Invisible Monsters Remix

Length: 7 hrs and 12 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4 out of 5 stars (243 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An expanded, radically refashioned “director’s cut” of a favorite Palahniuk novel...

Injected with new material, Invisible Monsters Remix fulfills Chuck Palahniuk’s original vision for his 1999 novel, moving a daring satire on beauty and the fashion industry even further into a wildly unique listening experience. 

Palahniuk’s fashion-model protagonist has it all - boyfriend, career, loyal best friend - until an accident destroys her face, her ability to speak, and her self-esteem. Enter Brandy Alexander, queen supreme, one operation away from becoming a bonafide woman. 

Laced in are new chapters of memoir and further scenes with the book’s characters. Listeners will jump between chapters and have a second listen to understand the dissolve between fiction and fact, taking them on a ride they’ll never forget. 

About the author: Chuck Palahniuk’s best-selling novels include Tell-All, Damned, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Lullaby, Fight Club, Diary, Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke. He is also the author of a nonfiction profile, Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

©1999 Chuck Palahniuk (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Palahniuk’s stories don’t unfold. They hurtle headlong, changing lanes in threes and banging off the guard rails of modern fiction.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    129
  • 4 Stars
    64
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    146
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    5
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    9

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    132
  • 4 Stars
    52
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    7

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Read the book or get the original audio version

This is the only time I have ever rated the Overall lower than both the performance and the story because although the performance (especially Anna Fields) is quite good and the story is bizarrely entertaining and somewhat thought-provoking, this is a book that was totally meant to be read. From what I have seen on the Internet, it is not even meant to be read in electronic form (much less heard), but truly read in BOOK form - doesn't really work with Kindle either.

I chose this book based on a recommendation from a friend and did not check out what the differences might be between the Remix and the original and just assumed that the Remix with additional inserts by the author would be better. And, it may be better in book form but it is not great in audio form because this book moves not only back and forth through time, but back and forth through chapters. (Chapter 33 might follow Chapter 2, etc.) There are other "Easter Eggs" hidden in the printed version like a chapter that must be read in a mirror which you simply cannot experience through audio. The story is not presented linearly but you kind of have to piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle. It is a little frustrating in the beginning, but as you get the "border pieces", you start to get the hang of it and it is a very interesting way to get the whole picture. However, because the clues to the heart of the plot/characters come sprinkled through, it would be a lot nicer to have the print form of this to go back and double check on parts you have already read.

Apparently the Remix is Chuck Palahniuk original vision of a book that would not only challenge your thoughts on beauty, family, well-being, but actually challenge your reading ability, dexterity, and sleuthing skills. That might work with a book you hold in your hands, but it is kind of disjointed and unsatisfying in this audio version.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another hit for C.P.

I really enjoyed this book. I found it hilarious in that, "How the heck does he come up with this stuff?" sort of way. I laughed out loud quite often. (The scene with the Christmas stockings springs immediately to mind, so I guess it's also funny in that "Can you just imagine?!" sort of way.)

but...

As other reviewers have mentioned, this book is all mixed up and out of sequence, so one way or another you have to work for it. I listened to about half of the recording just as it is recorded. That was fine. I was able to enjoy each chapter on its own and trust that I would eventually have enough information to be able to figure out what was going on. At about the halfway point, though, I decided to try to follow the jumps and listen to it following the directions.

At the beginning of the recording they give a link to a reader's guide for this book. I got that and printed it. I had also bought the Kindle edition at the same time as the audiobook, just because it seemed like a good idea. Between the three items, I managed to listen to it as the author intended. Even though I was listening to much of it over again, I still enjoyed it very much. But, as I said, there was work involved. You either have to listen to it all mixed up or do the jumping around as called for.

I notice Audible does also have the book as originally published without the jumping around. However, there is interesting stuff added to this book that is not in the original. There are three commentary units mixed up in here along with the story. The reader's guide refers to these as loops, and they are definitely that. If you follow the jumps in the male-voiced portions, the last chapter of each one leads you back to its first chapter. (The guide is very useful.)

So, which version you purchase will depend on how much effort you want to put into it. Either way, it's definitely worth a listen.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

We must never, ever be boring.

“All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

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.

* This structural disruption, however, doesn't do much in the audio version.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not his best - and mixed track gimmick is painful

I read this one hot on the heels of re-reading Choke and Fight Club, expecting a lot of the same humor and trenchant absurdity. There are glimmers, but Invisible Monsters feels fundamentally different and weaker than either. Fine, but not as fun or as philosophically engaging as either of those.

Like the other Palahniuk books I've read, this one is definitely in the transgressive camp, but on a much smaller scale - with prescription drug abuse, and petty thievery dominating the plot. It seems as though transsexualism, homosexuality and promiscuity are also intended to add to the transgressive vibe, but it's 2019.

Over and over there are instances of "telling rather than showing" how characters feel. As the Robot Devil says "You can't just have your characters announce how they feel... that makes me feel ANGRY!" And that feels like a symptom of what might be the fundamental problem here - the main character is female, and she isn't written to be nearly as interesting or well-developed as the author's male protagonists I've read. Her mental universe feels small, with cliched points of focus (beauty, femininity, romantic love and fidelity, family).

And, as if to cover up for the relative sparsity of ideas, the "remix" gimmick has been thrown in. The chapters are non-sequential, and at the end of each chapter, you're directed to the next chapter you should read. This is probably a neat trick for physical book readers, but it's not for the audiobook. Different people have different ways of reading audiobooks, but when I'm in my car or in bed, or doing chores, it is an enormous pain in the ass to stop the book, open the chapter selection screen and select the correct track to continue. This annoyance is made much worse by the fact that the Audible app labels the first track as "Chapter 1," while the audiobook considers the second track to be Chapter 1. So the book says "please jump to chapter 16, track 17" at the end of each chapter.

The main narrator is very good. And the little pieces that the author narrates are good (if you're cool with his deadpan affect) - the third narrator is jarringly different though, and does not have the most pleasant voice.

Lastly, the story features multiple trans people, and each of them seem to be trans out of insecurity and self-hatred. As a dramatic/metaphorical conceit, that's fine by me, but it feels like Chuck is pretty far out of his lane writing trans people (and women generally), and the book approaches its trans people as fundamentally broken. To be fair, that's true of all its characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Frickin' Wow!!

“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.”

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

In love but not for the drive

I absolutely loved this story!!! Unfortunately the interactive nature of it means you have to stop what you're doing and change chapters...not recommended for driving, falling asleep to, or listening to any time that you can't stop and change the chapter. Other than that.. Great story.. Captures the attention and leaves you wanting more and more and more

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Highly recommended. I read the actual book a decade ago, but this was all new. And the remixing and mixing around chapters is both confusing and mindblowing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Invisible Monsters Remix?

The several times I got lost in the chapters. I had to earn this book.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but the best narration I've heard so far. Really brings the characters to life.

Who was the most memorable character of Invisible Monsters Remix and why?

Brandy Alexander

Any additional comments?

Listen!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The remix makes this a standard for Chuck

So, I listened to this all wrong by going from chapter 1 to the end. If you're familiar with this book, you'll know that's completely wrong but also sort of right. The physical version of this book works almost like a choose your own adventure book with no options (you're searching through the book and could make wrong turns just by your own not paying attention). The audible version sort of spoils the secrets but having it presented like this almost brings it to his modern story telling style. Flash forward backward sideways etc... It's also sort of interesting to see the next development (or last) and then all of a sudden hear the author chime in as a disembodied narrator discussing a concept of the story as almost legend or lore.

Anyway, this is probably one of my favorite stories by Chucky (I have permission to call him that plus he sent me a copy of this filled with confetti a few years back and I'm still finding bits of it in dark corners of my home so I'm going to call him that regardless). If you're brave enough to follow the story as intended by jumping around, it's a fantastic story. If you listen to this front to back, it's very fun to have something spoiled for you early and listen to the main character's complaints getting to that point later. If you want an intro to Chuck P, this, Choke, and Survivor are great places to start imo.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worthy revision

The original version of this book is what made me fall in love with Chuck Palahniuk in the first place. The remix version does definitely add enough to be a different experience, and while the audio version is fun, I think I'd rather have picked up the print version considering the book's choose your own adventure style layout with other textual oddities. Still, even listening to it straight through without doing the requested jumping was a wonderful experience, but perhaps good only because I remembered the story from the first time around. New readers of this book may want to pick up the print copy first.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

out of order

Impossible to listen to in the car since you have to manually select a chapter that is already misnumbered. would like a reordered hands free version.

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  • Andrew
  • 12-28-16

The shuffled chapter format doesn't work in audio

the author's gimmick makes the book insane to follow as an audiobook. my hands aren't always free as I'm listening and having to open the app at the end of every chapter to jump to a new one isn't a pleasant reading experience. Do not purchase.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Saunders
  • 06-20-15

"Birds ate my face"

What made the experience of listening to Invisible Monsters Remix the most enjoyable?

Revisiting a classic Palaniuk story with some additional material and brief behind the scenes on the book and some chapters.

Wacky and 'out there' story which asks and foreshadows questions and themes in todays society. Also a great performance by narrator.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Invisible Monsters Remix?

That'd be telling! just know; if you follow the story correctly by going to the chapter/track you're told to go to at the end of the chapter, the story will make waaaaay more sense quicker, and it's twists and turns will be more rewarding.

correct track/chapter order here: http://www.blackstoneaudio.com/docs/6858.pdf

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

My 5 star rating for performance solely lands on the original versions performer "Anna Fields", she embodies each role; making it her own and overall; making the listening experience so much more entertaining and special. I wish they'd gotten her back for the extra material but Palaniuk and Paul do an okay job.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. Some very thought provoking quotes,scenes and themes are in this story. Especially if you're a part of the LGBT community. Heck, even if you've had a big change in your life or feel like something is wrong or missing, this book will help you find it or move on. You'll relate to, laugh with - and love these characters in some way. I'm impressed how the book deals with these themes without becoming a 'killjoy'. A very impressive balance of reality and dark comedy.

Any additional comments?

I believe the original audiobook has the chapters/story all in order, so you don't have to keep changing the track at the end of each chapter, Though you will miss out on the extra content 'remix' has to offer (but the extra contents is not essential to the whole original plot)

again, If you do purchase this version, look at/copy this link to see the correct chapter/track order: http://www.blackstoneaudio.com/docs/6858.pdf

Why isn't this a Tv series or Movie?!