Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: Haunted

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of them, to be precise. 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 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.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
Ahem...this cover glows in the dark. Yup. That alone makes it awesome.

First Thoughts:
After reading the synopsis all I could think about was what my friend told me about this book. All she said was one word. Disturbing.


My Review:
It is true, the one word that describes this book most easily is disturbing. Although in this case disturbing was really intriguing as well. To say I was enamored with this book might make me come off as weird, but that's okay I'll say it. This book was amazing. It was dark, gritty and one of the most realistic looks at the inner workings of the mind that I've ever read. I knew Chuck Palahniuk could be twisted, I did. All this book did was further cement that, and make me love him even more.

What really sold the book for me was how all the short stories blend into one large plot. It moves quickly, and you learn a lot about the characters in just a few pages. I wasn't always completely sure of how I felt about the characters themselves, but each time I read one of their stories I felt connected to them. The skeletons they each have in their closet are really fascinating, and help you understand how they ultimately came to be who they are. It's almost as though you're not really meant to like them at all, just accept them.

Haunted takes a look at the deep, dark parts of people that hide beneath the shiny surface. It reminds us how easily we can revert back to those hidden selves, with just a little coaxing and the promise of fame. I would recommend this book to lovers of horror, and anyone who is okay with blood and gore. If you don't fit that description, be warned that this book is probably not for you.

Book Details
Title: Haunted
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Publisher: Anchor
Pages: Paperback; 411
Source: Borrowed

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

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