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Publisher's 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.

What the critics say

"[The stories] consistently, powerfully transcend their macabre premises to showcase the heart beating beneath the horrors." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Haunted

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not for timid readers.

This is Chuck Palahniuk unbridled. True to his style, this book is shocking and not for the timid reader. If you're interested in CP and are considering this one as your first read ... don't. Get your feet wet with another title of his.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Snoozfest

I found the Narrators in the books to be extremely annoying and felt the book as a whole was boring.

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I can't stop thinking about these stories...

5 Stars. An anthology of truly disturbing and cleverly written short stories that add so much depth and intrigue to a Haunting tale. The switch off between narrators give each character their own individual aura and it works....
I'll be telling these for a while... the camera behind the camera behind the camera.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dominique
  • 2005-05-24

True Horror -- Not for the faint of heart, stomach

I used to think Stephen King wrote gross horror at times ("Misery"), but this author makes Stephen King look like Nancy Drew (sorry to compare an author with a fictional character, but hopefully you get my drift).

This is the kind of horror novel that's frightening in that it could (theoretically) happen. Although more surreal than real, nothing supernatural occurs; it's simply the horror that people can do to themselves and to one another.

Grotesque doesn't even begin to describe it. If you are the type of person who considered "Reservoir Dogs" part-comedy because of its over the top violence, you may feel similarly about this. If you've ever laughed at the type of cartoon violence like when the Coyote is flattened in his failed attempt to catch the Road Runner, then you might be okay with this book, so long as you can think of it in that context. If you drift away from that mindset, you may never sleep again. Seriously.

My greatest challenge was simply to finish it. It used to be that I was unable to even think about certain types of torture, death, and I wanted to stop listening at least a dozen times, but then I thought, "No, I'm not going to allow a group of common words that someone placed in a certain order get the better of me." And in that way, this book caused me to grow as a person.

Think of the sickest, most taboo thing anyone could ever do, then multiply it by ten and then you'll have this book. I'm not saying this so that your morbid curiousity may cause you to give this book a try, really.

WARNING: Due to the extreme and hideous nature of this novel, before you spend the money or use up a book credit, do yourself a favor and listen to the free excerpt from this book entitled "Exodus." It's 44 minutes long and is completely self-contained. If you can stomach that, then go ahead and listen to the rest of the book.

But don't say I didn't warn you.

92 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tracie
  • 2005-05-23

Spectacular

This book is a wonderfully written satirical look at society, civility, and the ease with which these can be shed. It is a grand rendition of "Murder by Death" meeting "Lord of the Flies" with a little bit of "Alive" thrown in for reality's sake. Unfortunately, it is not for everyone; only those who can stomach hearing the unvarnished truth about society and the potential truth about themselves will be able to stomach this. It is raw, powerful, and at times disgusting. Which, when you get down to it, is a lot like life.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Traci Anderson
  • 2006-07-13

Hard to rate. Some great short stories, but...

Well I've read/listened to Chuck's other books and I really like his gritty style. I'm not a prude nor do I have problems with his graphic content. All of the other reviews are correct when they warn you about the vileness and depravity of the characters and the over-the-top grossness in some of the stories. This doesn't bother me. That being said, I loved many of the short stories in the book, but there is an overlying story that tries to bundle it all together into a "novel" and not just a book of short stories. That part was tedious and so totally unbelievable as to be insulting. I was frustrated because of these stupid characters and probably won't recommend this book to anyone, even folks who have liked other Chuck Palahniuk novels. I can't say that I liked a single "person" in this book. There wasn't a single character that I felt anything but contempt for. If this were a book of just the short stories, I would have liked it much more and recommended it to others. The "writers retreat" portion made it hard to listen to and I almost didn't finish it on several occasions. I plowed through to the end to see if there was any reason to do so...there wasn't <sigh>.

By the way--if you aren't familiar with this author, this is NOT the book to start on. Try a different one and see if you like his style, then you can try this book if you really want to.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carl
  • 2005-07-12

Savage, Ugly, Harsh, Negative, Yet Good Literature

Warning: This book is not for most. It is not a horror story in the sense of good versus evil. It is instead about all that is evil, dark, corrupt, selfish, ugly, and self centered about ourselves. The only thing that makes it readable and good literature is that the author uses great language, he lays naked all we don't like about ourselves, and he is brutally honest about much of what we don't want to see. Its a ugly journey but one that some can come away from knowing more about themselves in order to become better people.

12 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Zachary K. Brown
  • 2014-01-05

Sorry, but I regret using a credit for this.

Would you try another book from Chuck Palahniuk and/or the narrators?

Probably. The author is spoken of well here at Audible, and one reviewer even forewarned that this was not the book to introduce oneself to Palahniuk. I wish I had followed that advice. Almost all of the narration was well done. However, I got it into my head that the lead narrator, the teller of the tale and not portraying a character, was doing a impersonation of Rod Serling and I just could not get that image exorcised while listening.

Has Haunted turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm really not sure what genre this book should be listed under. I do not consider it a Horror novel, as no part of it was frightening to me.

Which scene was your favorite?

"Aubible hopes you enjoyed this selection". The signal that I was done with it.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the characters back stories were compelling, but none (to me) were riveting. The novel is well paced, I suppose.

Any additional comments?

This was by far the longest it's taken me to finish a listen. I kept going away from it to listen (sometimes relisten) to other selections. I realize the author has many fans, and I am sure for good reason. I just did not care for this book personally. It didn't necessarily shock, disgust or terrify me. Sadly, it just bored me.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandrine
  • 2013-08-29

I could not even finish...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I certainly could not understand the story that was supposed to thread all the short stories together. Some of these short stories were ... very strange but not strange or witty enough for me to like them.

I certainly was haunted ... I could not even finish to listen to the book, mainly haunted in a sense of bored and not intriguing enough to stay tuned.

Nonetheless, the performance by the narrators was good.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Chuck
  • 2012-02-23

Too Hip for its own Good

I dig Palahniuk's other stuff, but the plot was all over the place with the series of supporting charters and their 'short stories.' I wish I had saved my credit.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Laura Nugent
  • 2011-07-24

Complete garbage

Graphic brutality without nuance. Ultimately, nothing new here. No not waste your time.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Etan
  • 2011-01-16

Grotesque for its own sake

I've read and enjoyed most of William Burroughs work, so I can claim a strong stomach. I've also read/listened to "Fight Club," so I know what this author is about. Palahniuk pushed past my limits. His characters destroy themselves and each other through vicious stupidity. Ultimately, they convinced me not to care. This is the first time I've deleted an audiobook from my computer and iPod without finishing it. I didn't faint or gag; I got annoyed.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • 2005-08-04

haunting, indeed

Previous reviewers have commented on the extremely graphic nature of this book, so I'll not belabor the point here. I will add that, as a pathology student who's assisted at autopsies, studied all manner of gross things, and not exactly a wilting violet, I was extremely disturbed by some of the stories in this book. Also, if you were bothered by the free download of "Exodus," you should not listen to this book under any circumstances, even if you find yourself trapped at a mysterious writer's workshop with a bunch of folks hell-bent on self destructing. "Exodus" is a children's bedtime story compared to much of "Haunted".

That having been said, I'm glad I listened to this to the end. "Haunted" is well-written and well performed. The short stories intertwine to form a larger, and increasingly compelling, narrative about the lives of the trapped characters. In the first volume, there were a couple of stories so revolting I decided to stop listening; but I found myself so involved with the overarching story that I ultimately ended up listening to the last 3 hours straight through. Very good storytelling.
Three gripes, unrelated to Palahnuik's gory prose: 1) Palahnuik can be very preachy, and beats his philosophic points until they're black and blue as one of his characters. While he's a good storyteller, Palahnuik can have a tin ear for parable, and the philosophy does not bear this repetition well. 2) Palahnuik overuses some constructions (e.g. "Still" to introduce a sentence), making different characters sound too similar. 3) Palahnuik gets important factual details wrong. This wouldn't be so bad, were it not for Palahnuik's careful correctness on closely related facts--showing that Palahnuik cared enough to do his homework, but is willing to dispense with any realities inconvenient to his storytelling. This is a sin that Palahnuik's creation Mr. Whittier would not tolerate, so I don't see why his real readers should tolerate it either.

9 people found this helpful