Audible Haunted: A Novel of StoriesAuthor Chuck Palahniuk –

Apparently working in a vet clinic for the better part of 5 years is precisely the recipe required to inure one to the effects of Palahniuk s writing.You ll see tons of OMG SO GWOSS reviews here, but this ain t one of em I was entertained All the blood and guts and bodily fluids in the world don t really gross me out What really sickens me is people.And that s what Palahniuk does best he writes about the dark sides of people and how precious little it takes to make those sides surface I enjoyed turning the pages as each character tells his or her tale of how they had sunk so low Evenfascinating was how each character manages to keep upping the suffering ante when they perceive they ve not endured enough And don t take Palahniuk s pretentious tale of Saint Gut Free s story making people pass out at face value I even read it three times through trying to see how that could make someone s knees buckle because I didn t feel it Perhaps I truly did gain something from those years of shoveling shit from kennels and picking teeth out of the tub drain and plucking bits of unidentifiable flesh from surgery floors I gained the ability not be grossed out on a dare. This book is incredibly uneven, that s its downfall There are some really good moments, some really bad moments, and one or two truly brillant ones Looking at it as what it essentially is a collection of short stories, it s really no better or worse than any other short story collection, and actually should get extra points for its brazen audacity The unifying material that links all of the stories together is terribly weak, and is what ultimately sinks the book.The first story Guts is the best Not because it s so incredibly gross and it truly is but because it is unblinking in its logic It creates an outrageous yet believable scenerio and follows inexorably to its horrifying conclusion It s the one story that really stuck with me on a visceral ha ha level.The rest of the book reads like it s trying to keep up with the pace of the first story, but it can t No story that follows is a strongly written or as moving as the first one, butjust shock value for shock s sake For every story that almost hits the right stride Exodus there are those that just plain don t make sense Punch Drunk, Something s Got to Give This is the second Palanhuik book that I ve read, and I think there really is something there I appreciate his outrage at society, but I think he needs to dial back his delivery just a hair in order to create truly effective satire He goes from 0 60 so quickly that the social commentary gets lost in the absurdity of the scenerio If you can t believe it s possible, it doesn t hit home Writers like Vonnegut push right to the boundary, then siddle a toe past Palanhuik sprints to the boundary, then vaults as far as he can go Vonnegut is a razor, Palanhuik is a blunt instrument.I m not done with him yet, he s at least shown me enough to give him another try. This book is vile It is disgusting No matter how much you can take, you will squirm and say Oh My GOD out loud on the bus or plane or couch or wherever it is you read It is a nasty book But Haunted is so muchthan that and so worth reading Haunted is set in a drab old theater, past it s prime, boarded up, invisible, and impenetrable to the outside world Inside the theater are 23 characters 23 people with names like the Earl of Slander and Agent Tattletale Each character is introduced with a poem and a story Usually gruesome or grotesque, the stories eventually create the world each person inhabits, explain why they agreed to drop off the face of the earth for a while, and how they relate to the other characters in the book Narratives in between the character stories relate what s happening within the hotel How the characters are coping with no modern amenities or food, who has died and what the remaining characters will do to themselves and others to obtain fame and sympathy once they re rescued.While the stories in the book are as everyone has said sometimes depraved, they all aren t like that and the book ends on a beautifully optimistic note though not everyone is going to think that way Really, I can only think of two that made me want to stop reading, but I didn t I pushed through And I encourage anyone who is thinking of reading Haunted to do the same thing You might just love it to death. This is honestly the worst book I have ever read I finished it, only because of my amazement at how bad it was and how it never deviated from that.I was intrigued by the premise a group of writers volunteer to go on a retreat to write their masterpiece The book has a chapter of plot, followed by either a poem or short story from one of the participants Sounds cool The book falls apart immediately All of the stories poems are obviously written by the same person They share themes, style, and emotion Plus, they all suck, not to mention some are gross, just for the sake of being gross Further, all of the losers on this retreat so desperately want fame, they start sacrificing themselves to make aheroic tale of their seclusion My only hope was that it would turn out to be ONE GUY with multiple personalities fighting writer s block THAT would have been cool, but no, it wasn t.Don t read this book Haunted Is A Novel Made Up Of Stories Twenty Three Of The Most Horrifying, Hilarious, Mind Blowing, Stomach Churning Tales You Ll Ever EncounterThe Stories Are Told By People Who Have All Answered An Ad Headlined Artists Retreat Abandon Your Life For Three Months They 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 Importantly, Food Are In Increasingly Short Supply And The Desperate The Circumstances Become, The Desperate The Stories They Tell And The Devious Their Machinations To Make Themselves The Hero Of The Inevitable Play Movie Non Fiction Blockbuster That Will Certainly Be Made From Their Plight WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD.Instead of reviewing the entire novel, I will just be focusing on my personal favourite chapter Guts.To date, there have been 53 known occurrences of audience members fainting during readings of Guts This doesn t surprise me at all, knowing the repulsive content of the story Guts is your mother, father, preacher and teacher shaking that disapproving finger at self pleasure Needless to say, this short story will have you thinking twice about creeping that wondering hand down your pants at night The narrator Saint Gut Free who s alias is explained at the end of the chapter a specifically terrifying masturbation escapade While finding satisfaction in his family pool by sticking his rear end in the water intake at the bottom of the pool, Gut Free finds his small intestines in Layman s terms being sucked out of his asshole All the while submerged under water In a desperate attempt to reach the surface for air, he gnaws through the innards with his own teeth We have all studied anatomy and know that human waste passes through the small intestine before happily plopping down in your toilet Let s just assume that Gut Free wasn t enjoying a delicious five star meal However, the tale doesn t end here The Saint s original motive in the pool was achieved, and the left over sperm later impregnated his younger sister while she was enjoying an evening swim It s not shocking that the family had the child aborted before it could be conceived by the preteen girl.Now, when asked why he is oh so heroinly chic thin, Saint Gut Free can only smile His six inches of remained small intestines don t allow much room for weight gain Thus he is Gut Free Not only did this tale send shivers down my spine, but a suppressed chuckle in my throat as well I found Palahniuk s writing style to be unique and innovative What captured me the most was the straight forward, bare all tone that was conveyed through the narrator He, a self diagnosed compulsive masturbator and sex addict explains his experience all too vividly It makes the reader feel as if they too are chowing down on feces infested intestines in a swimming pool And of course I mean that in the best way possible. Warning The cover of this edition glows in the dark Do not place on your bed stand unless you want to have a heart attack I speak from experience.There are 21 short stories in Haunted Some of them are amazing such as the notorious Guts Others are so so A couple of them are just boring All of them are written to shock yet the brevity of the tales keeps both writer and reader focused If this was a short story collection, I would rate it a strong three stars.Unfortunately it is not Palahniuk has fashioned this book into a novel One clearly modeled after The Tales of The Decameron except as written by a 21th century Marquis De Sade The 19 protagonists are revealed from the beginning as vicious and stupid and we are never given a reason to care about them Page after page they make insane and idiotic decisions that have no basis in any logic or reality and no purpose but to shock Some may say that is the point, the author has created a bizarre and surreal horror setting as an analogy That s fine but what is the author saying My conclusion is absolutely nothing Palahnuik s cynicism is so over the top it destroys any attempt at meaning.Perhaps I don t get it Yet anyone who perused my book list knows I m not easily offended This is the third book by this author I ve read The only reason I read three is because Pahalnuik is one hell of a writer at least technically And from the short stories in this book I know he can pack a punch when he wants to But this will probably the last Palahnuik book I will subject myself to. This is chuck s worst work It pains me to say that, but its just true a group of would be writers on a writer s retreat each is given the chance to tell a story The stories are all basically gross for the sake of being gross with little to no redeeming value One infamous story involving a pool was so hard to get through I had to take 3 breaks Its so descriptive and disgusting I had to take a breather for fear of vomiting i am not alone in this, he read this particular story at signings and people would have to leave the room, some even threw up right there I guess if you judge a story s value by how much of a physical response it can incite, then this is Grade A material Otherwise I would say to avoid this one until you have read a good amount of his earlier work so as not to taint your judgement. People who are just trying to be gross can t help but be entertaining, no matter how see thru their intent You can t ignore the little boy who s trying to wipe his boogers on you, and when his parents have finally collared him, with anger and gag relex fully suppressed you have to admit the whole thing was actually pretty funny Chuck Paloonyhoonyhookiak is just trying to wipe his boogers on you When he s done with that, he ll gladly exhaust whatever other bodily fluids happen to be available to him His novels seem to have been steadily leading up to this a good old fashioned gross out fest, a chance for him to pull out all the stops and just have fun I settled into Haunted , prepared for the worst best, and got it with the first story, Guts This is the one that s apparently been making people faint at readings though how anyone can actually lose consciousness simply listening to someone read something fictional, no matter how shocking, is beyond me , and it really is genuinely disgusting Yet fun to read, a vomitrous tale well told Unfortunately, the rest of the stories simply don t latch onto this gory glee, and, apart from a surprising and amusing tale of a hospice patient who is and isn t what he seems to be, the book becomesandof a slog, with a wraparound narrative peopled with irritatingly named victims I can t hope to adequately express how thankful I am that I m unlikely to ever again encounter a character in literature named Comrade Snarky meeting their inevitably vile ends It s ultimately a letdown, but do check out Guts , if you re into this sort of thing. My goal was just to write some new form of horror story, something based on the ordinary world Without supernatural monsters or magic This would be a book you wouldn t want to keep next to your bed A book that would be a trapdoor down into some dark place A place only you could go, alone, when you opened the cover.Because only books have that power Chuck is right you don t want to keep this book by your bed You don t want to get up in the middle of the night and see is covet glowing at you Reminding you instantly of the horrors you read before bed, making your stomach churn This is a book you can t read while eating, or when your wanting to relax This isn t a book that will take you away from the real world This book is a bitch slap in the face reminder that some of these horrors that you will read happen in the world around you, and will make you nauseous and shift around in your seat from discomfort This book will make you glance up nervously, wondering if the others in the room with you can sense that your reading something so horrifically sick You will feel like you need to shower after reading some of these stories, that your brain needs deep cleaning But it won t help These stories are going to stick in your brain You re going to feel guilty for enjoying this book This sick, sick horrific book.