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15 June 2008 @ 08:17 pm
and the beat goes on  
Invisible Monsters, by Chuck Palahniuk (wtf how do you pronounce that?)

I freely admit that I only read this because it informed some Panic lyrics. Who says bandom teaches us nuffin?



First off, there was the obviously shock-value-only inserts about the crazier side of gay sex. Sadly for my shock-metre, I'd heard of all these things before. Therefore they neither disgusted nor surprised me, but I was better able to impartially judge how much they added to the literary merit of the story.

Not much.

The patchwork quilt scene made me laugh, but for the reason outlined above, I could see that no way would anyone talk like that. It was written to shock and amuse and it kind of worked, but evoke reality it did not. It was too stilted, too - obvious.

The beginning of the story suggested a different middle and end. I find that when writers start out describing very rich, glitzy worlds, they often backpedal when they realise they have nothing to fall back on from their own experience. Not many writers come from a background where yachts and cocaine are run of the mill. Shannon and Evie aren't supermodels, they're just people on TV ads. That's not half so glamorous - in fact, it's kind of pathetic. And what model dates a cop?

I didn't believe Manus' character. He was too much of a parody. (Unless the vice squads really do masquerade as hookers to catch paedophiles - and druggies to catch drug-dealers - and tax evaders to catch fraudsters - and Mickey Blue Eyes to catch mobsters - in which case, colour me mistaken.) I mainly didn't buy his ability to come up with pithy, almost-meaningful aphorisms to write on postcards. What in his life, a shallow pool filled with denial, generated that? I'm sure it could happen, just not here. He was a handy mouthpiece through which Palahniuk could spew quotable soundbites. And the book is filled with absolutely amazing quotable soundbites. He's a bit like Coupland in that sense. Unfortunately, it doesn't automatically mean the book will hang together as a story. It's a bit like using television quotes to move along your original dialogue (I'm sure you know what I mean): at first it's funny, but in the end, the quotes write you.

Plus, the finale. I'm never comfortable when characters just disappear if they have no visible means of support. Shannon can't SPEAK, has no money and no identity. What is she going to do now?

As for her and Shane's motivations - no frakking clue, dude. I'm not deep enough for this shit. I can see why Ryan Ross liked it, though. l~o~l.
 
 
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(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Austen with a bookscoradh on June 15th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
ha, I actually liked it a lot! I read it fast and easy, which is always good, and it gave me food for thought. The story was like a springboard: you jump off, you dunno where you're gonna land. He seemed about as uncertain. ;D

*thoughtful* I'm trying to discern what could be the possible message - besides Rincewind's life motto - in IM. Shane and Shannon ended up loving each other lots (that's another thing I took exception to - if she loved him so much, why didn't she open the window?!). Was it a banner for the blood is thicker than water crowd? Or borderline incest? I DON'T KNOW!

I do get the impression he makes shit up as he goes along, but a lot of writers do, and he has the panache to (almost) pull it off. If he just made it a little more believable ... (have you read Douglas Coupland's Hey Nostradamus? Now there's an example of tacked-on crazy that detracts from an awesome story). I think I'll check out more by him, but I'll stick to the library - which, given the selection, means another twenty years before I've read his entire oeuvre.

Hee, the juxtaposition of Chuck and Palahnuik is AWESOME.


Edited at 2008-06-15 08:47 pm (UTC)
jehnt: bones - sweetsjehnt on June 15th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
My favorite Palahniuk book is Lullaby, closely followed by Choke. They're awesome. And also, I don't think his books are exactly supposed to be anything approaching realistic, lol. If they were, then he certainly did fail at it.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Darcy'd do himselfscoradh on June 16th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Meh, I have one standard by which I judge all books. It's probably a good thing I'm not going out for a literary critic...
jehnt: sw - impossible is our stock in tradejehnt on June 17th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
I think I have many and varying standards. The one I USUALLY use, though, is the one that goes like: Did I have fun reading this book? Did it bring the lolz? If yes, book is AWESOME. (This certainly explains my preference for Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, etc., over everyone else. Though I guess it leaves my love for Gabriel Garcia Marquez, spy novels, and anything where they're stranded on an island out in the cold.)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Eddie Izzard: flagscoradh on June 17th, 2008 10:24 am (UTC)
I also add in: did it make me cry? Did it distract me from my own life for a while?

I'm reading Love in the Time of Cholera at the moment! I really wish the bit on the back of the book would hurry up and happen, so we could move on to the actual plot. (I think blurbs should be banned.)
Kat: bandom - ryan makeupkyasuriin on July 24th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)

as a fellow bandomer to another, would you recommend reading it? It's sort of on my list and I'm wondering if I should move it up or maybe read it at the same time as some fluffy YA stuff...
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: MCR: Frerard b&wscoradh on July 24th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
I would say YES. Read it before the fluffy YA stuff, it is a seriously easy read. Of course, in light of the heavy dank classic SHIT I've been reading of late, it comes up shinier. But it's got some great lines and thinky thoughts, is funny, and a formula one speed plot. Do, do, do.