Palahniuk (Damned, 2011, etc.) plays literary DJ, revisiting and updating his 1999 novel Invisible Monsters.
In a new "Reintroduction," Palahniuk explains that Invisible Monsters was never meant to be a conventional narrative, resembling in its original incarnation the Sears catalogue or an old copy of Vogue magazine, jumping forward and backward in time with the quick-cut style changes of a classic MTV playlist. The elder statesman of transgressive fiction even sounds a bit cynical—“You young people, you who think you invented fun and drugs and good times, fuck you.”—though with his skewed sense of humor, it’s generally hard to be sure. In matter of substance, there’s not much of a “remix” to be had here, just a, “Now, please jump to Chapter Forty,” Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style that doesn’t so much reorder the book as augment the disjointed, whiplash atmosphere its author intended. The book that Kirkus drubbed “Too clever by half” in 1999 is still here in its ghoulish entirety. The narrator is Shannon McFarland, a fashion model whose beauty has been obliterated in an enigmatic accident. While recovering in the hospital, Shannon meets Brandy Alexander, a voluptuous pre-surgical transsexual who adopts Shannon and takes her on the road, granting them new monikers, identities and trades in the process. Throw in some more drag queens, a knife-wielding ex-cop, plenty of drugs, sexual abuse and even a wedding, not to mention some eerie family values. The book is really a superfluous artifact, but that doesn’t change the fact that Palahniuk remains one of the most gifted writers in American fiction.
Not worth replacing your old paperback, but a nice collector’s item for Palahniuk’s cult.