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Haunted: A Novel of Storiesby Chuck Palahniuk
Synopses & Reviews
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 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.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[An] over-the-top gore fest....
"[W]hile a number of the stories here are ingenious, in a devilish sort of way, the constant barrage of wicked sadism soon palls. Stomach-churning horror that takes a bit too much joy in its diabolic machinations." Kirkus Reviews
Made up of 23 of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales readers will ever encounter, Haunted is Palahniuk at his finest — which means his most extreme and his most provocative.
Twenty-three interconnected stories chronicle the experiences of people who have answered an ad for an artist's retreat, believing that they will find a peaceful refuge in order to create their individual masterpieces, only to find themselves trapped in a cavernous old theater in which they are kept completely isolated, with heat, power, and food in increasingly short supply. 125,000 first printing.
Haunted is a novel made up of twenty-three horrifying, hilarious, and stomach-churning stories. They're told by people who have answered an ad for a writer's retreat andunwittingly joined a Survivor-like scenario where the host withholds heat, power, and food. As the storytellers grow more desperate, their tales become more extreme, and they ruthlessly plot to makethemselves the hero of the reality show that will surely be made from their plight. This is one of the most disturbing and outrageous books you'll ever read, one that could only come from the mind of ChuckPalahniuk.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Chuck Palahniuk's six novels are the bestselling Diary, Lullaby, and Fight Club (which was made into a film by director David Fincher), Survivor, Invisible Monsters, and Choke. He is also the author of the nonfiction profile of Portland, Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of the Crown Journeys series, and the nonfiction collection Stranger Than Fiction. He lives in Washington State.
Table of Contents
Poems and stories listed p. -.
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