and its subsequent filming by directory David Fincher earned the author an obsessive cult following.

The apocalyptic, blackly humorous story of a loner's entanglement with a charismatic but dangerous underground leader, Fight Club was the first in a series of controversial fiction that would keep Palahniuk in the spotlight. Since then, he has crafted strange, disturbing tales around unlikely subjects: a disfigured model bent on revenge (the revised Invisible Monsters) ... the last surviving member of a death cult (Survivor) ... a sex addict who resorts to a bizarre restaurant scam to pay the bills (Choke) ... a lethal African nursery rhyme (Lullaby) ... and so the list continues.

Although Palahniuk makes occasional forays into nonfiction, (e.g., Fugitives and Refugees and Stranger than Fiction), it is his novels that generate the most buzz. His outré plots and jump-cut storytelling are definitely not for everyone—some have likened them to the horrible accident you can't tear your eyes away from—but even critics can't help but be impressed by his flair for language, his talent for satire, and his sheer originality. Newsday wrote, "Palahniuk is one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time. He rearranges Vonnegut's sly humor, DeLillo's mordant social analysis, and Pynchon's antic surrealism (or is it R. Crumb's?) into a gleaming puzzle palace all his own."

Palahniuk has said that he has heard a lot from readers who were never readers before they saw his books, from boys in schools where his books are banned. This might be the best evidence that Palahniuk is a writer for a new age, introducing a (mostly male) audience to worlds on the page that usually only exist in technicolor nightmares.

Good To Know

Palahniuk (pronounced paul-a-nik) worked as a diesel mechanic for a trucking company before he became an author, jotting story notes for The Fight Club under trucks he was supposed to be working on.

Palahniuk's family has had a sad history of violence: His grandfather killed his grandmother and then committed suicide; later in life, his divorced father was murdered in 1999 by a girlfriend's ex-husband. The killer was convicted and sentenced to death in October, 2001. Palahniuk's book, Choke, was driven by an attempt to look at how sexual compulsion can destroy (see essay below for more).

When not working on his novels, Palahniuk has written features for Gear magazine, through which he befriended shock rocker Marilyn Manson; and is reportedly working on a script of the Katie Arnoldi novel Chemical Pink for Fight Club director David Fincher.

While writing, Palahniuk has said he listens to Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Radiohead.

To a reader who asked in a Barnes & Noble.com chat why the novel Invisible Monsters was not released in hardcover, Palahniuk responded: "My original request was not to have any of my books released as hardcovers b/c I felt guilty asking for over $20 for anything I had done. With Invisible Monsters I finally got my way."

Invisible Monsters was inspired by fashion magazines Palahniuk was reading at his laundromat, according to an interview with The Village Voice. "I love the language of fashion magazines. Eighteen adjectives and you find the word sweater at the end. 'Ethereal. Sacred.' I thought, Wouldn't it be fun to write a novel in this fashion magazine language, so packed with hyperbole?"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles M. Palahniuk
    2. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pasco, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in journalism, University of Oregon, 1986
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 408 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(248)

4 Star

(94)

3 Star

(49)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 408 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • Posted October 20, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    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. 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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    Brilliant

    I am writing a college essay about this book, for sure. There are very few other books I would even consider doing that for.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Mind. Blown.

    The most insane yet beautiful book ive ever read. In other words...IT WAS FRICKIN AWESOME.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Amazing

    I couldn't put this book down! Every page was a surprise and i was never bored.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    AWESOME!!!! This is a fast pace & mind blowing book - written so well you can visualize everything - lots of twists & turns & then blam it goes to another other level. This is the first Chuck Palahniuk book I have read & will shortly be reading ALL his others!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Good

    Good

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    Wow! What a ride! My first Palahnuik novel. Won't be my last.

    Wow! What a ride! My first Palahnuik novel. Won't be my last.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    His best!!!

    This is by far my favorite from Palahniuk!!! The characters are both raw and comical. I have lost count on how many times I've reread this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Read it!!!

    Read it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2011

    about monsters that are invisible.

    THis book rocks because every 15 pages CP pulls that fight club deal where you have to rethink everything you just read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Just as all of his books are: Amazing

    Just as all of his books are: Amazing

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

    Posted January 7, 2014

    Invisable Monsters

    Get story

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

    Posted January 3, 2014

    I am blown away by this book. It starts out very slow and confu

    I am blown away by this book. It starts out very slow and confusing, but that is just because this book requires A LOT of attention. There is so much going on in this book, but the truths that are uncovered throughout are a constant surprise. It reinstates the classic saying "not everything is as it seems." People have secrets, people hide those secrets, they lie and deceive.....we are all simply... invisible monsters.
    I just finished it and I wish there were more pages. Gripping read and I hope others enjoy this as much as I did.

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

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Amazing

    This is by far my favorite book ever. Ive read it over and over. As like all Palahniuk books itll make you think differently about our soiciety and what we hold at value. I would recommend this book to any one and in fact its always the first book a loan out when some one wants some thing to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    The Best.

    I have read and reread this book. Now I've passed that along to my son. We both love the idea behind this amazing journey. The dichotomy of beauty and the kingdom of and cult of the beautiful is indescribable.

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

    Posted May 19, 2013

    My fav CP book!

    I really hope this gets made into a movie! I thoroughly enjoyed this unpredictable storyline.

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

    Posted April 28, 2013

    One of his best.

    I love the plot twists! One of my favorites next to Choke.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    By far his best work.

    By far his best work.

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