A confusing, but entertaining book to begin with, Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk utterly fails in audio book form.
The story of the friendship between transsexual Brandy Alexander and the narrator, the book jumps all over the place and is far from chronological. In the paperback format, the book works and is highly entertaining. Listening to the book on disc, however, makes it very difficult to follow.
The story starts at the wedding of Evie Cottrell, the narrator’s best friend. Because the narrator was shot in the face, she is dressed in veils to hide her disfiguration. Brandy Alexander is found lying on the floor, shot by Evie, whose wedding dress is on fire.
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
It’s difficult to describe where the story goes from there since it pretty much goes everywhere. Through flashbacks, the listener learns about the narrator’s brother, Shane, who is allegedly dead from the AIDS virus. Brandy Alexander’s sex-change therapy is discussed and introduces the Rhea sisters, three drag queens who pay for all of Brandy’s therapy. The narrator tells about her relationship with Manus Kelley, her ex-fiancé, and the relationship between Manus and Evie, her now ex-best friend.
Shocking Author Chuck Palahniuk’s Writing Style
Though at times confusing in the audio book format, Invisible Monsters is actually a good story, if you can withstand the shock factor. A coming-of-age story for the narrator, Palahniuk uses the narrator’s condition and Brandy personality to shock and make the reader uncomfortable.
Both characters are wild and outrageous, designed entirely to push the border of what is acceptable. In fact, the novel was considered so disturbing by the publisher that Invisible Monsters was initially rejected for publication.
Surprises and Plot Twists in Palahniuk’s Work
Since the rejection the novel was re-edited and toned down a bit, but still offers a dry, hilarious humor reflective of Palahniuk’s writing style. The twists within the book are surprising and also representative of Palahniuk’s style, similar to those found in Fight Club.
Toward the end of the novel, when the narrator begins to find herself, learning to live without a jaw through the help of Brandy Alexander, Palahniuk offers one final surprise to catch the reader off guard. The surprise makes it worth reading until the end.
Though difficult to describe, the book is very entertaining, if you can withstand the shocking and disturbing references and lack of chronology. And definitely, pick it up n paperback format, rather than audio book.
Invisible Monsters was published by W.W. Norton & Company in 1999. ISBN: 0393319296
Other book reviews by this author:
The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory: Historical Fiction Novel Book Review
Quick Diet Tricks and Easy Diet Advice from Health and Fitness Writer Carole Bodger
Death of a Cozy Writer: A St. Just Mystery by G.M. Malliet