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Haunted: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted: A Novel (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Chuck Palahniuk

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5,731120740 (3.41)103
Title:Haunted: A Novel
Authors:Chuck Palahniuk
Info:Anchor (2006), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@wishlist: to read

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Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk (2005)

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Found at the local town dump to which it will be returned. I made it more than half way through because there were some amusing points. Overall though, way too scattered, too many characters, too gross.... etc. etc. Life is short, moving on to something better. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Nov 2, 2015 |
Two things are sure. One: Palahnuik is crazy and, two: he's a frakkin' genius. This book is a collection of short stories written-told by a company of writers, locked in a house somewhere, whilst the insanity triumphing amongst them. Disturbing, outrageous page-turner, a true Palahniuk book. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Jul 14, 2015 |
I wouldn't call this a novel. It's a novella, at best, that creates a setting for the characters within the novella to tell their short stories. Frankly, this would have been a better book if was just a collection of short stories without the bullshit novella that ties them all together. It doesn't need that connection. The short stories have nothing to do with the novella that is intertwined. Most of the time, I found myself skipping, or skimming most of the novella, and just reading the sort stories. Because, the short stories were mostly quite insane and interesting to read. The novella was boring as fuck. Sure, they had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive, but who gives a fuck? All of those characters are useless assholes, who deserve to get eaten anyway.

So, yea. This book is completely fucked in the head. I'm pretty sure the author was on acid when he wrote this shit. I'm glad I read it, for the completely fucked up bits, but I'm still pissed off that I had to wade through the bullshit of that novella just to get to the good short story bits.

3/5, just for the redeeming fucked up bits. But seriously, fuck novellas. Fuck 'em in their dirty assholes. Unless they're really good. Then, fuck them in their dirty assholes with a bit of spit for lube. ( )
  gecizzle | Mar 5, 2015 |
In order to understand this book, it helps to know a little about its genesis. Haunted began its existence as a collection of short stories, but collections don't sell so well and Palahniuk wanted to receive maximum return for his investment. By incorporating in a novella he had been working on as a framing narrative, he was able to release the book as a novel and ensure better sales.

The best way to read the book is as a short story collection, which the publisher has made easy for the reader to do. Turn to the back page. There you'll see a list of all the short stories. You can read them in order, or just hop around as you would with any other short story collection.

These aren't all winners, which is generally true of short story collections, but there are some real gems.

The best is probably the Cassandra sequence, which includes "The Nightmare Box," a nice Twilight Zone-style tale of confronting the unnameable. It's one of the few stories that dips into the supernatural, as Palahniuk prefers finding the frightening or weird in the everyday.

The most infamous story is "Guts," in which a teen has an unfortunate incident at the bottom of a pool. It has a tense, sickening claustrophobia that shows the full potential of Palahniuk's take on horror. Though not all of the stories are quite so visceral, most manage a twisted idea or two, sometimes used to humorous effect.

"Speaking Bitterness" involves a women's support group where things take an odd turn, and recalls Shirley Jackson's tales of the terror that lurks beneath the domestic. "Civil Twilight," about a city threatened by a seemingly invisible monster, creates a convincing atmosphere of dread, but unfortunately the end is a little weak, as if the author got bored with writing a horror story. "Dissertation," though a little on the talky side, is an interesting twist on the werewolf legend. "Crippled" finds the narrator trapped in a shed as a woman he's been spying on plots how best to get rid of him.

There's admittedly a few duds. "Swan Song," about a journalist on the outs trying to score a big story, isn't scary or tense at all, and its anti-journalism stance is so one-sided it could have been ghostwritten by Dean Koontz. "Evil Spirits" has an interesting variation on the killer plague concept, but Palahniuk's style is so at odds with the way that the narrator (a very sheltered 22-year old woman) would speak that I felt jarred out of the story. "Ambition," about an artist who figures out how to get his paintings into museums, starts strong but sort of fritters away into a half-hearted satire on the art world.

Once you've read all of the stories, you can go back and read the novella and the "poetry." (I write it in scare quotes, because Palahniuk is of the "it's poetry because the formatting is all different" school of poetry. The book may start with an epigraph from Edgar Allen Poe, but Palahniuk has no interest in naughty rotten rhyming.) The "poetry" is mostly inoffensive if forgettable.

As to the novella, well, the premise is that the characters are all the narrators of the collected stories. They end up locked in a building, telling each other their various stories. It sounds like an intriguing set-up, but unfortunately this is the weakest part of the book.

It's clear Palahniuk banged it out in a hurry. It's lazily written, terribly sloppy and lacking Palahniuk's usual sense of headlong pace. Gone, too, are the sometimes fascinating characters that populate his fiction, replaced by complete cartoons with nothing in the way of personalities or plausible motivations. Palahniuk compensates by upping the shock value but in a way that quickly becomes tedious. (Unlike in the stories, where the outre elements tend to be more effective.)

I know I'd rather pick up a good short story collection than a mediocre novel, which is why I strongly recommend starting with the stories. ( )
  CarlosMcRey | Jan 3, 2015 |
Being a huge Palahniuk fan, I'll just have to say I'm very disappointed in this book. It has the typical amusing-ness I've come to love but there just isn't much holding the book together. Next. ( )
  imaginationzombie | Sep 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 117 (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.

(summary from another edition)

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