On September 23 I rushed to Borders Books to get a copy of Lullaby, the new novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It wasn’t because I was so excited to get the book, but Joel called me up and said Chuck would be reading at the Beverly Hills Library, and I didn’t want to miss it. While my only exposure to Chuck has been “Fight Club” and various interviews and pieces in magazines, he’s always come off as a regular guy with a somewhat twisted mind and some amazing writing skills.
After he read an excerpt from the novel, he told a story. He was on his way to the UK, taking off from New York. As he explained, it boggled his mind how people were so willing to take drugs from strangers. He was at the ticketing counter. The guy behind the counter looked uncomfortable, and Chuck asked the guy what was wrong. Apparently the guy had chronic back trouble and explained he had ten hours left on his shift. Chuck asked him if he wanted and Vicodin and the guy said sure. A couple of hours later he’s on the plane and just turns to the guy next to him and asked him if he wanted a Vicodin. He said sure. He then offered him some other drug. I can’t remember what it was, but the guy proceeded to take him up on that as well and then drank quite heavily. The guy passed out next to him, breathing shallow, and Chuck explained that he was shitting his pants because he thought the guy might die. I thought that was a pretty damn good story. I guess maybe you had to be there though. *shrug*
So anyway, I got the book so I could have him sign it. I figured I would finally buckle down and actually read one of his novels. Before I start talking about the book, you must know that Chuck came off as one of the kindest and human writers I have come across. He took time with each person to chat a bit and write in their books. He was completely honest an uncensored when answering questions from the audience. The whole experience left me with a really cool impression of him.
The book is about a reporter who stumbles upon a culling spell, which when said aloud or even recited in one’s head, kills people. It’s contained in a book of poems and rhymes from around the world. He discovers the poem because of a sudden outbreak of crib deaths that he’s reporting on. He meets up with a woman who ends up helping him control his “power” and they go on a hunt to destroy every copy of the spell. The characters are hilarious at times, as is the story. It’s a dark story, but presented in such an entertaining way. Black humor, I think they call it. Now I’ve got to read his other books. I think Choke is next on the list.