Vom Autor des Welterfolgs „Fight Club“.
Mit leiser Stimme gesungen oder nur in Gedanken rezitiert, vermag ein afrikanisches Wiegenlied jeden zu töten, der es hört. Würde dieses Schlaflied durch Radio oder Fernsehen verbreitet, es brächte Millionen von Menschen die ewige Ruhe. Gemeinsam mit drei äußerst unterschiedlichen Mitstreitern, die alle auch ihre ganz eigenen Interessen verfolgen, begibt sich der Reporter Carl Streator auf eine phantastische Reise durch Amerika, um dieser unheimlichen Bedrohung Einhalt zu gebieten …
"I need to rebel against myself. It's the opposite of following your bliss. I need to do what I most fear." Beleaguered reporter Carl Streator is stuck writing about SIDS and grieving for his dead wife and child; he copes by building perfect model homes and smashing them with a bare foot. But things only get worse: Carl accidentally memorizes an ancient African "culling song" that kills anyone he focuses on while mentally reciting it, until killing "gets to be a bad habit." His only friend, Nash, a creepy necrophiliac coroner, amuses himself with Carl's victims. Salvation of a sort comes in the form of Helen Hoover Boyle, a witch making a tidy living as a real estate broker selling and quickly reselling haunted houses. She, too, knows the culling song and finances her diamond addiction by freelancing as a telepathic assassin. Carl and Helen hit the road with Helen's Wiccan assistant, Mona, and her blackmailing boyfriend, Oyster, on a search-and-destroy mission for all outstanding copies of the culling song, as well as an all-powerful master tome of spells, a grimoire. Hilarious satire, both supernatural and scatological, ensues, the subtext of which seems to be Palahniuk's conviction that information has become a weapon ("Imagine a plague you catch through your ears"), and the bizarre love affair between Helen and Carl offers the lone linear thread in a field of narrative flak bursts. But the chief significance of this novel is Palahniuk's decision to commit himself to a genre, and this horror tale of both magic and mundane modernity plants him firmly in a category where previously he existed as a genre of one.