Lullaby

Lullaby

A Novel

Book - 2002
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From the author of theNew York TimesbestsellerChokeand the cult classicFight Club, a cunningly plotted novel about the ultimate verbal weapon, one that reinvents the apocalyptic thriller for our times. Carl Streator is a solitary widower and a fortyish newspaper reporter who is assigned to do a series of articles on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In the course of this investigation he discovers an ominous thread: the presence at the death scenes of the anthologyPoems and Rhymes Around the World, all opened to the page where there appears an African chant, or "culling song." This song turns out to be lethal when spoken or eventhoughtin anyone's direction--and once it lodges in Streator's brain he finds himself becoming an involuntary serial killer. So he teams up with a real estate broker, one Helen Hoover Boyle--who specializes in selling haunted (or "distressed") houses (wonderfully high turnover), and who lost a child to the culling song years before--for a cross-country odyssey to remove all copies of the book from libraries, lest this deadly verbal virus spread and wipe out human life. Accompanying them on this road trip are Helen's assistant, Mona Sabbat, an exquisitely earnest Wiccan, and her sardonic ecoterrorist boyfriend Oyster, who is running a scam involving fake liability claims and business blackmail. Welcome to the new nuclear family. On one level,Lullabyis a chillingly pertinent parable about the dangers of psychic infection and control in an era of wildly overproliferated information: "Imagine a plague you catch through your ears . . . imagine an idea that occupies your mind like a city." But it is also a tightly wound thriller with an intriguing premise and a suspenseful plot full of surprising twists and turns. Finally, because it is a Chuck Palahniuk novel, it is a blackly comic tour de force that reinforces his stature as our funniest nihilist and a contemporary seer. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Doubleday, c2002.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780385504478
0385504470
Branch Call Number: FIC Palah
Characteristics: 260 p.

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orphicfiddler
Aug 26, 2012

Though Palahniuk's become a bit repetitive at this point, I still think he's a very necessary writer. It may not be as good as Fight Club (or Invisible Monsters, or Choke, or Survivor . . . ), but Lullaby is still more creative than a lot of the books being published, and Palahniuk's cynicism always gives way to a certain sympathy I very much enjoy.

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mothersbam
Aug 18, 2012

Chuck Palahniuk likes to make social statements in his stories. This one is no different. This story addresses a couple different issues. The fact that no one knows what silence is. It is the radio blaring, neighbors watching tv, you watching tv, car horns, children playing, toys making noise, etc. Even when we aren't watching televisions, many of them are on for background noise.

This is a good story, but I have grown to expect more from Chuck Palahniuk. Probably my least favorite of his works. Not terrible, but just not to the standard I expect.

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uncommonreader
Jun 15, 2012

A reporter, investigating crib deaths, discovered an ancient African culling song that can kill just by thinking the song. The story is about the search for the book of spells. There are some humourous moments and some interesting comments on modern life, but the story is just too silly.

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mothersbam
Aug 18, 2012

"You ever wonder when God is coming back with lots of barbecue sauce?"

m
mothersbam
Aug 18, 2012

"Either a species learns to control its own population or something like disease, famine, war will take care of the issue."

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yl
Jul 20, 2010

From the back cover of the book:

Ever heard of a culling son? It's a lullaby sung in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. The lyrics of a culling son kill, whether spoken or even just thought. You can find one on page 27 of [italics]Poems and Rhymes from Around the World[/italics], an anthology onthe shelves of libraries across the country. When reporter Carl Streator discovers that unsuspecting readers are reading the poem and accidentally killing their children, he begins a desperate cross-country quest to put the culling son to rest and save the nation from certain disaster. Written with style and imagination that could only come from Chuck Palahniuk, [italics]L:ullaby[/italics] is the latest outrage from one of our most exciting writers at work today.

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