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Invisible Monsters Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 591 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When the plot of your first novel partially hinges on anarchist overthrows funded by soap sales, and the narrative hook of your second work is the black box recorder of a jet moments away from slamming into the Australian outback, it stands to reason that your audience is going to be ready for anything. Which, to an author like Chuck Palahniuk, must sound like a challenge. Palahniuk's third identity crisis (that's "novel" to you), Invisible Monsters, more than ably responds to this call to arms. Set once again in an all-too-familiar modern wasteland where social disease and self-hatred can do more damage than any potboiler-fiction bad guy, the tale focuses particularly on a group of drag queens and fashion models trekking cross-country to find themselves, looking everywhere from the bottom of a vial of Demerol to the end of a shotgun barrel. It's a sort of Drugstore Cowboy-meets-Yentl affair, or a Hope-Crosby road movie with a skin graft and hormone-pill obsession, if you know what I mean.

Um, yeah. Anyway, the Hollywood vibe doesn't stop these comparisons. As with Fight Club and Survivor, the book is invested with a cinematic sweep, from the opening set piece, which takes off like a house afire (literally), to a host of filmic tics sprayed throughout the text: "Flash," "Jump back," "Jump way ahead," "Flash," "Flash," "Flash." You get the idea. It's as if Palahniuk didn't write the thing but yanked it directly out of the Cineplex of his mind's eye. Does it succeed? Mostly. Still working on measuring out the proper dosages of his many writerly talents (equal parts potent imagery, nihilistic coolspeak, and doped-out craziness), Palahniuk every now and then loosens his grip on the story line, which at points becomes as hard to decipher as your local pill addict's medicine cabinet. However Invisible Monsters works best on a roller-coaster level. You don't stop and count each slot on the track as you're going down the big hill. You throw up your hands and yell, "Whee!" --Bob Michaels --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Welcome to the world of perverse self-mutilation, insane coincidences and extreme makeovers speckled with violent acts and prescription drugs. After surviving a gunshot wound that destroyed half her face, Shannon meets the vivacious Brandy Alexander, whose glamorous nature seduces her into traveling cross-country in a delightful and ironic crime spree. In typical Palahniuk fashion, the story leaps about in an erratic and initially bewildering manner, but ultimately makes sense. Anna Fields executes a brilliant performance through Shannon's first-person narrative. Her smooth and stable tone leads listeners through this deliciously chaotic tale. When Shannon speaks, Fields proves both amusing and impressive. Her magnificent performance only adds to Palahniuk's story. Norton paperback(Reviews, July 5, 1999). (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio Inc.; Unabridged edition (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786162384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786162383
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (591 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,414,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Schtinky VINE VOICE on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite the tragedy of the storyline and the callousness of the lead characters, I promise you are going to get several belly laughs from this twisted piece of literature.

In a zany prose reminiscent of Candace Bushnell's 'Sex In The City' and the surrealism of Bret Easton Ellis's works, Palahniuk has written a twisted and sick tale of disfigurement, love, hate, and fashion here in Invisible Monsters.

Shannon McFarland's career as a picture perfect model was ruined the day her lower jaw was shot off while she was driving down the freeway. Her best friend Evie Cottrell steals all her clothing while she is in the hospital, and her fiancé Manus Kelley leaves her; but during her speech therapy classes she meets the enigma that is Brandy Alexander.

Brandy befriends Shannon, and together with friend Seth Thomas they set off on a wild cross country tour, viewing high end estates up for sale and stealing all of the prescription drugs from them. But believe me when I say, nothing is as it seems in this crazy story. You are in for several very big surprises.

Invisible Monsters is a book that is not about the plot, it is about the characters, and yet there are twists upon twists upon twists every turn of the page. Who is Brandy Alexander? Who is Shannon McFarland? Who is Seth Thomas? And who is Evie Cottrell? You'll just have to keep reading. Like me, you will probably wind out not caring about any of them, but they are going to make you laugh out loud with their outrageous plans and antics.

You'll have tears running down your face when Shannon's parents (in a flashback scene before her disfigurement) give her nothing but condoms for Christmas because her brother died of AIDS.
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Format: Paperback
If I had to recommend a single Palahniuk book, other than the justifiably overhyped Fight Club, it would be this one. Not as meandering as Choke, self-righteous as Survivor, and as brief as Lullaby. Invisible Monsters is another one of his books that plays itself as a film within your head...you try not to gasp in horror and laugh at the same time. It has a solid story and a concrete ending! Palahniuk needs to follow this model using his style as a assault on your imagination. I'm suprised that this is not as popular as Fight Club...seeing as how this is every bit as stylistic as it was. For those of you that can't get Brad Pitt out of your head when you read about Tyler Durden, this is a good one to pick up before a film version steals that purity from you. It's cheaply priced and a fun read...the pages blaze by.
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Format: Paperback
Trying to describe a Chuck Palahniuk novel is like trying to describe a freak show-you just kind of have to be there to appreciate it. The power of Palahniuk's novels isn't in the satire-he attacks fairly easy targets, and most of what he has to say about them has been said before. What make his novels enjoyable are the off-the-wall characters. Invisible Monsters is no exception.

This book is about people who want to be someone else-anyone other than themselves. The narrator says upfront that this is not going to be a linear story. It will jump from here to there. And it does. It's a hodgepodge of fragments that you have to piece together. When you do so, what you see is twisted. A former beauty queen who had half of her face shot off, along with a transvestite who wants to be a beauty queen, and a not-so-by-the-book cop are on a road trip, visiting upscale homes during open houses, stealing drugs from the medicine cabinets, and selling them to kids on the street. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

If there's one thing for which Palahniuk will never be criticized, it's being predictable. Still, there's predictability to his chaos. He has a formula: pick a target (in this case the fashion world), scrounge together some psychopaths, come up with a twisted plot with a handful of shocking surprises, chop is up so it's out of chronological order, and invent a couple of writing devices to help tell the story. The only problem is, once you've seen one freak show, the next one isn't quite as freaky. Once you've met a few Palahniuk characters, the psychotic becomes commonplace. Once you've experienced one or two Palahniuk endings, the next one isn't as surprising. Once you get used to the style and devices, they start to wear on you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fight Club was great. Lullaby was amazing. Pygmy was not worth reading. Snuff was mediocre, but at least better than Pygmy. And all of them are more alike than different - a possibly interesting hook of a premise, characters who are self-absorbed and damaged, a reliable number of plot twists, and a focus on the less attractive aspects of the human, both physiological and psychological which is played for humor.

Invisible Monsters is much like Snuff in that it has a passable story line, about 3 plot twists, and is full of sadly damaged people. On one score it outdoes Snuff, in that it takes anything physically repulsive, and turns it up 2 notches.

Invisible Monsters is somewhat timely, in that it takes on the beauty standard, the beauty industry, and our obsessive gaze on feminine beauty at a time when this is being discussed and analyzed in the larger media.

I will not bother recounting the story line here, since numerous reviewers do that for you. As for the plot twists, they add to the enjoyment of the book, but despite being "twists," can be seen coming from a ways back. The characters are passably interesting, but only insofar as they are self-absorbed "monsters" each fighting their way around an obsession with physical and sexualized beauty in their lives.

Would I recommend it? Only if the airport newstand is sold out of everything but romance novels. Honestly, there are better uses for your time.
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