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Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted (2005)

by Chuck Palahniuk

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Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
A captivating but thoroughly disgusting read. Not for the faint of heart or stomach. ( )
  mlmarks98 | May 13, 2017 |
Ugh, this was a major slog-fest to get through, and I barely did (if it wasn't my OCD for never finishing a book I start). I just couldn't relate to a single character, or the "storyline premise".

Really, this was a vehicle for Palahniuk to do a bit of short-fiction and make a short-fiction collection, and interweave it with "poems" (ie. just lines written in his [now overused and bad] style, and formatted like poems/poetry), and with some inter-novel like sections to make it all seem somewhat cohesive.

So the running background plot to link the short-stories is just horrible and stupid and SAW does it about 10000 times better. On top of this, the characters are completely worthless, emotionless, plot vehicles, that do stupid things for stupid reasons, and everything feels so contrived, just to do what he wants the plot to do. His linking and framing them is just bad, and when you get some short stories that are supposed to be by/or/about certain characters, none of them ring true, their all written the same, all with that Palahniuk prose. Which - either as I'm getting older --or-- from reading too much of his work, I'm realizing is just bad. (I am also so sick of his throwing in random 'facts' to try and seem like a know-it-all on topics, especially since the facts are completely 100% BS and he's even admitted that he makes them up, and that that's not the point, and that in fictional novels {like this} its ok to make up random facts to insert into novels and act as if they are facts - in the framework of a novel. In my opinion, that's just trash, and trash writing.)

None of the short stories are that compelling or interesting or even fun to read. Their mostly just slop and schlock and 'envelope pushing' to just see how much gore or disgusting or revolting things he can put on the page to get you to go "OMG WOWZERZ!!~~!!!". It's 80s and 90s style radio shock-jock crap, like a Howard Stern transcript in novel fiction form.

I think I am truly and well over Palahniuk. Fight Club was good for it's time, Survivor was good, Choke was good. Rant was a fun and interesting novel even in the later Chuck era (and actually might be my favorite of his). But his style is so over-played out, so poor, and overall its just so grinding. So many of his novels have now just become horrible stories and poor writing that I can barely read them (and its not the material, its the story/plot and the writing). Almost all of his newer novels are just downright dreadful plot/story/writing (Tell-All, Pygmy, Damned/Doomed, Beautiful You,etc.).

Time to retire Chuck Palahniuk I feel for good. ( )
  BenKline | Nov 15, 2016 |
This was weird, but entertaining. ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
"Nobody calls Michaelangelo the Vatican's bitch", says the Duke of Vandals
just because he begged Pope Julius for work

The Duke onstage, his scruffy jaw, scrub brush with pale stubble,
it goes round and round, kneading and grinding
a wad of nicotine gum.
His gray sweatshirt and canvas pants are flecked with dried raisings of red, dark-red,
yellow, blue and green, brown, black and white paint

His hair tumbles behind him, a tangle of brass wire, tarnished dark with oil
and dusted with sticky flakes of dandruff.

Onstage instead of spotlight, a movie fragment:
a slide show of portraits and allegories, still lifes and landscapes.
All of this ancient art, it uses his face, his chest, his stocking feet in sandals
as a gallery wall."

The Duke of Vandals he says "No one calls Mozart a corporate whore"
Because he worked for the archbishop of Salzburg
After that, then wrote the Magic Flute
wrote Eine kleine Nachtmusik
Paid by trickle-down cash from Giuseppe bridi and his big-money silk industry.
Nor do we call Leonardo da vinci a sellout,
a tool, because he slopped paint for gold from Pope Leo X and Lorenzo de Medici
"No," says the Duke, "We look at the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa
And never know who paid the bills to create them"
What matters, he says, is what the artist leaves behind, the artwork
Not how you paid the rent."

"For Hire" - Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted is a collection of increasingly grim and horrifying personal stories and poems, as an isolated writers-retreat becomes a horrifying journey into darkness, despair and the search for personal fame. Each character in the book presents his poem and his riveting backstory in turn. Palahniuk skillfully turns up the tension piece by piece as the story descends into madness. ( )
  Patrik_Axelsson | Sep 13, 2016 |
It would be naive to say that the graphic nature of this novel isn't one of its major draws, and that upsets a lot of people, understandably. Not everyone is into the weird, gross, and macabre. If you can handle it however, or are even-*gasp*-intrigued by the darker recesses of humanity, Haunted is a wonderful novel.

The framing story is enough to pique interest if you've not already heard of the novel for its short stories. A group of people, all different, most never identified by their real names, answer an ad for a writer's retreat out away from their lives and the rest of civilization for three months so they can focus their entire energy on producing their life's work.

Things, of course, aren't all they're cracked up to be, and the writers soon figure this out. Minor spoiler: Instead of banding together to formulate a plan to escape, they engage in self-sabotage, finding ways to make their already bad situation even worse, in the hopes that they will be rescued by some unknown entity, and their made-up story on how they were kidnapped, starved, and mutilated will generate enough buzz to make them all famous and soon production studios will be lining up to purchase the film rights.

While the writers don't ever do much writing during the framing chapters, each give way to a poem about a certain character and a short story by them. It's usually never clear when the story was written, and some are even just recited by the character telling it, but by that time you'll have realized that the actual writing process of these characters isn't the point, and never was.

None of the characters sound too different from each other in the way Chuck writes their stories, so some may understandably have an issue with that, but if you latch onto the increasingly sick and depraved stories these characters tell, you won't mind. You'll be wondering what awful story someone will tell next. It's more morbid satisfaction to me than meaningful literature, but I'm perfectly okay with that. They're all well-written, interesting, and so certifiably Chuck Palahniuk that I enjoyed this novel immensely.

My favorite of the short stories include the infamous Guts, that will make you pucker right up, Mrs. Clark's trilogy of stories surrounding The Nightmare Box, the horrifying and oddly sweet Exodus, the absurd Civil Twilight, and the graphic Hot Potting.

Don't miss this if you're an envelope-pushing Palahniuk fan, a fan of horror, or the absurd. Those aren't the only qualities this book has to offer, but don't kid yourself if they don't make it a little more morbidly exciting. ( )
  TheTylex | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Palahniuk's always been hammy, but in the past, speedster plots and glossy prose salvaged the sitcom shallowness. Here, Haunted's wonky framing device tries to hold together 23 tales (and 21 accompanying poems) that would've best been served without garnish.
If books had aromas, this one would reek of "old potatoes melting into a black puddle under the kitchen sink."
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First words
This was supposed to be a writer's retreat. It was supposed to be safe.

An isolated writer's colony, where we could work,
run by an old, old dying man named Whittier,
until it wasn't.

And we supposed to write poetry. Pretty poetry.
This crowd of us, his gifted students,
locked away from the ordinary world for three months.
The difference between how you look and how you see yourself is enough to kill most people. (Mrs. Clark in “Post Production: A Story by Mrs. Clark")
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385509480, Hardcover)

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: Twenty-three of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you’ll ever encounter—sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined “Writers’ Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months,” and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of “real life” that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But “here” turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theater where they are utterly isolated from the outside world—and where heat and power and, most important, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more extreme the stories they tell—and the more devious their machinations become to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/nonfiction blockbuster that will surely be made from their plight.

Haunted is on one level a satire of reality television—The Real World meets Alive. It draws from a great literary tradition—The Canterbury Tales, The Decameron, the English storytellers in the Villa Diodati who produced, among other works, Frankenstein—to tell an utterly contemporary tale of people desperate that their story be told at any cost. Appallingly entertaining, Haunted is Chuck Palahniuk at his finest—which means his most extreme and his most provocative.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Twenty-three stories chronicle the experiences of people who have answered an ad for an artist's retreat, believing that they will find a peaceful refuge, only to find themselves isolated and trapped in a cavernous old theater.

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