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Haunted cover art

Haunted

By: Chuck Palahniuk
Narrated by: Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Erik Davies, Kimberly Farr
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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.

Critic reviews

"[The stories] consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Written with the incisive brutality that accounts for Mr. Palahniuk's intense popularity." ( The New York Times)

What listeners say about Haunted

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent work

Apocalyptic, rough, revealing the darkest edges of human nature. I think I'll listen to it second time to grasp more detail.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not as clever as it should be

I felt I needed a shower after this book. It's a deeply black comedy, very nasty in places. It's a satire on how people manipulate the media , and how the media manipulates people to justtify their respective existences. It just went on too long, and I felt it revelled in its crudeness, stretching the joke too far. Probably would have appealed to me more if I had read it as an adolescent.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Brave and bizarre

Never afraid to broach any subject, Chuck Palahniuk weaves, weird and wonderful tales from a gaggle of strange characters, the narrative that holds the stories together often more surreal than the poems and short stories the novel is interjected with, a truly great listen, loved it

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Read before enjoyed it in the ear

Not the easiest of listens/reads. Chuck has an amazing way with words and an outstanding array of ideas seen sideways.

Not for those with weak stomachs.

Read very well with an ensemble cast.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Love it or hate it, it's up to you!

It's difficult. Either Chuck Palahnuik is the only writer out there who tells it like it is.. like it REALLY is; or he is a new breed of ubershock scribe with the uncanny ability to transform spite and bitterness into an art form.
Town square preacher, or puke-splattered crazy in a bar? I guess it boils down to what you look for in a book. It's certainly not his best. The concept is original, and you will want to read it through. It's exciting and imaginative. It's way out there. Way out there! But it doesn't have the intense thermo-nuclear pulse of, say, FightClub.
Best way to sum it up is this. If Jane Austin occupies your bedside locker... probably best to skip it; if you like your whiskey raw, what the hell... go for it!

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creepy but...

I much preferred reading the book. Was much more hard-hitting than in the audible version in my opinion.

The first sections are really tough. Not for the faint-hearted and I suspect an acquired taste!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Satire at its most brutal

This definitely is not an easy book but it is worth reading if you like strong horror and satire.

It has a compelling structure and premise, that function well to deliver a lot of grisly, absurd and deeply tragic narratives with a bite, presumably commenting on fame and those most hungry for it.

Not one for the faint of heart though. You have been warned.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

This wasn't quite what I expected but was a departure from the norm which was nice. generally good, some of the main story was a little long winded. most of the short stories are good a couple really stand out.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Needed a good edit!

This is one I first picked up years ago but only got about 40 or so pages in before losing interest and, to be honest, it was a bit of a struggle to get through it again.

The concept was exciting - Chuck writing a portmanteau horror-ish book, a group of writers gathered together to create their masterworks all slowly going mad - but too often I found myself getting annoyed by it. With that said, several of the short stories were excellent (in particular I loved Mother Nature's story about the dark side of alternative therapies and the one about the life-saver doll) but the main problem was with the parts which joined the stories together.

There were too many characters and I was kept distanced from caring about any of them because of their monikers. I'm well used to the Chuck-isms of strange character habits but this is often in opposition to the 'normal' world - in Haunted there is nothing BUT Chuck-isms and it was just too much. It felt at times like Tom Morello's guitar playing, you appreciated the creativity but every now and again just want to shout at him to do a normal guitar solo!

This was the Palahiuk book I felt needed an editor to be whacking him across the head and telling him to cut 1/3 of it out, to cut half of the characters out, and to tone down the Chuck-isms. There was so much potential there for a cracking book but I think it just went too far and lost touch with what Chuck is often good at and that is using strangeness to highlight things which affect all of us.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

this is a strange one even for Chuck.

slow to start but worth the effort. Definately not for those with a weak stomach.

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