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Invisible Monsters

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An Alternative Cover Edition of this book can be found here

She's a fashion model who has everything: a boyfriend, a career, a loyal best friend. But when a sudden freeway "accident" leaves her disfigured and incapable of speech, she goes from being the beautiful center of attention to being an invisible monster, so hideous that no one will acknowledge that she exists. Enter Brandy Alexander, Queen Supreme, one operation away from becoming a real woman, who will teach her that reinventing yourself means erasing your past and making up something better. And that salvation hides in the last places you'll ever want to look.

In this hilarious and daringly unpredictable novel, the narrator must exact revenge upon Evie, her best friend and fellow model; kidnap Manus, her two-timing ex-boyfriend; and hit the road with Brandy in search of a brand-new past, present, and future. Changing names and stories in every city, they catapult toward a final confrontation with a rifle-toting Evie-by which time the narrator will have learned that loving and being loved are not mutually exclusive, and that nothing, on the surface, is ever quite what it seems.

297 pages, Paperback

First published September 17, 1999

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About the author

Chuck Palahniuk

174 books126k followers
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’s first New York Times bestseller. Chuck’s work has always been infused with personal experience, and his next novel, Lullaby, was no exception. Chuck credits writing Lullaby with helping him cope with the tragic death of his father. Diary and the non-fiction guide to Portland, Fugitives and Refugees, were released in 2003. While on the road in support of Diary, Chuck began reading a short story entitled 'Guts,' which would eventually become part of the novel Haunted.

In the years that followed, he continued to write, publishing the bestselling Rant, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell-All, a 'remix' of Invisible Monsters, Damned, and most recently, Doomed.

Chuck also enjoys giving back to his fans, and teaching the art of storytelling has been an important part of that. In 2004, Chuck began submitting essays to ChuckPalahniuk.net on the craft of writing. These were 'How To' pieces, straight out of Chuck's personal bag of tricks, based on the tenants of minimalism he learned from Tom Spanbauer. Every month, a “Homework Assignment” would accompany the lesson, so Workshop members could apply what they had learned. (all 36 of these essays can currently be found on The Cult's sister-site, LitReactor.com).

Then, in 2009, Chuck increased his involvement by committing to read and review a selection of fan-written stories each month. The best stories are currently set to be published in Burnt Tongues, a forthcoming anthology, with an introduction written by Chuck himself.

His next novel, Beautiful You, is due out in October 2014.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,476 reviews
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,270 followers
March 13, 2015
Quite possibly the most fucked up piece of literature I’ve ever read, this novel is a brilliantly executed train wreck from beginning to end.
Profile Image for Ash.
4 reviews14 followers
March 20, 2008
It made me want to blow my own jaw off...but in a good way.
Profile Image for Sara.
179 reviews119 followers
December 4, 2013
Check the shelf I put this on. Now you're ready: This book is insane. There's something on practically every page that makes you say, "What the *%$#!?" You'll keep reading anyway, though, and you'll love it. The book's like a really hard-core Swedish massage. It hurts SOOOOO good.
The story is essentially about beauty: who values it, what it means, how it can be good, and how it can be a horror. Not only do the characters suffer FOR beauty, they suffer BECAUSE of beauty, and that's a powerful comment on current American society. Palahniuk shows off masterful writing all the way through, allowing the reader to both like and dislike, agree and disagree with all of the characters. He lays pathos out before his readers and expects us to have the capacity and intelligence to simultaneously exalt and suffer, and that's powerful stuff. If you don't have a firm grip on your sanity, a good sense of humor, and an expansive sense of the ridiculousness that is humanity, don't bother with this book.
Profile Image for Erica.
102 reviews17 followers
December 4, 2008
I'm too old for this stuff. Shocking doesn't do it for me alone, and he works SO VERY HARD at being vulgar and violent and crass. Don't get me wrong; those are three things that can make for a great story. But it was so unrelenting and contrived, and not as funny as it was supposed to be. There were some clever turns of phrase, and it wasn't entirely unenjoyable, but I was not really impressed.
Profile Image for B Haze.
109 reviews6 followers
April 19, 2016
I have a theory about Chuck Palahniuk books.
If somebody is starting to read Chuck Palahniuk for the first time...the first book they read of his will always be their favorite. I have found that to be the case with many people.
I really enjoyed Invisible Monsters and it was the first Chuck Palahniuk book I read. It was such a new approach to writing that I had never seen before, and I found myself really engrossed and moved by the now-usual Palahniuk twisty ending. It was such a shocking book to me that I loved every page of it.
Of course, since, I have read Chuck Palahniuk books that I could consider to be better, but the initial shock of this book on me has kept it the one I've liked the most.
A lot of people I have talked to really don't like this book of Palahniuk's, but I think that is probably because they didn't read it first.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,505 reviews737 followers
March 9, 2022
Yes! This is what Chuck Palahniuk is all about - a wonderful darkly comical yet engrossing thriller cum mystery cum horror! A supermodel has her lower jaw blown off, from being shot through her car window. Palahniuk brings together a non-linear story, told in a multitude of snippets of the before, duration and after, the shooting!

This book has such a surreal cast, from the vice cop that wears Speedos in the park to entrap men, to the elegant and beautiful Brandy Alexander, prescribed drugs addict and queen of flamboyancy. Among this cast however dwells an invisible monster! One of my fave Palahniuk's. 7 out of 12.

2003 read
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,847 reviews16.3k followers
May 8, 2016
Chuck Palahnuik’s Invisible Monsters has many similarities to Fight Club and clear influences from Sartre and John Barth.

It’s disjointed, fragmented, almost incomplete, and yet, he raises complex questions and makes brilliant observations. I don’t think he is so much nihilistic as he is post-modern and just doesn’t believe in culture de jour, readily satirizing at what needs to be poked fun.

description
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,729 reviews739 followers
December 12, 2018
This is, and always will be, one of my favourite Palahniuk books. Something about it just grabs me by the throat, punches me in the throat and leaves me breathless! I love how truly fucked up and twisted this story is, no one does fucked up and twisted quite like Chuck does! It’s been years since I’ve read this book so I had forgotten most of the story and it was like I was reading it again for the first time and it reminded me why I love Palahniuk’s writing.
Profile Image for Franco  Santos.
485 reviews1,325 followers
October 5, 2018
Si tuviera que decir de qué trata Monstruos invisibles, diría que es un relato rayano a lo absurdo, un viaje en compañía de individuos que te espantarían si te los cruzaras por la calle. Monstruos invisibles es una critica al estereotipo belleza y al modo de pensar. Trata que nos desprendamos de cualquier modelo de pensamiento y de creencia. Nos prueba que somos falsos, un producto de miles de rostros que desean vernos caer. Lo que queremos es lo que nos dicen que tenemos que querer, lo que odiamos es lo que ellos odian. Creemos que soñar es infinito, pero los sueños se alimentan de esperanzas, y las esperanzas, de lo conocido, y lo que conocemos no es más que lo que nos muestran. Libro ampliamente recomendado.
Profile Image for Derrick.
138 reviews39 followers
August 14, 2016
It very seriously makes me sad that there are people that haven't read Invisible Monsters. Invisible Monsters is the most amazing work of art I have ever experienced and reading it for the 3rd time was the best decision I have made this summer. Of course, this is the remix version, so it was different than the original Invisible Monsters but mainly just in the formatting and some added chapters.
* If you haven't read Invisible Monsters before and you decide to read it, I would recommend the original version. This version was Chuck Palahniuk's original vision for this novel. It reads like a Vogue. At the end of the prologue it says, "Now, Please, Jump to Chapter Forty-One." So you flip to page 284. Then turn jump to chapter 1,40, and so on and so on so that you you are going back and forth after each chapter. And when you finish the book you realize that there are still chapters left that you didn't read. There's 6 chapters actually that aren't really part of the main story. And two of the chapters are published with flipped text so that you have to put the book up to a mirror in order to read them. All of his 'gimmicks' make sense and are really interesting but maybe I'm just a lazy reader because I thought it kind of detracted from the reading experience. Some of the extra chapters were short 'stories' on a few of the characters and some of them told more about Chuck's background and his experience writing Invisible Monsters years ago.
* I did like that this edition was hardcover and even if the chapter jumping wasn't my favorite thing to do, I like his ideas and I like the fact that he'll do something different.
* Ultimately, this is the best book ever (other than the original version), and reading Invisible Monsters for the first time was one of the most significant points in my life and led to so much for me.

Edit: Sorry, there are a few more extra chapters than I originally thought, so make sure to look through the book a few times for all the extra chapters I guess.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,802 reviews352 followers
March 2, 2018
Chuck Palahniuk is the hugely popular author of modern, edgy books like Fight Club (also a movie with Brad Pitt--go ahead, act surprised) and Choke. For this reason I did not expect to like Invisible Monsters, originally published in 1999.

The story is told by a nameless narrator: a young woman who used to be beautiful. After a series of bizarre, haunting events involving a freeway, birds and a few other things those days are gone forever. Her face disfigured, her voice gone, the narrator is invisible. And a monster in the eyes of most. Desperate for someone to save her, the narrator meets Brandy Alexander at just the right time. Brandy embodies the life that the narrator used to have--except for an important operation that Brandy still needs to have.

Riding off with Brandy, the narrator starts fresh. Life is a story. If you don't like the story you have, make up a new one. As the lives Brandy offers up as truth continue to change and the lies threaten to fall apart, it becomes clear that no matter where you run eventually you have to face the facts and really decide what story you want to tell.

That's the story. But it's really not even half the story.

Stylistically, this novel has a lot going on. It's written in the first person, present tense setting up a tone that is both conspiratorial and conversational. Despite that, the narrator remains aloof, unreliable. Talking to the reader like an old friend, the narrator reveals the smallest details of her past while leaving key plot points to herself until the right moment. There are few male novelists who can write as convincingly in the voice of a woman as Palahniuk. The narration is amazingly authentic even when the story becomes more and more over-the-top.

Palahniuk also brings a high level of complexity to the narrative, writing the story in a non-linear format. The novel opens with the final scene as the narrator tries to explain how she got to that point. Along the way flashbacks are interwoven with "the present" and other points in the time line of character's lives.

This is the kind of book that requires a lot of attention. Like the modeling world that the narrator comes from, nothing in this novel is exactly what it seems. Characters lie, information given as fact turns out to be false. Palahniuk manages all of these elements impressively well, making it all work despite the bizarreness and absurdity inherent to certain parts of the plot.

More than anything, though, this book is really a character study. Palahniuk creates a lot of unique characters whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. As might be expected from the plot description given above, many ofthe relationships between characters in Invisible Monsters are dysfunctional. But it is the dysfunction that allows Palahniuk to look at how people interact and what it really means to love someone. So, while it is utterly strange, this novel definitely puts the "fun" in dysfunctional.

You can find this review and more on my blog Miss Print
Profile Image for Cassie-la.
523 reviews63 followers
June 15, 2012
REVIEW ALSO ON: http://bibliomantics.com/2012/06/01/a......

We’ve all seen extended edition and director’s cuts of movies, but this is the first time I have ever come across an author’s cut of a book. With this hardcover release of Chuck Palahniuk’s third published novel (but his first in terms of writing), he took the opportunity to change the linear format that was originally published in 1999 and release it the way he initially envisioned it. The intention was to give the reader the feel of literally getting lost inside the book, as one would be with a Vogue magazine. Which you have to admit is kind of perfect for a novel centered around beauty, perceptions, and transformation. Sadly no Madonna songs though.

So how exactly is this achieved? The narrative flips the reader around from chapter to chapter (41, 1, 40, 2, 39, 4, 38, 5, 37, 6, etc.) with the instructions at the end of each chapter to, “Now, Please Jump to Chapter …” So polite. This makes things intriguing, because unlike in a typical book where a dwindling number of pages signal the end is coming, you don’t know exactly when Invisible Monsters Remixwill reach its climax. And as with the original Invisible Monsters, the narrative itself skips around in time, so you will be well and truly lost in the events while you read. It’s a non-linear format inside a non-linear format, a mirror image. It couldn’t be produced as intended initially, but now at least it can be read and enjoyed by Chuck’s legion of fans.

One downside to this format, is that you might inadvertently see key bits of information as you flip through from chapter to chapter. This will lead you to wonder exactly how the narrative could lead there, so at least it’s not a total spoiler. Think of it as a darker version of “How I Met Your Mother”, but more akin to, “How I Lost My Face”. Page numbers would probably be easier for a reader to navigate from place to place, but I imagine it would be a logistics nightmare in terms of publishing every time the book gets re-released or the format is changed. This way at least is manageable for everyone except the dyslexics, but let’s be honest, page numbers would be even more difficult to follow.

While the original novel was published in a straightforward manner to please readers and make it more marketable, this version is Palahniuk’s original vision. Due to this, in addition to jumping around from chapter to chapter, there are also additional chapters outside this “straightforward” narrative. Twelve to be exact, split up into three sections which instruct the reader to loop between chapters over and over again. For example chapter 3 to chapter 16 to chapter 30 to chapter 3. Lather, rinse, repeat. Even after you’re done with the main story there’s even more to discover. We’re back to the Vogue magazine idea here.

Most of these side stories deal with the process of revision and re-imagining famous movies, as Chuck did with this novel, while others detail where our narrator is now (after her story). These sections are all new additions to the original novel, and some chapters are even written backwards, forcing you to read the words in a mirror. It’s a pain, but there is a purpose about reflections and mirrors and being forced to look at yourself while you read. You’re reading while watching yourself read while you read… You get the picture. It’s the idea of multiple reflections which function the same as the chapters that repeat on a loop. Where does it all begin and end? So many moebius strips, so little time.

The third and most interesting of these narrative diversions contains biographical stories about Chuck’s own life. There are three separate stories in this loop, one which deals with a road trip that inspired this novel, one about when he was writing his first manuscript, and a third about being on set for the film of his novel turned movie, Choke. Since the fictional story deals so much with impossible sounding coincidences (even though our world is a small one), Chuck shares some of his own coincidences in these stories, from a shared memory between him and a friend he hadn’t met yet, to the death of the mother he wrote about correlating to his own mother’s death, and all the coincidences in between. They’re poignant, beautiful, and most importantly true.

As with most of Chuck P. novels, there is a repetitive element throughout the narrative. Where in Fight Club it was “I am Jack’s” insert organ of the body here (my personal favorite is “raging bile duct”), this story also has a similar narrative trick. In this novel, weaved throughout is the flash of a camera taking photos with a wide variety of emotions being yelled out as if by a fashion photographer. The most memorable line being, “Give me lust, baby. Flash. Give me malice. Flash. Give me detached existentialist ennui. Flash.” There are also paragraphs starting with the phrase, “Jump to…” to tell the reader that the story is once again jumping in time and location. Spoiler alert: this happens more than in a “Doctor Who” episode.

There are plenty of reasons why this new structure works so well in this choose your own adventure type chapter hopping format, but I appreciate it even more for what it says about life. The end of a book generally doesn’t signal the end of a character’s life, unless you’re reading a historical fiction novel, and Palahniuk knows that. So rather than bring the end of the narrator’s story to the end of the novel, he wisely ends it somewhere in the middle, where stories generally leave their protagonists on their journey through life. Bravo on that Chuck.
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews252 followers
September 28, 2016
Jump to me reviewing Palahniuk's Invisible Monsters. If mindfuck was a genre, this would be one of its most characteristic works. Palahniuk states at the introduction that it won't be linear, the story won't be in the form of and then and then and then. So what he does is at the end of each chapter he tells you to please, jump to this or that chapter. It was a first for me having only a vague idea of my progress in a book.

As for the plot, it's better to not know anything before reading it. Palahniuk draws his characters as caricatures but that is not a problem at all because that is simply not the point. Besides, the type of people he describes, are little more than caricatures in real life too.

Invisible Monsters is nihilistic and cruel, while sensitive and deep at the same time. The point of it is not as simple as one may initially think. On the contrary, it has many sides, all of which are touched in multiple ways and in all possible manners. Nothing better than a book which describes the most extreme dysfunctionalities modern society brings about, in such a delicate and unpretentious manner. This part from the intro says a lot:
Nowadays, whatever purchase you moon over, whatever person you lust after, most likely it’s presented on a smooth glass or plastic screen. On a laptop or a television. And no matter what the technology, you’ll catch sight of your own reflection. In that electric mirror, there hovers your faint image. You’ll be superimposed over every email. Or, lurking in the glassy surface of online porn, there you are. Fewer people shut down their computers anymore, and who can blame them? The moment that monitor goes black, you’re looking at yourself, not smiling, not anything. Here’s your worst-ever passport photo enlarged to life size. Swimming behind the eBook words of Jane Austen, that slack, dead-eyed zombie face, that’s yours. That’s you.

Now, Please, Jump into the river and die with me
(The End)
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,274 followers
January 29, 2012

The main character in this book is nameless, and disfigured. She was once a beautiful model, and now feels invisible. She hides under a veil after being called a monster. When she lost her face she saw the true colors of everyone in her life. Her fiance leaves, and her best friend constantly steals her clothes while she's in the hospital. In speech therapy our main character meets Brandy Alexander, and the story unfolds.

This is probably my least favorite book so far by Palahniuk, but it was still enjoyable. I wish I hadn't read the synopsis of this book, and just went into it knowing nothing at all. Another problem is my expectations. When I heard this was Palahniuk's first book he ever tried to have published, and it got rejected as "too disturbing" I thought this was just what I was looking for at the moment. Well, I came to the conclusion that either other people get disturbed and/or offended too easily, or I am truly becoming incapable of being shocked. So either way this is not the book's fault...

Some of the "twists" in this book I saw coming within the first few pages. I will admit that there were a few that got me, but most were predictable. Again, had I not read the synopsis maybe I would have had a completely different opinion, but I have no way or knowing that for sure.

So that's what I didn't like, but here is what I did like. Invisible Monsters is a book that's not about the plot. It's really about the characters. None of them are likeable, but that makes them fun to read about. Like me, you will probably wind up not caring about any of them, but they will make you laugh with their outrageous plans and crazy antics. I really could not stand the main character's parents, though. Oh jeez, these parents were like...cliches of idiotic parents that embarrass their children...times 10 thousand. Just wow. Very interesting character study, anyway.

I enjoyed how the story was told with lots of scene jumping, magazine style, using the word FLASH like flash photography. I also thought Chuck did a decent job writing a woman's perspective, and he honestly captured the way some extremely superficial women think. There are definitely some inspired parts, and it's very fast paced. The story never got boring for me.
Profile Image for Crystal.
129 reviews27 followers
Read
January 19, 2021
It was a long time ago I read the original version so I can't say for sure on what was added material.
Again I feel like I lost out on some of the experience by going audiobook instead of physical book...in the audiobook it would have you switch to a different disc and track where I'm assuming the paper book would have had you go to a different page. I did like the almost wandering feeling of not knowing how far through the book I was.

As always with my #1 fav author, absolutely wild ride, never a dull moment and just a freaking awesome read for anyone, especially if you feel like a f*&* the world vibe. 😙
Profile Image for Miko.
7 reviews6 followers
December 4, 2013
****DO NOT LOOK THIS UP IN WIKIPEDIA IT GIVES AWAY EVERYTHING I REPEAT DO NOT LOOK IT UP! In fact, don't even read the synopsis, I would just dive right in knowing nothing.****

THE START:
So far it is pretty good. It says right from the start that you are going to read this book feeling like you are missing things and it's very true.

I am having a hard time holding on to any solid plot but am captivated from what I can grasp. It's the same author that wrote Fight Club and it kind of has that same feel where certian things happen and you're like, "wait what just happned, what did I miss?" when in reality you didn't miss anything, nothing has been revealed yet they are just going on in the plot as if you know it already.

Only about 1/4 into it...more to follow! (This is a FABULOUS idea ps!)


UPDATE:
So I am now 3/4 of the way through and it is all(finally!) starting to come together. I feel like I am going to have to re-read it now that I am starting grasp the plot and characters(yes, it really is that confusing!)

It's a trip.

I have to say I am relieved that it IS starting to make sense. When explaning how ramdom it was to people I used the movie Mulholland Drive to give an example.

The thing is, that movie never ended up making any sense(at least to me)so while read I was concerned it was just going to be this artsy "deep" book left up for interpretation that I wasn't cool enough (or drugged up enough)to understand.

Don't get me wrong still a very weird book but highly entertaining. I recommend that you read it carefully and try to remember details even if you don't understand it at the time.

Almost done!


FINALE:
WOW! I did NOT see that coming! If you are reading this and are going to now read the book I say again, pay attention! I am going to re-read the book now that I know where all the pieces go! I felt like I was watching a movie with a big black bar going through the middle and now it has been lifted and I want to watch it again. It was good, different, but good! I would have given it 4.5 stars if that was available. Well done! ****I also just read that they are turning this book into a movie to release late this year sweet!
Profile Image for Nick Younker.
Author 15 books56 followers
April 4, 2019
Clearly, there’s a fine line between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit. Our boy Chuck knows his shit, and our girl, who remains unnamed until the final few pages, knows she’s shit.

It’s a critical satire about the population at large that envies the glam of modeling and the clueless models who run it. To be honest, at times, I started to get bored with the content. But Chucky-boy and his trademark style kept my eyes open and the pages turning.

“Just what the hell is he going to say next?”

It gets four-stars for his patented style and a fraction of a star for content. I can’t go into more detail without spoiling an unspoilable story.

If you like Chuck, this is a roll of the dice.
Profile Image for ☆LaurA☆.
168 reviews48 followers
January 22, 2023
Dammi penose cazzate frignanti emotive.
Flash.
Dammi sciocchezze egocentriche egoiste.
Cristo.
Fanculo a me stessa. Sono così stanca di essere me. Me bella. Me brutta. Bionda. Bruna. Un milione di fottuti rifacimenti che non fanno altro che lasciarmi intrappolata a essere me.


4,5 ⭐️ solo perché l'inizio non mi aveva coinvolta del tutto, maaaa boom...Chuck ha colpito ancora.
Ebbene si, alla fine sono rimasta con la bocca spalancata a fine libro.
Adoro la sua scrittura fottutamente audace, capace di stupirti ad ogni capitolo.
Pura follia a volte, nemmeno te lo sogni come si incastrino tutti i tasselli del puzzle, uno schiaffo ai canoni estetici, del giusto e sbagliato, un pugno allo stomaco continuo.
Un viaggio per reinventare se stessi, al limite del grottesco, dove nessuno è quel che sembra.

"Quello di cui ho bisogno è di fare una cazzata così grande da non riuscire a salvarmi....
Ma devo sapere che posso amare qualcuno. Completamente e totalmente, permanentemente e senza speranza di ricompensa, solo come un atto di volontà, amerò qualcuno."

Ed ora pronta per un altro viaggio con Palahniuk...vedremo questa volta dove mi porterà e quali cazzo di sentimenti tirerà fuori da questa fottuta testa che mi ritrovo!
Profile Image for Bill.
1,514 reviews104 followers
January 20, 2016
“If I can't be beautiful, then I just want to be invisible.”

Chuck Palahniuk is a truly unique and twisted individual. He also seems to be a bit hit or miss with me. I have come to the conclusion that timing may be everything for a Palahniuk read.

Invisible Monsters has it all. Pretzel plotting, biting wit, uber-bizarre characterizations, scathing sarcasms, all wrapped up in a non-linear format that was either going to suck balls or be utterly brilliant. I’m going with brilliant.

Geesh piercing, Manus’s man mags, vaginoplasty, face eating birds, 46" of silicon glory, and The Elephant Man’s jazz hands. Flash!

“Wear a Veil. It's lingerie for your face.”
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,325 reviews4,619 followers
June 8, 2022
You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

If I told you that Invisible Monsters was supposed to be Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel, before Fight Club was to ever happen, but was rejected by publishers for being too disturbing, would you believe me? Countless people have found themselves falling head over heels in love with this novel to the point of calling it Palahniuk’s best work of fiction and their own favourite book of all time. While Fight Club became a worldwide classic piece of literature and one of the most critically-acclaimed masterpieces in cinema, Invisible Monsters has all the ingredients necessary to blow your minds away just as effortlessly. The story is told by an unnamed narrator who’s had a freak accident on the highway that left her face horribly disfigured (goodbye jaw). Once a fashion model that caught the eye of every individual that crossed paths with her, now she struggles to be seen and loses sight of her own purpose in life. It’s upon meeting Brandy Alexander, also known as the Queen Supreme, a woman who undergoes more surgeries than you could count on your fingers to become the most beautiful woman alive, that the narrator learns some of the most valuable lessons regarding identity and love. Invisible Monsters is not your ordinary novel. It is one of the most artistic and unorthodox works of fiction that you’ll ever come across in a sea of books.

Invisible Monsters is a chef-d'oeuvre. It’s impossible to exit the stage without feeling completely overwhelmed by the story that was smacked into you. This is without a doubt the most f*ked up story I’ve ever read. Pardon my language, but there’s no better way to describe this book. May you be warned that the plot twists are uncountable and unforeseeable. As soon as you think that the biggest surprise was conveyed, expect to be struck by a shower of thunderous twists that are not only there to mess with your thoughts, but to convey a subtle, but strong message. Whether it is a desire to showcase the insanity of excess or the consumption of passion, Chuck Palahniuk invites you on a journey that one would never have thought possible. There’s very strong humor that borders satire throughout the whole story that leaves a very satisfied impression until the very end. Invisible Monsters can also easily be classified as a transgressive fiction that touches upon a grand array of themes, from love (self and others), identity, attention, beauty, and sexuality. With characters that defy conventionality to lay out the pieces to a self-indulged in freedom, Invisible Monsters is a true artistic creation of visceral and unshackled creativity.

Nothing is what it seems. It’s where you’ll find beauty with this book. It has such an aggressively deceptive writing, you sometimes feel so immersed that you just can’t help but focus on what is told instead of looking wider, and sometimes even behind, to see the truck coming. The plot devices used by Chuck Palahniuk in this book are also some of the most original and truly fitting aspects. One of the recurring devices used throughout the book is when the narrator pretends to be in a photo shoot and the text looks like this: “Give me attention. Flash. Give me adoration. Flash.” I truly enjoyed these little bits that occur randomly and unexpectedly. They not only remind us about the narrator's past (before the tragic event) but also adds this humouristic touch to the whole narrative. Furthermore, to heighten the brilliance of the writing, repetition is scattered throughout the novel in a clever fashion. While it is easy to find yourself annoyed by the writing, I found myself pleased and immensely intrigued by the direction and decisions. I’ve never known Chuck Palahniuk to stick with a shtick, but to rather experiment and explore, and that’s what I got from Invisible Monsters. It is a novel that struck me with originality and with the never-before-seen.

Another element that I thought was less evident—since Chuck Palahniuk had to settle with a revised edition of this book—is how the story does not possess a classic sequential structure. No, no, no. Invisible Monsters has a continuity intertwined with multiple pasts. As you read, the narrator says “Jump to when…” to put you in a completely different moment in the life of a character. This is something that Chuck Palahniuk wants you to embrace and get used to as life is never about the predictable but always about the unexpected and sudden moments. Quickly you’ll realize that even with such a choppy progression, you’ll still be able to feel a certain temporal continuity. The best part is how parts and segments feel so irrelevant when taken in at face value, but later become hints and clues, only to become irrefutably pertinent. The flashback scenes also give us a glimpse into the character’s own life and offer us the opportunity to contrast the past with the present. A huge deal of character development is easily observable through this particular style of narration. After all, a protagonist that had everything going for her until a tragic event shifted her life onto a downhill slope is a protagonist that is bound to rethink some of the most fundamental elements of her life. That’s where the Queen Supreme serves as an enabler and a model for what is to come.

As I hinted earlier, this revised edition that was released after initially being rejected by publishers is not how Chuck Palahniuk intended his story to be. A much more sophisticated edition was later released under the name of Invisible Monsters Remix. Remember when I said the narrator would make you jump from one moment in time to another? Well, Invisible Monsters Remix pushes the idea even further and shuffles these sections of the story and adds: “Turn to page …” This much more cumbersome structure makes sure to remind you that this book is supposed to be read like a fashion magazine with the most random images and advertisements popping out the blue. While I haven’t tried this version of the book yet, I am truly curious about what the reading experience would be like, especially with the number of insane twists that are sprinkled throughout this book. I hear there are even hidden chapters that aren’t part of the sequence that is written upside down, as in, you’d need a mirror to read it.

Invisible Monsters remains one of Chuck Palahniuk’s greatest books. It tackles conventions related to beauty and love in a unique and brilliant fashion. It is filled with plot twists enough to rattle you to the core, and even drown you in awe. If you’re feeling adventurous and are curious about where you could find your next alarming, messed up and disturbing story, need to look no further.

Give me unique.

Flash.

Give me unpredictable.

Flash.

Give me a masterpiece, baby.

Flash.

Jump to Invisible Monsters.

____________________________

Such a chef d'oeuvre. This was one hell of a fucked up story by Chuck Palahniuk. The writing is ingenious and the use of multiple timelines to tell a deceptive story was brilliant. This book contains so much controversy and raises so many questions on attention, beauty, identity, and love (self and others). The best part of all this is the plot twists. You think the first one would be enough, but Palahniuk ruthlessly throws you an avalanche of plot twists that never ceases to amaze you. By the end, every dot is connected and the messages are delivered with a bang. What a book.

P.S. Full review to come
28 reviews
October 21, 2007
Pages: 200+

So, it's safe to say that Chuck Palahniuk owns my soul. Not even a little bit of it. The whole thing.
Invisible Monsters blew my mind. I spent a good chunk of the book stuck in confusion and my mind felt like it had just been exposed to the trippiest thing ever. But, as I like to think, what is a Chuck Palahniuk story without mental mind trips and without confusion? It is not a Chuck Palahniuk story at all!

Right off the bat Palahniuk leaves his print by introducing a set of characters in the strangest, craziest way possible. In technicality, there is a beginning and an end, but to a reader there's no formal structure at all. Which works great for the story. The reader is pulled from the "beginning" to before the beginning to the middle to a house in who-knows-where to the pre-beginning again to the middle to the beginning to the end.
If you don't plan on reading this book all in one sitting, don't start reading it. Chances are you'll just end up confusing yourself more, and who wants that?

Repetition, my favorite Palahniuk weapon, is used intensely in the story. Me being a big fan of repetition, especially Chuck-style, thought this was a great story enhancer.

Bottom line is, I expect no one to finish reading this review because I expect everyone to be outside buying this book already.
Profile Image for Steven Godin.
2,284 reviews2,154 followers
June 7, 2022

OK, so as far as I can gather, the original Invisible Monsters jumped around in time - i.e. it's non-linear - but read in sequence in terms of chapters. Here, in the remix version, not only do we get extra scenes and characters, plus a new prologue, we also have to move back and forward depending on which chapter we are directed to. For example, read the reintroduction and then jump to chapter forty-one. Read that and then it's back to chapter one. After that you jump to chapter forty, and so on. The ending is therefore about half way through the novel. Oh, and and I forgot to mention that a few chapters are printed in mirror image. Pain in the ass, right? But no, it actually makes sense for it to be this way - just as Chuck had initially intended. Now, had I read it before; the original I mean, I would have been tempted to just experiment and read it differently and not keep jumping back and forward like a demented frog. After all, it jumps around in time anyway. In the end though, I just followed Palahniuk's chosen path. Unsurprising, I learnt that Chuck's initial draft was written whilst watching MTV, and is inspired by various fashion mags. I thought, because of it described as a satire about a model, that it might resemble Glamorama by Brett Easton Ellis in some way, but if anything it's more American Psycho. Some of the scenes really were disturbing. Not Fight Club levels, but I did find it a lot better than some of his others. And, like Fight Club, this also comes with a big twist, in regards to Brandy Alexander. I'll say no more.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,602 reviews415 followers
June 10, 2019
-Entre muchos efectismos a lo Palahniuk, una mirada interesante a ciertos valores de la sociedad actual.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Monstruos invisibles (publicación original: Invisible Monsters, 1999) conocemos a Shannon McFarland, pero no sabemos su nombre. Hasta hace poco fue una prometedora modelo con una vida perfecta en apariencia y ahora tiene el rostro totalmente desfigurado, hasta el punto de que los daños sufridos le impiden hablar con normalidad. Cuando entra en su vida Brady Alexander, un transexual de personalidad arrolladora por completo, buscará la manera de afrontar su realidad actual mientras trata de ajustar cuentas con su pasado.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

https://librosdeolethros.blogspot.com...
Profile Image for Aesaan.
123 reviews74 followers
April 6, 2021
Jump to me having just read the most fucked up piece of literature ever.
Flash!
Is it brilliant? Hell Yes!
Give me a complete late-stage revision of my adult life.
Flash!
Give me anything in this whole fucking world that is exactly what it looks like!
Invisible Monsters is a catastrophic ride from page one to the very last, I mean literally from page one that only has about seventy words. It's a disjoint and fragmented story that doesn't always make sense, which makes me curious how the Remix edition feels, it's that good.

I really can't tell, in fact, I don't know if anyone can tell what cooks in Chuck's weirdly beautiful mind. The story feels like a harrowing gut-punching poem, that is one trainwreck after another after another after another.

Yes, there is a downside to this storytelling structure as it can get boring at times given no overarching plot, it jumps to events after events...

The punchline: If you're a fan of Chuck's electrifying writing style, jump right in. I can't get into more details without spoiling the fun, and also because its known...
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,648 followers
February 7, 2017
“All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

description

I admire what Palahniuk was trying to do here structurally. Dislocating the reader by organizing the chapters so they don't give you an exact idea, a hint, when the book will end is novel (it did kinda remind me, in some ways of those cheap "choose your own adventure" books I used to buy from Scholastic books when I was a kid). Having the words in some chapters written backwards made my wife's vanity mirror finally useful to ME. And, I mostly adore Palahniuk's transgressive, PoMo, fiction shtick with his satirical insight into both the beautiful and the damned. There was no ONE big problem with this book and there were certainly moments of genius and moments when I laughed out lout.

BUT...

But when viewed as a whole, with all of the satirical dancing, noise, and absurdity -- it just didn't work or me in the end. As the novel wrapped up, I was bored more than anything. It was like being lost in a carnival funhouse. For a few minutes it might be novel and may even BE fun, but the danger and threat of a sticky, almost wearisome boredom is real. I closed the book and just felt meh. So, that.
Profile Image for Char .
1,598 reviews1,440 followers
May 7, 2014
I listened to this book on audio. This was such a strange story, I am at a loss for words.

The narrators were fantastic, especially Anna Fields. (Chuck P. himself was one of them). This story jumps all over the place and it takes a while to get a feel for what's happening. This audio book came with a link to a pdf file explaining how there are
are 4 different loops to follow, and the instructions on how to do that. Or, you can just listen-after each portion, a narrator pops on and tells you where to go next.

I just listened to it straight through. It's about a model that now has no face. Her name is ..well there's a choice of 3. Her life is unimaginable. It's somewhat realistic, it's all out hilarious, but it's also poignant at times. Especially the 4 times Chuck himself narrated. These parts were interesting because he talked about other things going on his life-I liked these sections the best.

So this book has a non linear story with lots of graphic violence, language, thievery, sex and lots of drugs. You definitely want to listen on ear buds and not out loud. Trust me on this.

This was a totally crazy, unique, in your face, fun read and I liked it a lot! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Sara.
578 reviews55 followers
February 17, 2017
There's a favorite device used by Pomo f#ckboys--DFW, Nick Holdstock, Chuck here--wherein they take a woman, give her no discernible personality traits other than a tragic shallowness, and then f#ck up her face. To these men, the inner and outer lives of these women--all women--are driven solely by their level of physical attractiveness. They can't for the life of them imagine say, a woman obsessed with particle physics, or philosophy, or even where to get the best coffee beans(The hipster male circa 1999 already had a monopoly on that one, I guess). Instead, these ladies fret over invisibility because they haven't developed a life of the mind, which then allows said f#ckboys to either pity (Wallace) or castigate them, while remaining wholly oblivious to the fact that their own pea-sized imaginations have failed to fill in their characters. Maybe the boobs make up for it? And speaking of 1999, the consumerland drivel, where's-my-jet-pack jokes, and tasteless--albeit about as shocking as the "She's man, baby! A man!" shtick in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls(See? I can do this, too, although I already regret it)--portrayal of sexuality and gender was about as tired as a Friends rerun by then. This is the kind of Gen X nonsense that makes me thrill at the prospect of being eaten alive by a millennial.
Profile Image for Catinmybrain.
72 reviews14 followers
November 1, 2022
His name's Chuck.

And he likes to ...make fun of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions?

Or is he really making a satire about how healthy, overly entitled imbeciles who are obsessed with their appearances see disability and disfigurement as a complete living hell because their own superficiality can't allow them to imagine an existence outside of the shallow reflection they see in a mirror? And that entire condition both feeds into discrimination of people with these conditions while showcasing the fundamental and complete failure of modern culture as a whole?

Answer: Yes.

Maybe the real invisible monsters are the friends we make along the way. Y'know, in the bathroom, with the cawk rings.

7.5/10

Part of my big Halloween Review Round Up
www.patreon.com/posts/74021554
Profile Image for Sv.
320 reviews105 followers
November 16, 2017
Bu kitaba biraz kusursuzluk ver.
Flaş.
Biraz çarpıcılık ver.
Flaş.

Bu kitap bildiğin şov! İçeriğe bakarsak bu kadar kusursuz olması mükemmel bir ironi. Karşı koyması imkansız. Bütün olaylar yokuş aşağı yuvarlanıyor ve bunun parçası olmaktan haz alıyorsunuz. Hannibal dizisi gibi. Neden yapıldığını anlamanıza gerek bile yok, hissediyorsunuz. Hele o son sayfalarda iplerin koptuğu kısımlar yok mu! Otobüste şaşkınlıktan gözlerim doldu resmen! Doyamadım. İş yerinde, izbanda, otobüste, hatta otobüsten indikten sonra yürürken bile okudum. Uzun süredir böylesine açlıkla okumamıştım bir kitabı. Çok yaşa Chuck!
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