Monday, August 13, 2012

Invisible Monsters Remix, by Chuck Palahniuk

(hb; 1991, 1999, 2012)


From the inside flap:

"It's time to hit the road again with our veiled narrator, pill-popping Brandy Alexander, and their charming and handsome male sidekick.

"Originally inspired as a work that would echo the Vogues he read while going to the laundromat, Chuck Palahniuk had wanted the chapters in Invisible Monsters to break the normally straight line of fiction and bounce around, as did the articles in fashion magazines. He wanted the novel 'to be a little unknowable.' As a new author, he ultimately gave the book a linear structure. Published as his third novel, it was written first.

"In this revised edition, with a new introduction, the reader is invited to jump throughout the book to read the chapters in different arrangements. Intertwined are new chapters: some featuring characters in the book, others recounting events in the author's life. As Palahniuk knows, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

"The story remains daringly unpredictable. A fashion model has just about everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. One day she's driving along the freeway when a sudden 'accident' leaves her disfigured and without the ability to speak. From being the beautiful center of attention she becomes an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge she exists.

"Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman. Brandy will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing the past and making up something better, that loving and being loved are not mutually exclusive, and that nothing is ever quite what it seems."


Review:

Chatty but mostly entertaining and distinctive novel - not only for its structuring, but for its ideas and "voice" - about the vagaries of love, identity, sexual fluidity, divinity and social norms.

As I noted before, Invisible Monsters Remix runs a bit long in some parts, but it is worth reading, not only for the above elements, but for its dark, deliciously savage humor, borne out by Palahniukian's detail-oriented, trademark writing.

Check this out.

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