[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[Apparently the illustrator invited an Engineer/Space Jockey from Prometheus and Alien: Covenant to model for the cover. Also, I feel like most of the covers for this book are super generic. It did glow in the dark though, that’s pretty cool ]
“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 writer’s 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.”
I think this is technically my first Palahniuk book? I had actually read the ‘Guts’ short-story [which is from this book] out of context as the first experience with him, and thought it was at least interesting. I felt sort of ‘dirty’ afterwards; but not because of the content of the story necessarily, but more that it it made me think of my own messed up sexual hijinks [oh to be a hormonal teenager], but definitely not enough to make me faint, or feel sick in any way like apparently his readings at book stores do on a regular basis.
Haunted is definitely one of those books where I REALLY liked some parts, and absolutely hated others. The actual separated background stories of the characters of the book were pretty boring to me, even though there were some portions that made me laugh or piqued my interest from the gore content or general fucked-up feeling of them. There are also poems before the self-stories weren’t that impressive to me either, unfortunately. The stories created by each character were definitely the best part. I liked reading into what fucked up things happened to all the characters, and why they had chosen to go to the retreat that the book is about, or why they themselves were horrible people.
Overall I liked the general theme of the book, about how humans/people react to certain situations, blame everything but ourselves, etc. I ultimately liked the book, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. Palahniuk can show some prowess, but the whole time I kept just thinking some of his descriptive parts of what would obviously bother some people was just… very… ‘shock rocker’ but with writing. ‘Shock Author’ I suppose.
I’ve read other books where a horrible scenario was taking place that actually bothered me versus Haunted, where the feeling was like someone was watching my reaction while I read this – spoonfeeding me to see if I’d be grossed out. Actually, it kind of reminds me of all those reaction videos with this book. Except specifically the subject matter is more like the reaction videos for ‘Two Girls, One Cup.’
Just sort of like how I reacted with the video [‘Hm. That’s pretty gross. Yep. That’s two girls doing something gross. K.’] is how I was with some of the in-depth details of some of the scenes. [‘Hm. If that happened irl, that would be gross. Mhm. Yuck’] The only part that super bothered me is when a particular important animal-character dies, and that’s probably more because I have a hatred against animal violence.
Haunted is definitely not a book for anyone that is squeamish – or if you in general just can’t handle or comprehend that we’re all fucked up in some way or another. If you’re like me and desensitized to stuff like that, this book just isn’t impacting. [IE the difference between people fainting when at a reading of it vs blank staring like I would have]
Also, if you have a hard time swallowing the fact that humans as a species are shitty, you may get some eye-opening moments from this novel.
I give Haunted 3/5 Feces-Covered Carrots
“…you fed me my own ass?”