Short Review #24: The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk (2020)

Rating: 3 out of 5 ⭐️
Title: The Invention of Sound: A Novel
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Published: 2020 (Grand Central Publishing, New York)
Pages: 229 (Hardcover)
Genres: Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Adult, Contemporary
CW: Ages 18+ Only, Sex, Violence, Child Death, Strong Language, References to Child Molestation
Link Here

My borrowed copy of The Invention of Sound next to a cup of hot apple cider

I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend so far! Mine has been filled with too much hot apple cider (not complaining though). To celebrate such an American holiday, I finished a book by an author that has used his writing in the past to formulate satire about American societal culture. I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s writing. He’s written such globally popular books, he has made some good points about culture, his set ups are scathing, and he’s formed excellent and twisted story lines. And a few books have been turned into movies. But his writing is what gets me. It feels like he’s rushing through his books, and the writing feels messy. Definitely my opinion only, and this doesn’t get better in his newest release, The Invention of Sound.

Since the dawn of films when young women had been tied to railroad tracks and tied to logs sent into huge sawmill blades, Hollywood had never lacked new ways to take pretty girls apart” – Chuck Palahniuk, The Invention of Sound

I was really skeptical about the plot, but honestly I ended up liking the execution in the end. The novel centers around two perspectives: Gates Foster, a father who lost his 7 year old daughter Lucinda a long time ago who is obsessed with finding out what happened to her, along with trying to punish child molesters everywhere. And Mitzi Ives, a young, reserved Foley artist who creates screams for movies by taking over her father’s business. Her screams are in high demand in Hollywood, and sound a little too realistic…

Taco Tuesday. Only in prisons and aboard submarines were people more excited about food than they were in office jobs” – Chuck Palahniuk, The Invention of Sound

Of course, their stories connect and the book’s ending is in true Palahniuk fashion. I think if I was a bigger Palahniuk fan, I would like this book more. But the plot, for being incredibly basic sounding, was executed really well and I looked forward to what happened next. The perspectives between Mitzi and Foster change very quickly (sometimes paragraph to paragraph) back and forth. But I found I was still able to follow along. Full of 18+ subject matter including violence and a lot of sex, I wouldn’t read this unless you are an adult, for sure. Even though his books are very good, I do find him a bit overrated due to his major success with publications like Fight Club.

‘A major trait of psychopaths,’ she explained, ‘is that they don’t yawn when people around them yawn. Psychopaths don’t feel empathy. They lack the mirror neurons’” – Chuck Palahniuk, The Invention of Sound (Side note: this is actually true, I fact checked it here)

When I read Chuck Palahniuk, I imagine him writing in a dingy basement somewhere in a large city on some type of drug or too much coffee on a typewriter. I even found a few blatant grammar errors, but I’m hoping it was on purpose… It might have been. Anyways, why should you read this book? If you like Chuck Palahniuk’s writing or enjoy fast-paced thrillers about questionable and risque subject matter full of violence and redemption, this is the book for you.

I give this one a 3 out of 5!


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