NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Friday, September 4, 2009

HAUNTED

by Chuck Palahniuk



"Haunted is a novel made up of twenty-three horrifying, hilarious, and stomach churning stories. They're told by people who have answered an ad for a writers' retreat and unwittingly joined a 'Survivor'-like scenario where the host withholds heat, power, and food. As the storytellers grow more desperate, their tales become more extreme, and they ruthlessly plot to make themselves the hero of the reality show that will surely be made from their plight. This is one of the most disturbing and outrageous books you'll ever read, one that could come only from the mind of Chuck Palahniuk." (From the back of the Anchor Books edition.)

Anyone who has followed my thoughts on Chuck Palahniuk's novels here on Books 'N Border Collies will not be surprised to hear this: Haunted is sick and wrong in so many ways. I cannot recommend this book without washing my own mouth out with soap. But of all of his books I've read, this one carried the most poignant messages within all the offensiveness. Sure, you have to get past that opening chapter with the nasty scene in the swimming pool (Don't ask. Unless you're a Palahniuk fan, believe me, you do not want to know. I'm not even remotely joking.), but there are stories in here that dig so deep into the darkness of the human psyche it's almost physically painful. It makes you wonder about people, especially ones we think of as "normal". It makes you examine things hidden deep in yourself that you pray never get exposed to the public, thoughts and urges you've always kept civilly under control. But what if you couldn't? Or chose not to? Haunted, indeed.



19 comments:

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

wow, a very passionate review Lezlie! I'm not sure I even want to click on the Amazon link!

Lezlie said...

Mel ~ This one really resonated with me for some reason. I haven't even read any of the Amazon reviews. I should do that and see what others had to say! :-)

Lezlie

Anna said...

I've been waiting for you to read this one! It was very disturbing, and one of the only books I've read that has made me want to vomit. I read an article somewhere a while back that he would read from the swimming pool scene at author events and people would pass out.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I'm not at all surprised! I was literally squirming and squealing "Ewwwww!!" while I listened to the audio! The story that struck most at my heart, though, was the one about the transvestite. I wanted to cry!

Lezlie

Anna said...

I don't know if I could have stomached the audio. I had to close the book and take some deep breaths several times while reading. I agree, the story about the transvestite was sad!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ This conversation almost sounds like we didn't like the book at all. :-) You did end up liking it, right? Or was it just too much?

Lezlie

Anna said...

Right! Seriously, I did like the book, but it's probably the most disturbing book I've ever read. It's sort of like those movies where you cover your eyes, but you peek through your fingers because you can't stop watching.

The characters were all unique and eccentric (a plus for me LOL) and I see the point he was trying to make.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I thought you liked it, but I wanted to make sure. :-) I know exactly what you mean. The most fascinating thing about his writing to me is that he can offend my senses like no one else, but at the same time he can deliver the most effecting and sometimes touching messages. It's just weird how he can do that.

Lezlie

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

the ability to offend but intrigue, to me, is a rare gift...I may have to check him out after all, lol.

Lezlie said...

Mel ~ I'd love to see what you think of him. But consider yourself warned! ;-)

Lezlie

Jenny said...

Ha! I want to read this now and I haven't even ready any of his books yet. They're all on my TBR because my hubby loves them and has keeper copies of all of them. I think this might be the only one he hasn't read (except the new one which is on his TBR).

Lezlie said...

Jenny ~ This might be as good as any to start with. I really liked the integrated short story format. I can't wait to see what you think of him when you get to it!

Lezlie

Nikola said...

I've never read horror literature, but this seems like a nice, creepy place to start :)

Lezlie said...

Nikola ~ I wouldn't really call this "horror" lit. It's more like "shock" lit. Sort of like a literary version of Howard Stern or Jerry Springer but with a message. I hope you like it if you give it a shot!

Lezlie

Joanne said...

You know what made me realize how good of a writer Palahniuk was? That pool story. It's an urban legend that I'd heard many times before, laughed/ewwwed about, but the way Palahniuks' character told the story was so personal that it really made me think. Like here's this dude who did the dumbest thing ever, but we get to find out how it's impacted his entire life. I was really blown away by how he takes something so silly and makes it real.

Oh and I just watched Final Destination 3D - where there is a pool scene some people say was inspired by this book. It was so pathetic. But I would love to know if they actually did get the idea from Chuck :P

Literary Feline said...

I remember reading an article about this book when it first came out--how people got physically ill during readings of the book. Admittedly, it did make me curious. I can't say I will be reading this, but you never know. I wasn't too fond of the one book I read by this author before and so have been reluctant to try his work again.

Lezlie said...

Joanne ~ I know what you mean. You could really believe this was someone telling a true story no matter how outrageous it was. If you find out the answer to the question about the movie, let me know. I'm curious, too!

Literary Feline ~ Yeah, Chuck seems to be a love him/hate him writer. If nothing else, you don't miss any crucial part of the story if you don't read the pool scene in it's entirety. The rest of the book is still disturbing, but not to that extent. You could maybe just skip that part if you wanted to give the book a try anyway.

Lezlie

Charley said...

I'm intrigued. Although I think Fight Club will take priority, as it has been on my list for what seems like forever.

Lezlie said...

Charley ~ I would go for Fight Club first, too. I haven't gotten to that one yet, either. But soon!!

Lezlie