Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
Anchor Books US trade paperback
cover art by Judy Lanfredi
260 pages (left)
Jonathan Cape UK paperback
272 pages (right)
Chuck Palahniuk - Lullaby
(Warning! Some spoilers)
Lullaby is a dark, twisted, disturbing tale about death, power, anger, and maybe love.
Mr. Streator is a newspaper journalist writing a feature on sudden infant death syndrome. He wears a blue tie with a brown suit. He notices the book Poems and Rhymes from Around the World at homes where a child has died. Around twenty years ago, Streator read a lullaby to his wife and baby daughter, and the next morning they were dead. The poem, or lullaby, is eight lines long and is on page 27 of Poems and Rhymes from Around the World. It's an old African poem about animals going to sleep; it's a culling song. These words not only hurt, they kill! Lethal verbiage.
Helen Hoover Boyle is a real estate agent. She has pink hair and wears jewels to match her tailored outfits. She's selling a number of houses over and over, gaining commission each time, houses no one can live in because they are haunted. Of course she doesn't warn potential buyers. When upset new homeowners complain of a phantom baby crying or blood running down walls, she tells them to keep quiet or the bad publicity will make the house impossible to resell.
Streator learns that Helen had a baby son who died around 20 years ago, and her husband died a year later without cause. Recently a couple that infuriated Helen by saying they wanted to demolish the haunted mansion Helen sold them instead of letting Helen resell it died suddenly. Helen knows of and utilizes the culling song.
Streator knows the culling song too. He killed his editor testing it. He can barely keep the culling song from running through his mind. He has killed numerous people unintentionally. Streator seeks Helen for help. Helen's young secretary Mona Sabbat, who has red and black dreadlocks, invites Streator to come to a Wiccan practitioners' ritual to learn to control the culling song. Mona is a witch, but a soft-spoken one. At Mona's coven party, Helen and Streator meet Oyster, Mona's hippie asshole boyfriend, who has an axe to grind with modern society.
Unfortunately a paramedic named Nash learned of the existence of the culling song from Streator. Nash found a copy, and is using it so he can have post mortem sex with beautiful models.
Streator wants to destroy every copy of the culling song. Helen knows that Poems and Rhymes from Around the World had a printing of 500 copies, and between them they have already eliminated over 300 copies. Helen, Streator, Mona, and Oyster, travel around the country looking for the remaining copies of the book. Meanwhile the police are looking for Streator for questioning. They also search for the original source of the culling song, a grimoire, a witch's Book of Shadows, which contains more spells. Helen hopes to resurrect her cryogenically frozen son. Mona hopes to find a flying spell. Once they discover and translate the grimoire, they each have conflicting plans. With, among other things, an occupation spell, weirdness ensues.summary written by
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given