Chuck Palahniuk   Lullaby  
Chuck Palahniuk  
Read an Interview with Chuck Palahniuk

Read an Excerpt from Lullaby


So you probably came to this page because you were intrigued by my quasi-secretive intro to Lullaby on the Bold Type homepage. That—and that you love Chuck Palahniuk.

But you probably had no idea that what I'm about to tell you is that the reason Chuck Palahniuk came to write Lullaby was because his dad was shot dead at the top of an outdoor stairway in 1999—in a manner that police called "execution style." 

A jury eventually found someone guilty for his dad's murder and, as part of victim's rights law, Palahniuk was asked to make a statement about his suffering caused by his dad's murder. As part of that statement, Palahniuk had to decide: was he for or against the death penalty for this man?

And that's the back-story to Lullaby— paraphrased directly from Palahniuk's own account.

So what is the novel itself actually about? Well, it's the story of Carl Streator, a solitary, middle-aged newspaper reporter who is assigned to a "dead baby" beat—a series of human interest stories on a rash of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome deaths. But is SIDs what's really killing all these babies?

At the scene of each dead baby, a single common item reappears—a library book titled Poems and Rhymes Around the World. The book is always open to the exact same page—n ancient African chant or "culling song". We don't want to give away everything here, so suffice it to say that once Streator reads the song, he turns into an involuntary serial killer and embarks on a cross-country odyssey to remove all copies of the book from the world.

Lullaby is undeniably about the omnipresence of media, information and "white noise"—about the volumes of knowledge we gain unconsciously, every day, at hyper-speed. And so can Lullaby help but also be about our attempts to control all that information—how we learn it, how we use it, how we share it with others and—here's the twist—how it affects each of us?

— Allison Heilborn

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  Photo credit: Chris Saunders

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