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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  83,519 ratings  ·  2,845 reviews
Carl Streator is a reporter investigating Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for a soft-news feature. After responding to several calls with paramedics, he notices that all the dead children were read the same poem from the same library book the night before they died. It's a 'culling song' - an ancient African spell for euthanising sick or old people. Researching it, he meets a ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published June 5th 2003 by Vintage (first published 2002)
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Ryan Corbitt To sum it up... Read it. It's worth it. Why just read the foreplay? May as well finish it and get the full bang.

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3.73  · 
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 ·  83,519 ratings  ·  2,845 reviews

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Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who dye their hair black.
Oh Chuck Palahniuk, why do the kids love you? Years and years and years have passed while I have worked in a bookstore and every single year is the same, some kind of cool hipster guy or girl will come in and ask for anything by Chuck Palahniuk, bestowing praises upon his writing. Okay, I get it. The hipsters love him. Brad Pitt was in a movie based on a Palahnuik book, which was about crazy wacky anarchy, which the young hipsters love.
So, I finally sat myself down and cracked open this lovely b
To most people a lullaby is a soothing song meant to help coax a child to sleep, but in Chuck Palahniuk’s hands it becomes a death spell that can kill anyone. Of course, that’s not twisted enough for Chuckie P. so he had to throw in some witchcraft, necrophilia and dead babies to really make it a party.

Carl Streator is a newspaper reporter working on a feature about infant crib deaths, and he has his own tragic experience in that area. When Streator sees a book containing an African chant at se
Aug 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no.
Shelves: badnovels
Chuck has never been a very good writer. He comes up with interesting ideas, uses them as a vehicle for a shitty novel, then I read it, and am disappointed every time. I have since stopped reading his books but my girlfriend says they still suck.
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eudora Welty once said something to the effect that Southern gothic works because people in the South can still recognize grotesque.

Chuck Palahniuk may be the vanguard of the post-modern gothic literary group as he can definitely recognize what is grotesque in our culture. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is an old saying that Palahniuk dissects and violates with an impish joy usually only seen in 8th grade biology.

Centered around the unfortunate discovery of
When you pick up a Chuck Palahniuk book you know that you are going to plunge ever-so-briefly into a raging torrent of absurdity, horror so whimsical that you laugh even as you cringe, and insightful looks at contemporary living. It seems a cheap shot to call his work formulaic, but once you've read through 6 or 7 of his books, the pattern emerges and you have a vague idea of what to expect.

It was Lullaby that finally brought this realization home to me. You have the protagonist, a man who seems
Michael Breen
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: goodstuff
The war of who can crank their radio louder than their neighbor. Avoiding the big picture by looking at things too closely. Big Brother filling your head with marketing noise 24-7 so you he doesn't have to worry about what your thoughts cause he created them. Control. Unlikely families. Journalism. These are the tried-and-true themes that Palahniuk has worked before in other forms in other books and they all come together nicely with Chuck's dead pan, sarcastic sense of humor. The premise of the ...more
O.M. Grey
May 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Brilliant. That's the word, the only word, that came to mind as I started reading Palahniuk's Lullaby. I struggled to keep reading, as I was too impressed with the prose. As a writer, reading Palahniuk made me feel like a dancing monkey in comparison. 

By the time I hit the halfway mark, I struggled to keep reading for an altogether different reason. It had become too fragmented, repetitive, and just plain boring. 

At the beginning, this passage stopped me. Full stop. Absolute. No going further ou
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not since the guy who writes error messages for Microsoft have I seen anyone who can piss off his critics more. It seems like you either ‘get’ his writing or you don’t.
Personally, I’ve only read five of his novels so far, but (with the exception of Rant, perhaps) I thought they were all great.
Here’s the thing:
His books aren’t very long, which means he uses his words sparingly and to maximum effect. His sense of humor is dark and shocking, something I can appreciate. He always comes up w
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“After long enough, everyone in the world will be your enemy.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby


Chuck Palahniuk can sometimes be casually dismissed as an oversold shock author who appeals to a certain type of hipster reader who buys his books (and now comics) with a slavish devotion usually reserved for members of an asteroid cult. Sometimes that view rings true. Occasionally, Palahniuk will deliver a book or an idea that is more of a gimp monster or lame demon of mediocrity than an explosive novel of
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with a great sense of humor and/or Palaniuk fans
Shelves: favorites
Palahniuk makes another social statement(criticism) with Lullaby, but this time with more humor than he's mustered in any of his other books. It definitely helps to be somewhat cynical about the modern world, if you want to enjoy this book (good rule of thumb w/ any C.P books). But even if you love life, there's much to appreciate in the this book, mainly the fact that it's hysterically funny and the events that occur that are really bizarre.
The story revolves around the main character who stu
Sep 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
The only novel by the acclaimed author of Fight Club that I've read, this book is more or less an essay concerning the contaminating effects caused by the constant "noise" to which Americans have grown accustomed in their lives. Be it mass media, advertisements everywhere one turns, or talking heads always telling one what to do and when to do it, this noise is everywhere, and utterly inescapable, the author argues. While I generally agree with the author's displeasure over constant sensory over ...more
Joel Lacivita
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chuck took me on an interesting ride with Lullaby. It’s about a culling poem that will kill people when they hear it. But that’s a very simple way of explaining this book, there’s a lot more to it. It has several themes but it seems to be mostly about how people are never in total control of themselves. We are all possessed by something. I liked the way he talked about people that have problems with excess (ie. Drinking, eating, gambling, etc…) are actually being possessed by ghosts of people wh ...more
Wayne Barrett
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can hurt like hell."

Another great satirical/horror by Mr Chuck... 'Warning, if you have read this book and suffer bleeding hemorrhoids caused by sudden outbursts of laughter you may be eligible to participate in a class action law suit'.

A childrens poem that has been quietly causing the death of infants, children, and their parents, turns out to be an ancient African culling song. A magical remedy that was originally intended to put the weak and i
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Palahniuk, the Portlander (Oregon, not Maine) who wrote the cult classic Fight Club, has four other novels. One of them is Lullaby, which might or might not be just as off-the-wall as its more popular brother.

The book opens with a scene from a real estate office. Helen Hoover Boyle and her assistant Mona listen to a police scanner for deaths (and potential sales) and field calls from frightened new homeowners who have bought what Helen calls "distressed" (haunted) houses. Helen sells the same ho
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Lullaby was my first book to read by Chuck Palahniuk. I was so very impressed with his writing style and his well-crafted story.

Assigned to investigate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a reporter uncovers an ancient culling spell. When he learns the power of the spell, and the damage it can do, he sets out with some other very interesting characters, to remove this poem/spell from every library and bookstore in the country.

In my opinion, the power of Palahniuk's style is in his use of repeated phra
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Aside from not knowing how to pronounce this author's last name, reading this book was quick and easy (I read it in three days worth of bus rides to school and back). But just because it's an easy read doesn't mean it's not thought provoking.

Palahniuk wrote Fight Club which was made into a movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. (If you haven't seen the movie, go see it - it combines the uncertainty of a Sixth Sense or the confusion of a Memento with the light hearted social critique/comment
Apr 04, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, not-a-fan
It's been a few years since I read this book but I just happened to see it in my recommendations and wanted to nip this in the bud before GoodReads decided to do me anymore favors.
I remember reading this with expectations built on everyone telling me how great and awesome it was. Even though I wasn't into spreading my literary wings at the time, I gave it a go because who doesn't trust their friends? Liars, all of them.

Lullaby is like some pretentious, avant-garde art piece that is supposed to
After reading Lullaby, I'm officially a member of the Cult.

Chuck, you are to me what Oprah Winfrey is to Josh Nichols.
Palahniuk's a total trip, man.

The premise of this book caught my attention: People are being killed using an ancient 'culling song', a tribal spell sang to the old or infirmed to put them to sleep... permanently. Neat idea! I was hooked.

Other than that, I didn't know what to expect. What I got was a rollercoaster of a book that was one of the most inventive and original novels I'd read in a while. The culling song is just one aspect in this twister of a tale. Throw in a cast of questionable/od
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: First time Chuck Palahniuk readers.
Attention Readers of Edgy Black Writings, of Chuck Palahniuk

If you've read Lullaby and have felt bored you are not alone.

OKay, so this is my fourth Palahniuk book and I enjoyed the first three so much (Survivor, Choke, & Invisible Monsters)and I was very excited to read this. I got through most of it and felt really bored and unsatisfied. I mean I love the idea of the culling song and having the power to kill by voice even if you just say it in your head but I think the characters and the pl
Jenni Lou
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The only real knowledge I had about Chuck Palahnuik was though the film Fight Club. (Which a terrific flick and excellently directed and photographed. It’s gotta be in my top 25-50 of all time.) I had never read one of his books before. Until now. I checked Lullaby out of the library as I was browsing around looking for something new and interesting. The librarian who checked me out remarked that he is one of her favorite authors and she owns all of his books. So I was intrigued. And this book?

Dana Cordelia
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must-read
My interest in Palahniuk was selfish: since suffering the loss of a loved one, experiencing a mental breakdown at PDX airport and, two days later, being terminated from my hellish job and thrown blindly into unemployment with no health insurance, no savings and a laundry list of neurological pills that needed popping (prescribing, and purchasing, too...) I was desperate for a distraction.

This book is aaaaallllllll about the distraction, the noise, and the general clusterfuck that spins on aroun
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I recently stated to a friend that I had serious reservations about reading a Chuck Palahniuk novel. I, like many, do not like to be typecast into certain roles. Due to my age, interests, and lets just admit it, "quirks," I am a perfect candidate for membership in the Chuck Palahniuk fan club. Yet, for the majority of my adult life thus far I have been fighting the urge to, "drink the kool-aid," my scenester peers seem to enjoy so much. How very scenester of me, right? I mean come on, I gave the ...more
Kristina King
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hi. It's been a while.

After reading Galapagos, I set off to read some short stories. I read "Colony" by Philip K. Dick (awesome!) but then I had enough. If I am trying to read a load of books and write about them, reading short stories is antithetical.

On to a review: my first experience of reading Chuck Palahniuk wasn't bad, but it didn't help me understand why so many people enjoy his work. That was Choke (which, BTW, the film comes out next month). I really had to understand the hype, so I rea
Zuky the BookBum
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 4-stars
I’ve never read a Palahniuk books before but I actually really enjoyed this one. I can understand why some people find his writing annoying, but personally I like it’s wit, brutality and shockingness.

Palahniuk is always trying to make a point in his writing… I know this from reading other people’s reviews… but if it’s not right there in front of me, and instead hidden behind cryptic messages, I usually miss the whole point. Which is what I feel happened with this book. I mean I got it thanks to
Mar 16, 2007 rated it liked it
Like all of Palahniuk’s work, Lullaby is a fairly strange, twisted take on society. In this case, the focus is on folklore and the rather corrupt moral compass that seems to drive modern man.

For anyone who’s read Palahniuk before, you probably already know what to expect from his writing. He uses a fairly informal tone and relies on short, rapid sentences to keep the action moving. His characters are painted in vivid, near comic terms at times, and their motivations are fairly transparent. The
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How words can be so powerful. How you are never sure whether the life you're having is the life you want or the life you've been trained to want. How you would come to think that your mind is never ever yours alone. How they--from God to tv commercials--control your thoughts for you. To occupy you so you won't be able to have the time to think about things. So you won't have time to actually rebel.

Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging t
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my second book, the first being Fight Club, and I am fast becoming a fan of Chuck Palahniuk. This was a fascinating book, the kind of book that grips the reader by the throat and doesn't not let go to the end. I could not wait to see where it was going next, and what was going to happen.

One of the great things about this book was that it was so many different things at once. It is a little bit horror, a bit of satire, a bit of a mystery, a bit fantasy, and a love story all rolled up into
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, horror, gave-up
I really need to sort out my feelings with Palahniuk. Since Fight Club bewitched the eyes and souls of friends, I was convinced one way or another I'd end up favoring him above other authors as some sort of writing genius.
However, I read Invisible Monsters a few years ago and I simply couldn't get into it. It remains abandoned on my shelf with an array of other books that have failed to attain my interest. Maybe it's because I was too young at the time and I just couldn't be bothered to finish
Tom Quinn
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love him or hate him, you must admit: Chuck Palahniuk is always inventive. Sometimes it's to the point of being gimmicky ( Pygmy , anyone?) but original ideas and memorable execution like those displayed in Lullaby are among the stronger stuff you'll find in American pop fiction of the early millennium. Plus Palahniuk is a regular workhorse of a writer, having put out a new title every few years for the better part of two decades. Will they all be remembered in years to come? Doubtful. But he en ...more
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Written in stolen moments under truck chassis and on park benches to a soundtrack of The Downward Spiral and Pablo Honey, Fight Club came into existence. The adaptation of Fight Club was a flop at the box office, but achieved cult status on DVD. The film’s popularity drove sales of the novel. Chuck put out two novels in 1999, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. Choke, published in 2001, became Chuck’ ...more
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