Lullaby – About the Blessing of Silence
What if songs could kill? You sing a good night song to your wife in the evening and she wouldn’t wake up the next morning?
What if such a song became known?
Imagine a world where every sound sung can be a deadly threat, where a single radio broadcast can take thousands away. A world the police patrol to keep people from singing and to keep them calm.
Carl Streator is a journalist, and he hates the noise that surrounds him, the noise of turned-up televisions, and car stereo systems drowning in the engine. While researching an article about sudden child death, he discovers a songbook well known to him – on page 27 it contains a Merz song, an African song that makes the listener sleep forever. Streator researched that it was used by ancient cultures to decimate tribal size in times of famine and drought or to relieve sick and wounded warriors of their suffering.
The song is not unknown to the journalist. Many years ago he unsuspectingly sang it to his wife and child to fall asleep. So from one day to the next he was suddenly suspected of murder, went into hiding and henceforth called himself Carl Streator. During his research, he meets the broker Helen Hoover Boyle. It sells haunted houses where buyers can not stand it for more than half a year and flee to sell it again, over and over again. In addition, she dismantles antiquarian furniture in warehouses into worthless individual parts, which she then buys cheaply and reassembles into valuable antiques. Boyle also knows the Merzlied, she and Streator share a similar fate.
Together with Boyle’s employee Mona and her friend Oyster, both followers of occult practices, Boyle and Streator make their way across America to track down all copies of the songbook and destroy them on page 27. But that can only be the first step because the songbook only contains a copy of the song; the original comes from the so-called Grimoire, a spell collection of witchcraft.
It is clear to all of them that they also have to find the grimoire, but there is controversy about what should happen next: Streator believes that it must be destroyed to prevent anyone from releasing the powers it contains and thereby causing great harm. Oyster wants to use the book to create a better world, and Boyle wants to use it to use a counter-spell to bring her son, who was cold asleep after the song of the Merzlied, back to life. But what they all don’t know is that they found the grimoire long ago.
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Even if it reads like the synopsis of a typical fantasy or horror genre novel: Lullaby is far from it. With his current novel, Chuck Palahniuk has once again created a bitterly evil company satire, seasoned with a good dose of tension and unique black humour, which prepares punch lines long and often culminates in absurd notions, such as that of guerrilla war to destroy company images by means of newspaper advertisements. He skillfully contrasts the story of the Merz song with a media-flooded world in which there are hardly any moments of silence, in which everyone screams louder to drown out the others and make themselves heard. A great novel – contemporary, critical and entertaining!
About the author: Chuck Palahniuk was born in 1962 and is of French-Russian descent, he now lives in America. He became known to a larger audience primarily through the filming of his debut novel “Fight Club” by David Fincher with Brad Pitt and Eduard Norton in the leading roles.