- File Size: 926 KB
- Print Length: 418 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (May 31, 2011)
- Publication Date: May 31, 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0050OLEUG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,632 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Haunted Kindle Edition
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About the Author
CHUCK PALAHNIUK is the author of fourteen novels—Beautiful You, Doomed, Damned, Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Diary, Lullaby, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, and Fight Club—which have sold more than five million copies altogether in the United States. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journey Series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in the Pacific Northwest. Visit him on the web at chuckpalahniuk.net.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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Admittedly, the book from the first chapter made my stomach turn and I almost gave it up. I forced myself to continue. I found that a well woven story developed and I could not put it down. Hmm how would I describe it Alfred Hitchcock meets Stephen King meets Dr. Freud meets Dr. Jung...... and on and on. You get the picture. I do caution that if you don't like to be disturbed nor made to think - - really think about some not-so-nice human behavior don't read this. It aint roses and sunshine, but it will make you really think. Enter at your own risk and enjoy
Haunted is written in a somewhat unusual, at least to me, style. There is an over arching story that frames a collection of short stories, each of which is preceded by a short about one of the characters. The short stories are meant act as a window into the past of each character in the framing story. For me, this style was a bit of a problem. The contextual switches between the short stories kept distracting me. That coupled with the text's graphic content forced me to read the book much more slowly and in much smaller chunks than I would have liked.
My introduction to Haunted was an article on Chuck Palahniuk's site, The Cult, titled The Guts Effect. Guts is the first of the short stories after the opening scenes of the framing story. It does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the book and is by no means the worst of what lay within. I don't know if I can convey to you how horrific this text is without giving too much away.
I'll say it again, fair warning. This is not a book to read if you're having even the slightest hint of stomach troubles.
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For background let me just mention I have been editing professionally for over 20 years, I have edited 85 anthologies, running 10-13 open calls at any one time and have read countless stories. I would say 85% of them were rejected on the basis they did not follow the storyteller's maxim of SHOW DON'T TELL. Guts was all TELL. It was utterly boring. I didn't finish the tedious recital of one person's total idiocy. It is the kind of 'story' you find in cheap confessions magazines. It is not worthy of this author. It wasn't worthy of the boost given to it by the BBC. As for the person who fainted, they were obviously in need of medical attention, it surely had nothing to do with a dull as dishwater story like that.
I think it's time Amazon introduced no stars. It's difficult to even award it a star. It's been a long time since I've disliked something so much, outside of the terrible stories I received at times, that is. Someone thought this worthy of going into print. I have said it before, I will no doubt say it again, I despair at the standards of some editors today.
Thank goodness for Kindle, it's loaded with books worth reading. I had something else to jump to, but I am concerned about the other books I bought on the BBC's recommendation, and am thankful now I didn't buy them all.
I had a rule that I would never buy or read a book on recommendation, it always disappoints. It's happened again and the rule is now firmly in place.
The main plot of the book is a group of people attending a weird artist retreat that turns out to be held in an abandoned and soundproofed theatre. While they are there, they swap stories, which are all full of graphic detail and psychological horror.
Some of the stories were really interesting, such as the one about a married couple making a porn film or the journalist finding a childhood icon in a vet, and some were very graphic and gruesome, such as the first story about Saint Guts-Free. But many of the stories didn't seem to go anywhere or have any sort of point to them.
The unfortunate problem with this set up of alternating real life with stories each chapter is that the plot grinds to a halt. The people in the retreat are horrific people with very selfish motivations, and normally I can enjoy this sort of thing but I found them all to be so terrible that I really didn't care what they did or whether they got out. Some of the things they did to try and wring sympathy from a future audience were twisted and unbelievable but I stopped being interested in what they were doing after a while.
I read another book to have a break from this one, hoping that I would have the drive to return to this book and finish it. Unfortunately, I don't care about finishing this book. Such a shame as it had so much potential.
It's worthy of its reputation for violence but I didn't find it distasteful. Other postmodern horrors I've read have fetishised their violence, piling on lurid descriptions of horror and gore, but Palahniuk is better than that. If it's disgusting it's because he's choosing the best words to create an impact, leaving just the right gaps for your imagination to jump in and do the rest of the work. The infamous "Guts" is likely most transgressive and since it leads the pack you'll know quickly if the book is for you.
Some horrors that try to subvert the classical tradition are a noticeably different reading experience - think Bret Easton Ellis' "American Psycho" or Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves", where you're always conscious that you're reading a book, however admirable or affecting it is. But "Haunted" is involving: you do lose yourself in it. It's a remarkable and unique read, for those with the guts for it.
It started off really promising - plenty of eye-watering gore (in the swimming pool, you'll see if you read it...) but after that...it just became garbled and, well, boring.
"Haunted" is so overhyped, I was expecting it to be packed full of gore and nightmare-inducing dialogue but it fell so flat. I really lost interest, and this is coming from someone who LOVES horror and gore and all things gross.
A few of the short stories are quite intriguing but overall it is not worth the read.
You need to read this. It's made me a fan of his and I can't wait to read the rest of his books.
I felt compelled to wade through it and stuck with it out of sheer determination.After I put the book down I quietly sipped the last of my glass of red wine and tried to give it some thought.
Yes,it is a collection of short stories gelled together with an over-riding 'linking'(?) story.However,the 'linking' story also reads as a series of short stories.
Puzzled? So am I.
All I can say is that this is one of the most satirical,dark,downright weird novels I have ever read.Strangely,it works.
I am fully aware of the furore over 'Guts' but that is not the most disgusting story here.I reserve that honour,on a personal basis, for 'Exodus'.There are others,too,not least in the overall story.Beware of the book's disturbing subject matter and accept that it has to be taken at face value with a very strong stomach.
When I finished,I felt as if I had run a marathon of surprise,emotion and downright turmoil.
Not an easy read and not to everyone's taste.The writing style is literate,succinct and jolting.Not three words that I would normally put together.
Give it a go and,maybe like me,you will come out the other end.
Haunted is not, in case you were wondering, a ghost story - at least, not in any way you'd imagine a ghost story to be. There are certainly no clanking chains and spooky white sheets. Instead, it's a story of psychological ghosts, of pasts coming back to haunt a group of people hoping to create a new future for themselves; and of how the dead never really seem to die.
The first thing that needs to be said is that I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, but this friend ended up a little shocked that it took me so long to tell her what I thought about it. The reason for this is that I lost interest about half-way through, and after a long break had to make myself pick the book back up again and finish it. But I didn't lose interest because it was badly written, or lacked style, or even because it wasn't compelling: it's actually well-written, stylish, and a fairly compelling work of modern literature. The problem with it is that it's structurally repetitive.
Without wanting to give out spoilers, the majority of the book reads as follows:
'Poem' to introduce a character's back story;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story...
And so on, and so on...
After about half-way through the novel, I genuinely found myself in the grip of a paradox: I was engrossed in the story, but at the same time I'd stopped caring, stopped following it. It seemed to be caught in its own literary device, and as such it was going nowhere. Not one of the mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" seemed to be advancing the plot, and as such, while fascinating reading (which often felt a little like morbid rubber-necking), they just started to feel like literary padding. And because there are so many repetitions of the mini-cycles, dealing with such a large array of misfit personalities, it became difficult to form much of an emotional attachment to - or even a rounded mental impression of - any of the characters.
Reflecting on the plot, I also found myself wondering how credible any of it really was. Okay, so it's a psychological drama, and these are never 100% believable, but to get true enjoyment out of it the reader has to willingly suspend all grip on how they might act in similar circumstances. It's difficult to say too much without giving events away, but thinking back on how readily the characters started behaving like they did, I'm not sure any reader would have swallowed it had the writing not been so often irresistable. Some more build-up play would have felt more satisfying.
Something else to note is that while you read how the book is 'original', a word I've seen applied to it a surprisingly large number of times, once you see past the padding you're left with a very old format: a group of people find themselves locked in a creepy dark building, and horrible things start to happen. Perhaps the oldest 'haunting story' in the book.
But the take on it is still different, and what the book tries to say about being human is something you won't find in most similarly-structured tales (regardless of whether you agree with it). The writing is detailed, occasionally truly shocking, and - for all I said about losing interest - the stories within the mini-cycles are never boring.
So what you get with this book is a series of harrowing, engaging, stylish mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" which certainly stay with you long after you've read them, set within an unusual take on an old format, written well, but with a creeping sensation of repetitiveness where, by the nature of its structure, only a couple of the large cast of characters are ever developed sufficiently to make you particularly care.
An odd sort of book, one I'm glad I read, one I enjoy having read, but one which leaves me with a feeling that something leaner, better developed, and more focused on plot than shock, would have been far more fulfilling, far less starved, and far less emasculated.
A cast of individually bizarre, yet wholly believable characters are “imprisoned” for three months on a writers retreat in the hopes of nailing a masterpiece.
Each character tells stories within this story, all being equal parts gross, disturbing and at times incredibly thought provoking.
As retarded “human nature” kicks in things swiftly descend into depravity and chaos.
The book is a narrative of a group of people locked in a house broken up by the stories they tell. The first story guts is probably the most famous causing people to pass out during readings but it is not the best, nor is it the most harrowing. This book will make you work while reading, you will have to fight to finish it and it will leave you with questions but I did enjoy it and it kept me hooked.
So in summary if you are prepared to work at it you will be rewarded with a good read.
This book most certainly isn't for the faint hearted and is pretty full on from the get go (It's not hard to see why so many people have fainted/vomited whilst reading the first short story 'Guts'), but if you can handle it I can guarantee you'll absolutely love this.
This is the first book I've read by Chuck Palahniuk and if i'm going to be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. To put it simply, this really is a fantastic read, and I can't believe that it's taken me this long to start reading his work. Will definately be reading his other offerings. Funny, disgusting, thought provoking and brutally dark. This really is worth a read, and will haunt you for a very, very long time.
The book was shipped quickly (along with my copy of Salem's Lot) and was in perfect condition. Recommend!
Anyone who is interested in 'disturbing' literature should consider buying this book as it is very good within its genre. Although it isn't for the faint hearted or weak-stomached!