"Haunted" 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 the people who have all answered the ad headlined 'Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months'. They are led to ...
"Haunted" 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 the people who have all answered the ad headlined 'Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months'. They 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 theatre where they are utterly isolated from the outside world - and where heat and power and, most importantly, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more desperate the stories they tell - and the more devious their machinations become to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/non-fiction blockbuster that will certainly be made from their plight. "Haunted" is at one level a satire of reality television. 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.
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The writer stands way out over others in his ability not only to create a wildly imaginative story but also posesses the incredible writing skills necessary to make the story come alive. So superbly written that the characters and the action in "Haunted" appeared to take place right before my very eyes. I've made it a goal to read every novel he has written, and am already way into "Rant" which is again making me want to hail this one-of-a-kind writer. I encourage all who read this book to recommend it to others. Chuck Palahniuk should be a household name.
Apr 3, 2007
Guts-wrenchingly good stories
Palahniuk's "Haunted" is a wonderfully twisted collection of short tales about the real and imagined ghosts haunting the lives of a group of colorful characters on the writer's retreat from hell. The themes of man's inhumanity to man (or more precisely man's inhumanity to him/herself) and need for conflict and suffering are interestingly illustrated. However, in the end it is the short tales that will burrow into your brain with unforgettable mental images that will keep readers coming back for more. A word of warning, Palahniuk's prose is not for the weak of stomach or faint of heart.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-07-11 One of Palahniuk's more sweeping and macabre offerings, this is a collection of 23 short stories and poems generated at a fictional writer's retreat turned grotesque survival camp. The pieces range from the stomach-turning to the satirical or the absurd. The seven readers tackling the decidedly offbeat Palahniuk are, for the most part, refreshingly successful. Cashman is a standout, narrating the action at the retreat. His voice shuttles nimbly between the male and female writers, while maintaining the integrity of his own unnamed character. Morey's narration is disappointing on "Guts," the novel's most notorious and gruesome tale, which has reportedly caused some listeners to faint. Morey sounds too mature and polished for this series of wicked adolescent masturbatory nightmares. In general, the multivoiced narration is practiced and professional, with the trio of actresses turning in particularly strong performances. The other side of all that spit and polish is that Palahniuk's humor is occasionally stifled. Some listeners may wonder whether the author's prose is so singular that only he might be capable of delivering it. But overall, an engaging, albeit lengthy, listen. Simultaneous release with Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 21). (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-21 What elevates Palahniuk's best novels (e.g., Fight Club) above their shocking premises is his ability to find humanity in deeply grotesque characters. But such generosity of spirit is not evident in his latest, which charts the trials of a group of aspiring writers brought together for a three-month writer's retreat in an abandoned theater. The novel intersperses the writers' poems and short stories with tales of the indignities they heap upon themselves after deciding to turn their lives into a "true-life horror story with a happy ending." They lock themselves in the theater, reasoning that once they're found, they'll all become rich and famous. They raise the stakes of their story by first depriving themselves of phones, and then of food and electricity; eventually they cut off their own fingers, toes and unmentionables before they start dying off and eating each other. Palahniuk tells his story with such blithe disregard for these characters that it's hard not to wish he had dispensed with the novel altogether and published, instead, the 23 short stories that pop up throughout the book. For instance, "Obsolete," about a young girl about to commit state-mandated suicide, and "Slumming," about rich couples who pretend to be homeless, play so deftly with expectations and have an emotional core so surprising that they consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors. Agent, Edward Hibbert at Donadio & Olson. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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