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Haunted | [Chuck Palahniuk]

Haunted

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 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.

©2005 Chuck Palahniuk; (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[The stories] consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (624 )
5 star
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3.5 (250 )
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Story
3.9 (244 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Cynthia Greensboro, NC, USA 05-23-05
    Cynthia Greensboro, NC, USA 05-23-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must for Chuck fans . . ."

    . . . because we have the stomach for it. After reading the reviews I have to wonder if they have ever read any of his other books. I mean really . . . no one who has read Choke, Fight Club or Lullaby could say that this book is stomach tuning. I only gave Haunted 4 stars because it lacks the flow of his previous works (Stranger than Fiction excluded). It's choppy in parts and briefly slow. It is however, a cunning way to package your short stories in an original setting. I read "Guts" when it was first published and am happy to see it surface in this collection. If you love Chuck, you'll love this book, but if you're a Koonts/Bush fan it will probably be more than your mind cand handle.

    R.I.P. H.S.T. 7/18/37 to 2/20/05

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva Hardinsburg, IN, United States 08-19-12
    Eva Hardinsburg, IN, United States 08-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Oddly thought provoking"
    If you could sum up Haunted in three words, what would they be?

    This is hard, three words.......I guess I'd have to stay with the headline. Oddly Thought Provoking!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the huge variations that always end up bringing you to the same place.


    Who was the most memorable character of Haunted and why?

    I was prepared for grossness, I was prepared for vileness to an extent that I had never seen before (yep I read the reviews lol). I wasn't prepared however for the thought provoking nature of some of the stories. It does have some elements of disgustingness, There are some stories that made me quite uncomfortable at times. I had to shake my head at some of the things that were going on. However at the end of the day what I walked away with was thoughful reflection. Partly because some of the stuff is so out there that you have to wonder if there are people like that in the world. You always come around to yes unfortunatly.....at least I did. Partly because the stories, make you think about the depth of people's hate for themselves, for each other and society. You almost find yourself hoping that you can find some redeeming factor in these people and their stories. I found myself asking.......Did they get what they deserved? Or is it a case of these people were so mentally unstable and desprately looking for something they were willing to accept anything. If you don't mind being uncomfortable and a little grossed out and alot stunned at the depths of depravity these characters show you will enjoy this book. If you prefer something a little lighter for an afternoon of quiet then you probably won't. I do not agree that this book is not for people who read Koontz and Patterson as one review read. I read both of those authors as well as this one. I do think it's important that you keep it in perspective for what it is. Take it out for a spin, do some thinking on it. I am sure that you'll walk away with a different perspective than you started with.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaimie Platteville, WI United States 07-17-12
    Jaimie Platteville, WI United States 07-17-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Had Potential... Until It Didn't"

    The book itself is a great concept, a collection of short stories built into a larger story. While the short stories are engaging and true to the darker side of human nature, the main story is terrible. It's as if the author were really struggling to tie the short stories to the main one, which shouldn't have been a problem given the majority are themed very similarly. Also, I enjoy a story that shocks me, but the majority of the main story is written solely for shock value. And while I don't mind the absence of a clear cut good vs. evil theme, in every story that captures and holds a reader's attention there must be a positive outcome that can at least be hoped for. This story has nowhere to go,and the reader finds his or her self not caring about the outcome. I have even tried to look at this book purely from a satirical stand point, but ultimately it makes the book no better.
    If you were considering this book because you enjoy gothic horror try "Let Me In" by John Lindqvist.
    "Twentieth Century Ghosts" by Joe Hill is a great collection of short stories for those looking for gothic/horror short stories.
    If you were looking for a book depicting the darker side of human nature read "Needful Things" by Stephen King. It's not as edgy, but a great story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John K Stratmann 04-06-06 Member Since 2001
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    "Disturbing but pointless"

    I'll cut to the chase here. This book is everything the other reviewers say when they use terms like 'disturbing' etc. in terms of the images it leaves one with. More importantly, is what this book is not. It is not engrossing. It is not captivating. It is not a book I felt like telling anyone else to read it so we could share the experience and talk about it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edmund Lake Worth , FL, USA 08-11-05
    Edmund Lake Worth , FL, USA 08-11-05
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    "Not for the fainthearted"

    Well read, well written and horrific in the stomach churning sense, but sometimes you just have to turn it off and take a breath...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The B0lt New Hampshire, USA 12-16-07
    The B0lt New Hampshire, USA 12-16-07 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome!"

    This author is sick, twisted, extremely funny and disturbing all at the same time! I enjoyed this book very much. It isn't for the faint-hearted in terms of overt sexuality and other wonderfully lude subject matter.

    The narrators complimented the story very well. I won't give too much away, but olderly-sounding women discussing oral gratification makes me giggle ... Loudly!

    A dark, wonderfully awful tale of how rotten humans can be!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Baldwin City, KS, USA 08-04-05
    Rachel Baldwin City, KS, USA 08-04-05
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    "haunting, indeed"

    Previous reviewers have commented on the extremely graphic nature of this book, so I'll not belabor the point here. I will add that, as a pathology student who's assisted at autopsies, studied all manner of gross things, and not exactly a wilting violet, I was extremely disturbed by some of the stories in this book. Also, if you were bothered by the free download of "Exodus," you should not listen to this book under any circumstances, even if you find yourself trapped at a mysterious writer's workshop with a bunch of folks hell-bent on self destructing. "Exodus" is a children's bedtime story compared to much of "Haunted".

    That having been said, I'm glad I listened to this to the end. "Haunted" is well-written and well performed. The short stories intertwine to form a larger, and increasingly compelling, narrative about the lives of the trapped characters. In the first volume, there were a couple of stories so revolting I decided to stop listening; but I found myself so involved with the overarching story that I ultimately ended up listening to the last 3 hours straight through. Very good storytelling.
    Three gripes, unrelated to Palahnuik's gory prose: 1) Palahnuik can be very preachy, and beats his philosophic points until they're black and blue as one of his characters. While he's a good storyteller, Palahnuik can have a tin ear for parable, and the philosophy does not bear this repetition well. 2) Palahnuik overuses some constructions (e.g. "Still" to introduce a sentence), making different characters sound too similar. 3) Palahnuik gets important factual details wrong. This wouldn't be so bad, were it not for Palahnuik's careful correctness on closely related facts--showing that Palahnuik cared enough to do his homework, but is willing to dispense with any realities inconvenient to his storytelling. This is a sin that Palahnuik's creation Mr. Whittier would not tolerate, so I don't see why his real readers should tolerate it either.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse sanders 05-29-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Absolute Genius"

    There have been only a few books that I've re-read immediately after fininshing, but this is definately one worth reading twice, maybe even three times. While the stories are indeed shocking and entertaining in themselves, Haunted as a whole turns out to be an immensely acerbic observation of modern society, especially our inability to rise above the need to feel victimized, even if it means becoming victims of our own selves.
    This was the first book I've ever "read" by this author, but I'm already a devoted fan.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alec Studio City, CA, United States 01-07-14
    Alec Studio City, CA, United States 01-07-14 Member Since 2011

    Alec

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    "Lousy"
    What was most disappointing about Chuck Palahniuk’s story?

    I really loved Fight Club so I figured I would try another Palahniuk book. I have listened/seen some gross/nasty things in my life but this takes the cake. If his goal is to tell really disgusting stories that have little or no point, then I guess he "succeeded". The overarching story, at least to me, doesn't make much sense, and the stories-within-the-story are.....weird/pointless/gross/etc. I made it half-way through it and gave up.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandrine Differdange, Luxembourg 08-29-13
    Sandrine Differdange, Luxembourg 08-29-13 Member Since 2012

    Nicely tall and intelligently open-minded

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I could not even finish..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I certainly could not understand the story that was supposed to thread all the short stories together. Some of these short stories were ... very strange but not strange or witty enough for me to like them.

    I certainly was haunted ... I could not even finish to listen to the book, mainly haunted in a sense of bored and not intriguing enough to stay tuned.

    Nonetheless, the performance by the narrators was good.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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