Maslin, New York Times:
In his tireless pursuit of the outrageous, the author of ''Fight
Club'' has written a novel about a murderous song. Chuck Palahniuk's
impressively febrile imagination now yields ''Lullaby,'' the story
of a sweet-sounding weapon of mass destruction. Given Mr. Palahniuk's
gift for ferociously dark humor, it goes without saying that this
capability will be used for purposes of malicious mischief....
Imagining such things is Mr. Palahniuk's mordant specialty, one
that he hones more sharply with each new effort. While ''Lullaby''
lacks the wild fantasy component of ''Fight Club,'' it has a tighter
focus and a more timely, compelling brand of desperation. Somewhere
inside the book's frequently hilarious flippancy there is an authentic
urgency, as Mr. Palahniuk rails away at the frustrations of contemporary
culture. In a world of runaway self-interest, noise pollution,
wretched excess and ''franchised life forms'' (he finds kudzu
and starlings as ubiquitous as fast food), his idea of deploying
a killer lullaby actually offers some kind of meaningful moral
For all its power to invoke peril, ''Lullaby'' is written as a
kind of incantation. Like Kurt Vonnegut, Mr. Palahniuk juggles
nihilism and idealism with fluid, funny ease, and he repeats and
rephrases word patterns until they take on an almost mystical
this fourth novel, Mr. Palahniuk further refines his ability to
create parables that are as substantial as they are off-the-wall.
a Chuck Palahniuk novel is far from relaxing. His tense, metaphor-laden
novels are more of a mental excercise than a blissful retreat.
Constantly tuggiing at the idea of crating a nihilistic world,
his novels give an alarming account of society. In his fifth,
Lullaby, this patter continues. Palahniuk serves up a literary
dish of power struggles, magic spells and death....Palahniuk uses
Lullaby as a platform to addres his unique views on society and
reality.... The novel ultimately intertwines and explains its
twists while presenting a chilling theme with malevolent characters
-- characters you eventually find yourself understanding.
A lurid tale of psychic plagues and buried secrets... It ain't
pretty, but Palahniuk's stories -- about sexual compulsion, male
violence, disfigured fashion models -- never are.
Dark riffing on modernity is the reason people read Palahniuk....
Readers looking for another of Palahniuk's funny anti-Valentines
to modern life will know exactly where they are.
That most rambunctious of American novelists, Chuck Palahniuk,
is at it again. He's crashing through the cultural landscape like
a biker thug on speed. Like Robin Williams free-associating like
crazy. Like a fighter pilot pushing the envelope at Mach 5.
The novels of Chuck Palahniuk are here to say that alienation,
despair, and general weirdness are never really out of fashion...
[In Lullaby] Palahniuk employs a playfully perverse wit
and a good eye for repellent details. Though the modern world
may be plagued by information overload, as Palahniuk suggests,
the richness of his imagination in the face of this proves that
the plague isn't fatal or even debilitating.
Lullaby is at once a disturbing parable about the danger
of of language and a tightly wound thriller full of surprising
twists and turns.
It Cool News:
It's great. It's better than great. It's edible, this story is
juicy, delightful, funny, wicked, smart, silly, and empowers Carl
with the unstoppable ability to say the poem to him self, and
watch people all around him die. He hears a radio DJ yammer on
and on about self-help guru, very much like Dr. Laura, and Carl
just thinks the poem and the radio goes silent. I don't want to
spoil the beauty of this fantastic book; I've given away enough
already. With Lullaby, Chuck Palahniuk delivers what can only
be described as a complete critical assessment, cut down, body
slam of the banality of modern critical thought. With this novel,
he tears everyone a new one, and smiles while doing it. If you
were in New York City last summer, and saw Chuck at Barnes & Noble,
like I did, then you'll understand what I'm talking about. 500
people stood around while he read in bare feet, from Choke. People
foam at the mouth for his stuff; they faint at the sound of his
voice. I kid you not. This book confirms what I already knew,
in life, less than a handful of people this amazing and talented
come along with the ability to catch lighting in a bottle, Chuck
is one of them. Or should I say, one of us.
latest comic outrage from Palahniuk concerns a lethal African
poem, an unwitting serial killer, a haunted-house broker, and
a frozen baby. In other words, the usual Palahniuk fare... Outrageous,
darkly comic fun of the sort you'd expect from Palahniuk.