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'Lullaby' is a fictional novel by Chuck Palahniuk, who's other books include 'Choke', 'Haunted' and most famously 'Fight Club'. I picked this up at an Oxfam 50p sale and was immediately intrigued by the blurb on the back and the odd cover; rows and rows of little multi-coloured teddy bears. The book is 272 pages long and the RRP is £10.
The story is narrated by Carl Streator, a newspaper reporter doing a write-up on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. After visiting several crime scenes, he notices the same book, falling open at the same page, near the body of the child. What he reads inside appears to be a 'culling song' which kills whoever it is read to. Carl gets the rhyme stuck in his head and so becomes an 'accidental' serial killer; his noisy neighbours, an irritating radio show host, and random people he passes on the street, all become his victims. He meets estate agent Helen Hoover Boyle who, after using the song on her baby and husband several years ago, has also had a hard time forgetting it. They make it their mission to rid all homes, shops and libraries of the book, so set off on a road trip with Helen's Wiccan secretary Mona, and her destructive boyfriend Oyster.
This is one very strange book; I found it very difficult to get into, mostly due to Palahniuk's style of writing. The story isn't always in chronological order which was quite confusing. However the more I read, the more I started to enjoy it, and the ending of the book (although completely ridiculous) tied a few things together.
I found the main characters Carl and Helen quite unlikeable at the beginning but by the end I felt some sympathy for them, just because of the desperate situation they found themselves in. Most of the other characters (apart from Mona perhaps) were pretty horrid, particularly Oyster whose rants were quite disturbing and sometimes hard to read. I found myself cringing, and reading very quickly over some paragraphs, in particular Palahniuk's description of Carl's badly infected foot.
I would describe 'Lullaby' as bizarre; it's bewildering, distressing in parts, has many unexpected twists and turns, and very vivid (but sometimes monotonous) imagery. It's completely out of the ordinary and I would love to see Palahniuk team up with director David Lynch as 'Lullaby' could be a brilliantly dark and twisted movie.