Lullaby (Palahniuk novel)

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Lullaby (2002) is a horror satire novel by Chuck Palahniuk.


  • You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound."
  • No detail is too minor to note.
  • Anymore, no one's mind is their own. You can't concentrate. You can't think. There's always some noise worming in. Singers shouting. Dead people laughing. Actors crying. All these little doses of emotion. Someone's always spraying the air with their mood.
  • Our footsteps echo against the concrete floor. The steel roof hums with rain. And she says, 'Don't you feel, somehow, buried in history?'
  • Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed. He's making sure your imagination withers. Until it's as useful as your appendix. He's making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world.
  • Centuries ago, sailors on long voyages used to leave a pair of pigs on every deserted island. Or they'd leave a pair of goats. Either way, on any future visit, the island would be a source of meat. These islands, they were pristine. These were home to breeds of birds with no natural predators. Breeds of birds that lived nowhere else on earth. The plants there, without enemies they evolved without thorns or poisons. Without predators and enemies, these islands, they were paradise. The sailors, the next time they visited these islands, the only things still there would be herds of goats or pigs. .... Does this remind you of anything? Maybe the ol' Adam and Eve story? .... You ever wonder when God's coming back with a lot of barbecue sauce?
  • Imagine the books burning. And tapes and films and files, radios and televisions, will all go into that same bonfire. All those libraries and bookstores blazing away in the night. People will attack microwave relay stations. People with axes will chop every fiber-optic cable.
  • The muffled thunder of dialogue comes through the walls, then a chorus of laughter. Then more thunder. Most of the laugh tracks on television were recorded in the early 1950s. These days, most of the people you hear laughing are dead.
  • Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    So just relax, Helen Boyle told me, and just enjoy the ride.
    She said, "Even absolute corruption has its perks.
  • The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.
  • There are worse things you can do to the people you love than kill them. The regular way is just to watch the world do it.
  • Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can hurt like hell.
  • Until you deal with your real personal issues, you'll never be able to control yourself.
  • I need to rebel against myself. It's the opposite of following your bliss. I need to do what I most fear.
  • Still, he deserved to die. He called me an asshole.
  • The more people die, the more things stay the same.
  • When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy them, but now they call this free will.
  • Maybe this is why so many serial killers work in pairs. It's nice not to feel alone in a world full of victims or enemies.
  • Her suit is light blue, but it's not a regular robin's-egg blue. It's the blue of a robin's-egg you might find and then worry that it won't hatch because it's dead inside. And then it does hatch, and you worry about what to do next.
  • You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound You don't win with a lot of treble. This isn't about quality. It's about volume. This isn't about music. This is about winning.
  • Sticks and stones will break your bones, but now words can kill, too.
  • You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line, and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword. You dominate. This is really about power.
  • No one wants to admit we're addicted to music. That's just not possible. No one's addicted to music and television and radio. We just need more of it, more channels, a larger screen, more volume. We can't bear to be without it, but no, nobody's addicted. We could turn it off anytime we wanted.
  • This is how we must look to God. As if everything's just fine.
  • You can watch your kids discover everything in the world you've tried to save them from. Drugs, divorce, conformity, disease. All the nice clean books, music, television. Distraction."
  • The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up. The shortcut to closing a door is to bury yourself in the details.
  • The smell tastes like oranges and gasoline.
  • This culling poem is a blessing. Why do you think it was created in the first place? It will save millions of people from the slow terrible death we're headed for from disease, from famine, drought, from solar radiation, from war, from all the places we're headed.
  • Gemstones are the hardest things on earth, but they still break. They can take constant stress and pressure, but a sudden, sharp impact can shatter them into dust.
  • Here's Big Brother, singing and dancing, force-feeding you, so your mind never goes hungry enough to think."
  • In order to save the world, Jesus Christ suffered for about thirty-six hours on the cross. I am willing to suffer an eternity in hell for the same cause.
  • "The best way to waste your life is by taking notes. The easiest way to avoid living is to just watch.
  • These people so scared of silence. These are my neighbors. These sound-oholics. These quiet-ophobics.
  • Either an ancient cursed Egyptian mummy has come back to life and is trying to kill the people next door, or they're watching a movie.
  • This isn't about quality. It's about volume. This isn't about music. This is about winning... You dominate. This is really about power.
  • These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics."
  • Imagine a plague you catch through your ears."
  • A Woman begs someone not to rape her. It's not real. It's just a movie. We're the culture that cried wolf."

External LinksEdit

Encyclopedic article on Lullaby (Palahniuk novel) at Wikipedia

Works by Chuck Palahniuk
  Novels     Fight Club (1996) · Survivor (1999) · Invisible Monsters (1999) · Choke (2001) · Lullaby (2002) · Diary (2003) · Haunted (2005) · Rant (2007) · Snuff (2008) · Pygmy (2009) · Tell-All  
  (2010) · Damned (2011) · Invisible Monsters Remix (2012) · Doomed (2013) · Beautiful You (2014) · Make Something Up (2015)  
  Non‑fiction     Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (2003) · Stranger than Fiction: True Stories (2004)  
  Comic books     Fight Club 2 (2015–2016)  
  Film adaptations     Fight Club (1999) · Choke (2008)  
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