Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk 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.
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.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 09, 2006
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
This was supposed to be a writers' retreat. It was supposed to be safe.
An isolated writers' colony, where we could work,
run by an old, old, dying man named Whittier,
until it wasn't.
And we were supposed to write poetry. Pretty poetry.
This crowd of us, his gifted students,
locked away from the ordinary world for three months.
And we called each other the "Matchmaker." And the "Missing Link."
Or "Mother Nature." Silly labels. Free-association names.
The same way--when you were little--you invented names for the plants and
animals in your world. You called peonies--sticky with nectar and crawling with
ants--the "ant flower." You called collies: Lassie Dogs.
But even now, the same way you still call someone "that man with one leg."
Or, "you know, the black girl . . ."
We called each other:
The "Earl of Slander."
Or "Sister Vigilante."
The names we earned, based on our stories. The names we gave each other,
based on our life instead of our family:
Names based on our sins instead of our jobs:
And the "Duke of Vandals."
Based on our faults and crimes. The opposite of superhero names.
Silly names for real people. As if you cut open a rag doll and found inside:
Real intestines, real lungs, a beating heart, blood. A lot of hot, sticky blood.
And we were supposed to write short stories. Funny short stories.
Too many of us, locked away from the world for one whole
spring, summer, winter, autumn--one whole season of that year.
It doesn't matter who we were as people, not to old Mr. Whittier.
But he didn't say this at first.
To Mr. Whittier, we were lab animals. An experiment.