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Haunted

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Description

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.

Commentaires

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

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Global
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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dominique
  • 24/05/2005

True Horror -- Not for the faint of heart, stomach

I used to think Stephen King wrote gross horror at times ("Misery"), but this author makes Stephen King look like Nancy Drew (sorry to compare an author with a fictional character, but hopefully you get my drift).

This is the kind of horror novel that's frightening in that it could (theoretically) happen. Although more surreal than real, nothing supernatural occurs; it's simply the horror that people can do to themselves and to one another.

Grotesque doesn't even begin to describe it. If you are the type of person who considered "Reservoir Dogs" part-comedy because of its over the top violence, you may feel similarly about this. If you've ever laughed at the type of cartoon violence like when the Coyote is flattened in his failed attempt to catch the Road Runner, then you might be okay with this book, so long as you can think of it in that context. If you drift away from that mindset, you may never sleep again. Seriously.

My greatest challenge was simply to finish it. It used to be that I was unable to even think about certain types of torture, death, and I wanted to stop listening at least a dozen times, but then I thought, "No, I'm not going to allow a group of common words that someone placed in a certain order get the better of me." And in that way, this book caused me to grow as a person.

Think of the sickest, most taboo thing anyone could ever do, then multiply it by ten and then you'll have this book. I'm not saying this so that your morbid curiousity may cause you to give this book a try, really.

WARNING: Due to the extreme and hideous nature of this novel, before you spend the money or use up a book credit, do yourself a favor and listen to the free excerpt from this book entitled "Exodus." It's 44 minutes long and is completely self-contained. If you can stomach that, then go ahead and listen to the rest of the book.

But don't say I didn't warn you.

85 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carl
  • 12/07/2005

Savage, Ugly, Harsh, Negative, Yet Good Literature

Warning: This book is not for most. It is not a horror story in the sense of good versus evil. It is instead about all that is evil, dark, corrupt, selfish, ugly, and self centered about ourselves. The only thing that makes it readable and good literature is that the author uses great language, he lays naked all we don't like about ourselves, and he is brutally honest about much of what we don't want to see. Its a ugly journey but one that some can come away from knowing more about themselves in order to become better people.

11 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tracie
  • 23/05/2005

Spectacular

This book is a wonderfully written satirical look at society, civility, and the ease with which these can be shed. It is a grand rendition of "Murder by Death" meeting "Lord of the Flies" with a little bit of "Alive" thrown in for reality's sake. Unfortunately, it is not for everyone; only those who can stomach hearing the unvarnished truth about society and the potential truth about themselves will be able to stomach this. It is raw, powerful, and at times disgusting. Which, when you get down to it, is a lot like life.

20 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Traci Anderson
  • 13/07/2006

Hard to rate. Some great short stories, but...

Well I've read/listened to Chuck's other books and I really like his gritty style. I'm not a prude nor do I have problems with his graphic content. All of the other reviews are correct when they warn you about the vileness and depravity of the characters and the over-the-top grossness in some of the stories. This doesn't bother me. That being said, I loved many of the short stories in the book, but there is an overlying story that tries to bundle it all together into a "novel" and not just a book of short stories. That part was tedious and so totally unbelievable as to be insulting. I was frustrated because of these stupid characters and probably won't recommend this book to anyone, even folks who have liked other Chuck Palahniuk novels. I can't say that I liked a single "person" in this book. There wasn't a single character that I felt anything but contempt for. If this were a book of just the short stories, I would have liked it much more and recommended it to others. The "writers retreat" portion made it hard to listen to and I almost didn't finish it on several occasions. I plowed through to the end to see if there was any reason to do so...there wasn't <sigh>.

By the way--if you aren't familiar with this author, this is NOT the book to start on. Try a different one and see if you like his style, then you can try this book if you really want to.

21 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • 04/08/2005

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.

9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cynthia
  • 23/05/2005

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

18 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • 20/09/2005

Ahh...

Although, the main story is over the top in it's believabilty, it puts the reality of the individual stories in a bright light of insight to everyday life to the reader(listener). I find myself looking for the beautiful play on words/suggested phrases that makes one question the "haunted" reality of everyday life. This is not for the prude or narrow-minded reader by any means, and therefore must be taken with a grain of salt to interpret the author's inferences. This book is a refreshment for those who look(listen) from outside the lines of "everyday" reading.

8 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • 24/06/2005

An amazingly vivid and graphic tale

This book is so not for your average joe. Iron stomach is the base requirement and a terribly gore riddled imagination. That said this is one amazing book. My skin still crawls when I remember some of the stories but they all left a mark on me. Definitely a classic.

8 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alicia A. Jenson
  • 27/05/2005

Not for everyone

Everyone says "Shocked" or "disgusting" like this is a bad thing. When was the last time you were truly truly shocked by something? I don't mean the news, that is numbing. Palahniuk does shock like no one else. And not only that, he is a brilliant writer. If you don't finish it, you're missing out. There are some truly beautiful sequences in this book, it's not just "disgusting".

17 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Bell
  • 23/05/2005

As you can see from the more disgusted reviews...

...this is Palahniuk at his best. Good to see him back in top form after a weaker novel or two, and finally he's trying something slightly new with the novel-in-stories format, allowing him to stretch his imagination a little more.

Also, this recording includes "Guts," which Palahniuk's been doing at readings for a year or two. It's worth the download just for that story, along with several other notables, such as "Exodus."

8 personnes ont trouvé cela utile