by Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk has some annoying quirks. The way he repeats himself reads more like he needs an editor, or that he is jack-hammering something into the reader’s head, than he is revelling in wordplay. His characters wait “a beat” (this is a peeve of mine, don’t know why) and say “I say” frequently and spend too much time in the present tense.
These quirks didn’t stop him from writing a book I didn’t want to put down.
Palahniuk’s writing is gripping, vivid, and the kind of thing I knew I really shouldn’t be believing, but went along with anyway. Think Douglas Coupland when he was on, but with more punch. Think Jim Munroe making a point, but much grosser. Palahniuk is a good idea generator. You have to be if you are going to take on SIDS, veganism, necrophilia, witchcraft, murder, Big Brother, and power dynamics in less than three hundred pages.
The title of the book refers to a culling song, supposedly used in Africa to ease starving children, wounded warriors, and suffering old folks into a good death. Somehow it finds its way into Poems and Rhymes From Around the World, and book-reader turned journalist Carl Streator and haunted-house real estate specialist Helen Hoover Boyle both discover the true nature of the lullaby.
If you are thinking a journalist and a real estate broker make intriguing players in a fantastic game of ethics, well, you should read this book. It isn’t hard to read (unless puss freaks you out) it is fun to read; Palahniuk is the kind of writer that cares more about getting you to turn the page than being called a genius. He is a writer with talent. I wish he had a more rigorous editor, but not enough to skip his next book. In fact, I know I will read more.
I need more outrageousness in my reading life, and Palahniuk is the ticket. Recommended.