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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extreme and excellent collection of short stories
Palahniuk is a modern author and ‘Haunted’ is a very modern book. Filled with some of the most violent and graphic imagery I have read, this book is only for those with a strong constitution.
‘Haunted’ contains a set of short stories linked together by a group of would-be writers who have sacrificed 3 months of their life to a mysterious...
Published on 12 Jan 2006 by Sam Tyler

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intermittently enjoyable
Pros - Well written short stories; interesting characters and unusual ideas mixed with sharp writing.
- Horrifying subject matter fulfills the book's promise to disgust and scare.
- Experimental novel structure feels ground breaking and reflects the theme well

Cons - Overarching story line is less interesting than the short stories
- All stories...
Published on 29 Jun 2011 by highlandreview


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extreme and excellent collection of short stories, 12 Jan 2006
By 
This review is from: Haunted (Hardcover)
Palahniuk is a modern author and ‘Haunted’ is a very modern book. Filled with some of the most violent and graphic imagery I have read, this book is only for those with a strong constitution.
‘Haunted’ contains a set of short stories linked together by a group of would-be writers who have sacrificed 3 months of their life to a mysterious writer’s retreat. As time passes on at the retreat it soon becomes obvious that the people and the situation they find themselves in is anything but normal.
Each story surrounds one of the characters trapped at the retreat and in someway explains why they chose to be there. Many of the stories are excellent – truly thought provoking. Some do fall a bit flatter but the standard is as high as any collection of short stories I have read.
I must warn you that this book is dark, rude and very adult. It should only be read by those with an open mind, who are fans of more extreme novels. If you are this person you will find this book an excellent read.
Sammy Recommendation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intermittently enjoyable, 29 Jun 2011
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Pros - Well written short stories; interesting characters and unusual ideas mixed with sharp writing.
- Horrifying subject matter fulfills the book's promise to disgust and scare.
- Experimental novel structure feels ground breaking and reflects the theme well

Cons - Overarching story line is less interesting than the short stories
- All stories are written in the same narrative voice despite being told by different people
- V.Badly researched in areas; the story 'Dog Years' which deals with a boy with Progeria in particular. Child sufferers of progeria are not indistinguishable from 90 year olds as implied; they actually appear like elderly children with enlarged eye sockets and foreheads. Sufferers of progeria also have acute arthritis/ muscle degeneration and never enter puberty or develop sex hormones and so would be unable to perform sexually in the manner described by Palahniuk also.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Macabre Genius, 5 July 2007
By 
R. Mullaney (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Haunted is a collection of short stories by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. It gained notoriety when people began fainting at public readings of the short story 'Guts'. Along with that particular gruesome tale, this book contains some of the funniest, sickest and original short stories from one of the most imaginative authors on the planet.

There is a loose story around the stories that each one is told by individuals who have answered an advert to spend three months at a writers retreat, completely isolated from the outside world, the idea being that each person will produce the masterpiece that is surely in them if there are no distractions from family and work. When they arrive they find themselves trapped in an abandoned theatre by the mysterious Mr Whittier. They become more and more obsessed by the idea that they will treated as celebrities when they emerge from this terrible ordeal, even going to the extent of mutilating and starving themselves to make the story more interesting for the public.

The short stories are very good, some of them are disgusting, some creepy, others just plain wierd but all are highly original. Unfortunately the chapters in between them and the poems are quite boring. It would have been better presented as a collection of unrelated short stories in my opinion. I agree that the whole thing probably couldn't be made into a film but the story 'Obsolete' could be on it's own as could 'The Nightmare Box'. Palahniuk has so many great ideas I would like to see more of his work made into films as good as 'Fight Club'

Like this? Try: The High Life by Matthew Stokoe
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Haunted", 5 Jan 2014
By 
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This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
I first read the story "Guts" at university, when my writing lecturer gave it to us to read for homework. Next class, when he asked us how we all found it, he was grinning like a jackal. He wanted to know how many of us fainted whilst reading it.

According to the afterword, 70+ people fainted as Chuck Palahniuk read that story in public spaces around the world. I believe him.

Most of the stories in this collection are a little revolting, or just sad or upsetting. All of them are very well written and fascinating in a grim way.

"Haunted" is presented as a novel filled with short stories and poems. The poems are largely redundant, and frankly not very good, but only take up a couple of pages each. As I said, the stories are fantastic. The novel element, being the thing that holds it all together, isn't too interesting and is really just a framing device.

I probably would have enjoyed this more if I'd just read the stories, and not the "novel" part. In the back of the book there's an index of stories with page numbers.

As it is, this is a great collection weakened by a "clever" concept, so I can't really give it more than 7/10, based purely on the strength of the individual stories.

7 / 10

David Brookes
Author of "Half Discovered Wings"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, but with some highly original short stories., 24 April 2007
By 
Mr. D. Bell "Dan Bell" (Northampton, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Never having read any of Palahniuk's novels I bought this based on a recommendation from a friend. Once receiving it I noticed the warning on the cover and realise now this warning is no gimmick. This book is genuinely disturbing.

The structure of the book is that it is one long story, but in between are short stories which tell you more about each character. This at times becomes very confusing and it is difficult to follow the thread of the main story.

The back stories themselves vary from the hilarious, to the grotesque, to just plain weird and confusing. The infamous story "guts" is one which will be going round in your mind for sometime afterwards wondering WTF must have been going on in Palahniuk's mind when he came up with it.

As an introduction to Palahniuk it may not be the best book to read as I have not rushed out to buy any of his other work. Viewed as a collection of short stories there are some genuinely original ones which are a must read.

Overall I think Haunted may have been easier to read had it just been a collection of unrelated short stories. The ending ends up being very confusing and also disappointing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Gruesome Read... Brilliant!, 9 Oct 2006
By 
Matthew Thorbes "Pads" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Gripping, terrifying, thought provoking and at times, downright uncomfortable to read, Haunted shows that Chuck Palahniuk is still capable of turning out stunning performances with the calibre of Fight Club, Choke, and the excellent Diary.

A writer's retreat in what appears to be a twisted `any-city' environment begins to go tragically awry as the attendees attempt to build a name for themselves in the dark annals of macabre history.

They're obsession with becoming famous as victims condemns them to a series of horrible fates, which they accept with cattle-like placidity.

Interspersing this, the short-stories which detail (often very graphically) the disturbing histories of each character, and why they would become so desperate as to endure the trials of the central story.

Palahniuk's big success here is that he has found a way to experiment at pushing different buttons and seeing what the results are. But I guarantee, everyone will find something in this book that has you shifting in your seat.

A truly disturbing masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A movie fragment, 27 Jan 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
"Other events - the ones you can't digest - they poison you. The worst parts of your life, those moments you can't talk about, they rot you from the inside out"

Haunted is not, in case you were wondering, a ghost story - at least, not in any way you'd imagine a ghost story to be. There are certainly no clanking chains and spooky white sheets. Instead, it's a story of psychological ghosts, of pasts coming back to haunt a group of people hoping to create a new future for themselves; and of how the dead never really seem to die.

The first thing that needs to be said is that I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, but this friend ended up a little shocked that it took me so long to tell her what I thought about it. The reason for this is that I lost interest about half-way through, and after a long break had to make myself pick the book back up again and finish it. But I didn't lose interest because it was badly written, or lacked style, or even because it wasn't compelling: it's actually well-written, stylish, and a fairly compelling work of modern literature. The problem with it is that it's structurally repetitive.

Without wanting to give out spoilers, the majority of the book reads as follows:
'Poem' to introduce a character's back story;
Back story;
Gruesome event;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story;
Back story;
Gruesome event;
'Poem' to introduce another character's back story...
And so on, and so on...

After about half-way through the novel, I genuinely found myself in the grip of a paradox: I was engrossed in the story, but at the same time I'd stopped caring, stopped following it. It seemed to be caught in its own literary device, and as such it was going nowhere. Not one of the mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" seemed to be advancing the plot, and as such, while fascinating reading (which often felt a little like morbid rubber-necking), they just started to feel like literary padding. And because there are so many repetitions of the mini-cycles, dealing with such a large array of misfit personalities, it became difficult to form much of an emotional attachment to - or even a rounded mental impression of - any of the characters.

Reflecting on the plot, I also found myself wondering how credible any of it really was. Okay, so it's a psychological drama, and these are never 100% believable, but to get true enjoyment out of it the reader has to willingly suspend all grip on how they might act in similar circumstances. It's difficult to say too much without giving events away, but thinking back on how readily the characters started behaving like they did, I'm not sure any reader would have swallowed it had the writing not been so often irresistable. Some more build-up play would have felt more satisfying.

Something else to note is that while you read how the book is 'original', a word I've seen applied to it a surprisingly large number of times, once you see past the padding you're left with a very old format: a group of people find themselves locked in a creepy dark building, and horrible things start to happen. Perhaps the oldest 'haunting story' in the book.

But the take on it is still different, and what the book tries to say about being human is something you won't find in most similarly-structured tales (regardless of whether you agree with it). The writing is detailed, occasionally truly shocking, and - for all I said about losing interest - the stories within the mini-cycles are never boring.

So what you get with this book is a series of harrowing, engaging, stylish mini-cycles of "poem - back story - gruesome event" which certainly stay with you long after you've read them, set within an unusual take on an old format, written well, but with a creeping sensation of repetitiveness where, by the nature of its structure, only a couple of the large cast of characters are ever developed sufficiently to make you particularly care.

An odd sort of book, one I'm glad I read, one I enjoy having read, but one which leaves me with a feeling that something leaner, better developed, and more focused on plot than shock, would have been far more fulfilling, far less starved, and far less emasculated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Churn your stomach, 31 May 2008
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk is most known as the author of Fight Club, the book that became the movie with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton; and overnight Palahniuk had a cult following. Erie, scary, and terrifying; if I had to use three words to describe this book, that would be it. Robert A. Heinlien the classic Science Fiction author once quipped "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." Of this book I would state, "One man's perversion is another man's pleasure." This book will hit both, depending on who you are and your sensibilities.

This book is a collection of short stories, written by characters who are on a writer's retreat. They all responded to an ad to "give up three months of your life and create the masterpiece you have always said you would". Each of the 18 respondents had an idea of where they would be going - to a large country estate, a camp in the woods; yet the reality is they get locked into an old ornate theatre house. They have food, shelter, and facilities, yet all doors are locked, all windows bricked over and no way out.

From there the book becomes a cross between Fear Factor, Survivor and your most feared horror story. We see the depths to which people will descend to achieve fame and riches. Palahniuk, during the current book tour, was reading the first story called `Guts' and to date there have been 63 people who have passed out with many people being injured falling into book cases in book stores. This book will at times, turn your stomach, but will give you an understanding of the darkest side of human nature.
Readers beware! This book is like the fight club movie on super steroids.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fight Club on Steriods, 21 Mar 2008
By 
Steven R. McEvoy "MCWPP" (Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Chuck Palahniuk is most known as the author of Fight Club, the book that became the movie with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton; and overnight Palahniuk had a cult following. Erie, scary, and terrifying; if I had to use three words to describe this book, that would be it. Robert A. Heinlien the classic Science Fiction author once quipped "One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." Of this book I would state, "One man's perversion is another man's pleasure." This book will hit both, depending on who you are and your sensibilities.

This book is a collection of short stories, written by characters who are on a writer's retreat. They all responded to an ad to "give up three months of your life and create the masterpiece you have always said you would". Each of the 18 respondents had an idea of where they would be going - to a large country estate, a camp in the woods; yet the reality is they get locked into an old ornate theatre house. They have food, shelter, and facilities, yet all doors are locked, all windows bricked over and no way out.

From there the book becomes a cross between Fear Factor, Survivor and your most feared horror story. We see the depths to which people will descend to achieve fame and riches. Palahniuk, during the current book tour, was reading the first story called `Guts' and to date there have been 63 people who have passed out with many people being injured falling into book cases in book stores. This book will at times, turn your stomach, but will give you an understanding of the darkest side of human nature.
Readers beware! This book is like the fight club movie on super steroids.

(First Printed in Imprint 2005-06-03 as 'Fight Club author gets Haunted')
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, but you need "Guts" to read it..., 7 Aug 2007
By 
J. Macdonald "jmacd39" (Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Haunted (Paperback)
Well, I read this book when I was 15/16 and I can say it was simultaneously the most disgusting AND best book I have ever read.

Firstly, the shock factor - this is indeed a revolting novel. In fact, I suspect few people would get past the first story, Guts. Some of the stories are geared towards shocking the moralists (these didn't bother me as much) and some to the, er, sensitive bodily functions, such as the aformentioned Guts.

The narrative switches between the primary storyline concerning a group of rather odd people who are trapped in a mysterious house after answering a newspaper add. The various people recite stories to each other during the stay - the most nauseating, horrible, hilarious, touching stories you'll ever hear. Not that the main plotline is easy reading either - in fact, towards the end it becomes PARTICULARLY disturbing.

I must also say this - this is one of the most well written books I have ever read. The only other CP book I read is Fight Club, which was excellent, but it didn't get me in the same way as this. His style is full of dry wit and extremely black humour - everything is looked upon with a sarcastic eye. I can see how some people might call him a bitter cynicist, but then he'll take you off-guard with some life-affirming statement in the most unlikely of places.

In any case, this is one of the best books I have ever read and I say give it a go: it's not pleasant, but neither are oysters and you less likely to vomit this book up after reading it. (Although you may vomit over it.)
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Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
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