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.
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!