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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Haunted - Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted: A Novel - Chuck Palahniuk *****5 Amazing Disturbing Stars*****
First of all I have to warn readers about the disturbing content in this book. This book is not for the weak stomach....
It has been reported that when Chuck has read the short story "Guts" from this novel, there have been injuries with people passing out.
To me this book reminded me somewhat of the setup of "The Canterbury Tales". The frame style of this book consists of each chapter starting out with what is going on in the story with the 17 would be authors who have signed up for a "Writers Retreat", then it follows with a poem about the person who will tell a story and then the story. There are 23 stories and the motifs of these stories consist of sexual deviance, sexual identity, homosexuality, desperation, social distastefulness, disease, murder, death and existentialism.
The satire of this book is "the battle for credibility" that has resulted from the ease with which one can publish through the use of modern technology but some say it is a satire of reality television.The main story centers on a group of 17 individuals who have decided to participate in a secret writers' retreat. They are only allowed to bring one piece of luggage. They are all picked up by bus and brought to an abandoned theater and are locked inside for 3 months. 
During this time each participant is to write a work of art. They start out having enough food and water along with heat, electricity, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry facilities.The group starts out innocent enough but then they decide that they could make a better story of their own suffering inside the theater and become wealthy from their story of fate. They then start to individually sabotage the food and utilities with each character trying to only destroy one food or utility to increase their drama slightly. Since each character does this individually and don't work as a team, they end up destroying all the food and utilities forcing them all to struggle with starvation, cold and darkness.
Oh, but they don't stop there. Each character wants to out-do each other with their suffering (just so they are cast as the main role of their suffering) so self-mutilation, murder, suicide and cannibalism.
OK - I'm stopping there so I don't give away too much of the book. The short stories are sick and demented but all tie back to the story and each deals with the sick mental psyches of people today.
This book may have taken me over a day to read but it was so worth it!!

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