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WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

 A 2002 novel by Chuck Palahniuk.


Carl Streator is your run-of-the-mill reporter, if a bit passive aggressive. When assigned to a story concerning several recent cases of babies suddenly dying, he seems to find a pattern in every house: the book Poems and Rhymes Around the World, turned to page 27. Upon further inspection, he finds that all of the children have been read something called a culling song...

When he finds himself unconsciously using the song to kill people, Carl realizes he needs to find all copies of the poem and destroy them. As he investigates, he comes across a strange realtor, Helen Hoover Boyle, who seems to know something about the song. Along with her nature-loving Wiccan secretary, Mona and her eco-terrorist boyfriend, Oyster, the two go on a quest to destroy the culling song and its source, the Grimoire.

Tropes found in this work:

  • Animal Wrongs Group: Oyster and whoever follows him. Really, he's enough.
  • Arc Words / Catch Phrase: "These ____ophobics. These _____oholics."
    • "And I'm counting 1, counting 2, counting 3..."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Carl, Carl, Carl.
  • Brown Note: The entire book revolves around one.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: Once Nash gets a hold of the culling song, he uses it to kill supermodels and have sex with their corpses.
    • There's also the more tragic case of Carl having sex with his wife without realizing he's unwittingly killed her.
  • Evil Plan: Helen has a sort of ongoing one with her business:

 1. Find houses in which horrible crimes have occurred.

2. Send Mona over there to 'exorcise' the house, which somehow traps vengeful spirits.

3. Sell said houses to people.

4. Wait for her customers to call her with complaints of bloody hands and screaming ghosts.

5. Buy back houses.

6. Repeat.

7. ???


  • Grand Theft Me
  • Granola Girl: Mona
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Oyster
  • Non Indicative First Chapter: First there's the prologue, which deals with two characters who will not be introduced for several chapters. Then there's the actual first chapter, which sees Carl teamed together with a crusty old cop tracking a flying lady. It makes sense...eventually.
  • Not So Different: Nash tries pulling this on Carl, in regards to the accidental post mortem intercourse Carl had with his wife
    • Carl muses to himself about how the public would react to the knowledge a culling song exists.
  • Rich Bitch: Helen