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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author of Fight Club, which was adapted into a major motion picture, Chuck Palahniuk offers a haunting tale. Winner of the Northwest Booksellers Association Award, Palahniuk is one of the rare literary geniuses who has been able to bridge the gap between a cult following and commercial success.

Carl Streator, a 40-something widower and newspaper reporter, has lived a reclusive life since the death of his wife. His latest assignment is to write a series of articles on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In doing so, he discovers that there is an underlying commonality in the deaths. A children's book, Poems and Rhymes Around the World, containing an African Death chant, is found at the scene of the cases he investigates. Having read the chant aloud, he quickly realizes the lethal power of the words. As he fights against its powerful grip, which has turned him into a serial killer, he enlists the aid of some eccentric compatriots who vow to rid every library and bookstore of the deadly text before further lives are jeopardized. But what begins as a crusade to save lives soon becomes the ultimate game of cat and mouse, as they uncover the truth about the rhyme and are hunted by the force holding Streator captive.

Newsday hails Palahniuk as "one of the freshest, most intriguing voices to appear in a long time." Richard Poe's powerful narration expertly captures every tormented detail of this paranormal thriller.

©2002 Chuck Palahniuk (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Hilarious satire." (Publishers Weekly)
"Outrageous, darkly comic fun of the sort you'd expect from Palahniuk." (Kirkus Reviews)
"In his last novel, Choke, Palahniuk proved he could write a best seller without sacrificing his trademark biting satire. And in Lullaby, he manages an even more impressive feat by showing himself capable of tenderness as well as outrage." (Booklist)
"This is vintage Palahniuk: weird, creepy, twisted, upsetting, and ultimately a great read for anyone who wants to be scared for pleasure." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Palahniuk's New Hit

Again, Chuck Palahniuk skirts the border of genius versus insanity. "Lullaby" is a spellbinding journey through America, for control. Much more of an action adventure, than the title lets on; this book follows a man, Carl Streator, in his quest to control himself, his companions and the "Big Brother" of our world.

Following the same style of writing as "Fight Club" and "Survivor" Palahniuk fills this book with bits of information that make "Lullaby" consistently interesting, and enhances the story. The audio selection is well read and easy to understand.

Final Point; Great story that I couldn't stop! If you liked any other of Palahniuk's work, then this is a definite read! ~ Enjoy

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 07-22-05

My first excursion into Palahniuk Country

...except for the film version of "Fight Club", which I thoroughly enjoyed and which had people everywhere telling me, "But you GOTTA read the BOOK!" Somehow I never did - maybe because no one would surrender their copy.

"Lullabye" from Audible seemed like a painless way to experience a new author, and having now done so, I'm reminded of a reviewer of Richard Brautigan's novels in the late 1960s, who wrote, "Someday, people will no longer be said the write 'novels' - instead they will write 'Brautigans'."

"Lullabye" is the first "brautigan" I've read in decades, and a fine example it is. Inventive and intense, it might be easy for the un-brautiganized reader to fret about the dangerous world Chuck P. has created, which writhes and pulses in your hands like the fresh meat it really, really is. Not to worry, Gentle Reader, you can trust this man. He's a professional.

I'm glad that ALL writers aren't like Chuck Palahniuk, but I very, very happy that HE is.

PS: Very nicely read for the Audible version, too. The perfect tone, which can't have been easy to find, or maintain.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linsey
  • BRANDON, FL, USA
  • 04-27-05

Better than Diary

And I didn't think I could like an audiobook better than Diary! What a terrific book--I wanted to pull the car over about 100 times to jot down some great line to remember. CP never disappoints!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • Gaston, OR, United States
  • 10-30-07

No middle ground

I'm pretty sure that Chuck Palahniuk is not an acquired taste. You'll know within the first couple of pages of any of his books or stories whether you like his work or hate it. I'm in the former category. If you are easily offended, stay away from his writing. Like his other books, this one starts out with a premis so unsettling and bizarre (death induced by an ancient nursery rhyme) that it's hard to imagine how he might sustain it. But somehow he does - and with style.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 06-18-15

Sad Songs Say So Much.

"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 her 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 ideas. 'Lullaby' is not one of those hobbled novels. And to be fair to Palahniuk, he has now birthed enough solid fiction to deserve much of his cult status. He isn't a Nabokov, a McCarthy or a Roth, but he has developed a solid style and voice that is both recognizable and strong.

'Lullaby' is framed around two protagonists (Carl and Helen) and their "adopted" children (Mona and Oyster). This neo-elementary family is searching for all copies of a culling song found in an anthology of children's poetry and the original book of shadows from whence the Lullaby of death came. This ends up being a road novel where each of the four characters are in search of a different world, a different magic, a different end.

There were times in this novel where Palahniuk's rants against consumerism, pollution, invasive species, noise, etc., all seem in danger of consuming the narrative, but Palahniuk's sharp nimble seems to dance through the anger with the same ease as Carl and Helen dance past the dead.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 10-27-11

Likely to please Palahniuk fans

Love him or hate him, Palahniuk???s books seem to have a common theme. In them, modern culture is cast as something of a terminal malady, a cancer rapidly consuming both the Earth and the original human spirit. For his characters, the only release is through some form of anarchic lashing out.

In Fight Club, it was young men rediscovering their smothered masculinity through basement brawls and acts of civil destruction. Here, the story revolves around a supernatural device, a lullaby hidden in an obscure children???s book that has the power, when read, or even thought, to kill. The book???s oddball protagonists (including two characters dealing, in their own strange ways, with having accidentally killed their own families with the lullaby, and a hilariously obnoxious young vegan nudist) set off on a quest to destroy, through trickery or mayhem, every last copy of the book, but, this being Palahniuk, much consideration is also given to the idea of simply using the lullaby to put modern society out of its misery.

The key to reading Chuck P is to accept that his books are wildly implausible and over-the-top, both in terms of how his characters act and his own reduction of the world. What Palahniuk does do, though, is shove the reader off balance, bombarding them with betcha-didn???t-know-this factoids and a bleakly humorous treatment of dark subject matter. These quotable little nuggets of twisted insight and wit are really what you get for the price of admittance, even more so than the story itself.

Compared to Fight Club, I did find this book a bit chaotic. What plot there is is thin and makes a lot of swift turns, which had me checking my audiobook a few times to see if I???d accidentally missed some piece of information (nope). It may test the patience of non-devotees. But, on the other hand, the chaos are part of the experience and it???s not a long read. All in all, I enjoyed it. Palahniuk is his own institution (in both senses of the word) and a good break from tamer, blander novels.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

See the forest for the trees

Although this book has it's flaws I found it a fun book to listen to in my car going to and from work. I really think that this author has his mind somewhere else other than earth and this book is proof. Everything in this book from the story to the descriptions of events are off-the- wall bizarre. HOWEVER, I have NEVER had so much fun with a book and I look forward to reading more from this guy! Long story short is that the book has it's flaws but it's kind of like a Jackie Chan movie..........terrible but wonderful at the same time!

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • CC
  • 03-15-16

Lullaby... And You Die...

Well no surprises here - this is classic Chuck Palahniuk so it is a combination of fun, weird, disgusting, and just plain crazy. Parts of this made me think that Chuck is a genius and parts made me think this guy is totally insane, but I loved it all the same.

Our narrator is a reporter and learns early on to notice every small detail when reporting on something. He is running a five-part series on SIDS and in his investigations he notices one common denominator - a book of poems. We learn that within this book is a poem that is actually a culling song, which was used in Africa to give a painless death to the old or infirm. Upon making this discovery, the narrator quickly becomes a serial killer using the culling song to kill those who annoy him. He eventually attempts to control his impulses (counting 1, counting 2...) and he sets off with a group of misfits to find all of the copies of this book and destroy page 27.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

starts strong, then doesn't advance very much

Excited by the first chapter, full of possibilities by the end of the first third of the book; but, not much new gets introduced for the remainder. The themes are engaging when first introduced, but gets bland when repeated over and over again. The plot gets too neat, too convenient, too contrived throughout the second half: everything just seems to happen to prove a point instead of having outside motivators (like a morose sitcom).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kathi
  • Loveland, CO, United States
  • 08-03-12

Odd but interestingly unique

Any additional comments?

Okay, so I'd have to say I wasn't crazy about this book when I first listened to it, but strangely it has stuck with me. The premiss of the story is unique - its not everyday that you read about a nursery rhyme that kills people. The characters are not your usual bunch of folks. It's not a typical story, its not very predictable, and it has some pretty weird visuals. I probably wouldn't listen to it again. However that being said I think it would be a fun book for book club.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful