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.
"[The stories] consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors." (Publishers Weekly)
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.
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.
Put your books into my ears!!!
I fully enjoyed listening to this novel. There were times where I didn't want to get out of my car because I was so enthralled. The story was well written and not for the faint of heart. I wasn't a huge fan of the narrators. They all did a decent enough job, however, I felt as if they were too old for the parts they played.
Nicely tall and intelligently open-minded
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.
Anyone, in to self mutilation.
Can't say, no one seemed any better than any one else
Most of them
This is hard, three words.......I guess I'd have to stay with the headline. Oddly Thought Provoking!
I liked the huge variations that always end up bringing you to the same place.
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.
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.
I dig Palahniuk's other stuff, but the plot was all over the place with the series of supporting charters and their 'short stories.' I wish I had saved my credit.
I love Chuck Palahniuk's books. The gore and stories where graphic and unexpected with some Halirous sceens in it. The narrators were awesome, but the story just didn't make enough sense and all flow together in the end. I was slightly dissapointed.
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