... an ugly and compelling look at the horror and violence lurking beneath the veneer, illustrating the notion that we never really comprehend what people are capable of – even those we think we know ... Some of that might ring a little vague, which is very much by design – many of the plot specifics in The Invention of Sound will be far more effective without prior knowledge. Fret not, because you’ll be dropped into the unsettling viscerality of it all very quickly and you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to experience it without expectation ... As per usual with Palahniuk, things get a little queasy from time to time. He has never shied away from ideas and imagery designed to churn the stomach and chill the blood; The Invention of Sound finds plenty of opportunities for the author to indulge his talents and affinities for that kind of challenging evocation. And those talents are considerable – his tight-yet-florid writing style allows him to create these moments of intense unpleasantness without numbing his audience or descending into schlock. No one crafts splatter quite like Chuck Palahniuk ... is gross and weird and meta and darkly funny – the kind of work we’ve come to expect from Pahlaniuk. Smart and subversive, the book manages to take aim at some of the author’s familiar targets and maintain the old transgressive energy while also bringing something new to the table. A fast read that nevertheless lingers in the consciousness.
The good news is that The Invention of Sound harks back to the Chuck Palahniuk who wrote spiky, gruesome, satirical works like Choke, Survivor, and Haunted. Mitzi’s perfect scream, amplified by anyone who hears it and reducing cinemas across America to rubble, is an inspired idea that recalls the Monty Python sketch 'The Funniest Joke in the World'. It allows Palahniuk the opportunity to take a swipe at Hollywood, including the jaded producers who hire Mitzi because her work elevates their shitty films, never questioning how she produces screams that are so authentic; or the Academy who ridiculously nominate Mitzi’s recording for 'Best Sound,' not because it’s good but because 'the industry needed to prove they hadn’t launched a horror flick that had already smashed dead with concrete almost three thousand teenagers.' ... The Invention of Sound, like many of Palahniuk’s earlier novels, is about broken people who exist on the fringes of society. What I found surprising is that Palahniuk is kind to Mitzi and Foster. Don’t get me wrong; they’re not likeable, and they both do awful things, but you can understand how they became the people they are.
...inventive, lacerating satire ... Palahniuk expertly balances skewering of cultural institutions with profound insights into the nature of authenticity and the myriad ways we become damaged. The sheer abundance of creative ideas buoyed aloft by the vibrancy of the prose signal a master storyteller energized by delight in his own ingenuity.
... a twisted story of judgement and revenge ... Skipping around from character to character, Palahniuk creates not so much a third-person multiple narrative, or an omnisciently told tale, as a mosaic of story, with each voice connected through a common thread of anger, despair, and a deep-seated need to know how the worst parts of their lives came to pass ... The surreal nature of Palahniuk’s world takes the reader along for a distorted journey, where the guides feel unreliable and the sickening nature of events preys on the imagination like driving past a car crash. Not wanting to look, yet unable to look away, Palahniuk invites us to perform a fictional re-enactment of the very crimes he accuses Hollywood of perpetrating ... Like trying to stay upright in quicksand, Palahniuk keeps his readers guessing as to how the threads will come together at the end. While certain elements appear obvious—even from the beginning—nothing can be taken for granted ... Deft with prose, inventive with structure, and gruesome in his delivery, Palahniuk’s latest will no doubt test some readers’ stomachs, while simultaneously guaranteeing him a brand-new batch of faithful followers.
Palahniuk dives deep into Hollywood noir with a grotesque and outrageous stand-alone that marries the sexual deviance of Snuff...with the late-stage sadism of Bret Easton Ellis ... Palahniuk thrusts us into the demented world of one Mitzi Ives, a pill-popping, masochistic, borderline psychotic woman whose specialty in her profession as a freelance Foley artist is capturing the screams of people in the worst agony of their lives ... You have to give Palahniuk credit, because there’s just nobody like him when it comes to skeeving out readers, but as in many of his nihilist fancies, there’s nobody to root for here ... Palahniuk is an acquired taste, and fans will appreciate the story that scrapes like fingernails on a chalkboard and the familiar post-capitalism end-of-the-world vibe, but it might be a little too close for comfort for less amenable readers ... A Hollywood fantasy that’s all about hurt until the very end, which is so much worse.
Palahniuk ...puts a wickedly playful spin on the mechanics of horror filmmaking in this genre-bending novel .. This dark, humorous tale sparkles with inventive details—including a scream powerful enough to crumble buildings—and provocative insights on 'the commodification of pain' and what it means to turn 'people’s basic humanity into something that could be bought and sold.' The result is a wry, devilish delight.