Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Haunted: A book review

I already posted this on Facebook today, but figured it would work here as well. Plus, I added a little to it.

I just finished reading "Haunted" by Chuck Palahniuk and wanted to write about it while everything was still fresh. It took me several attempts before I finally got through the whole thing. That had more to do with how disturbing the material is rather than it being a bad book. I'm glad I kept with it though. I don't think I can recommend it to anybody unless you've got a really strong stomach.

The book is broken up into 23 short stories interlocked within the main story of a group of people trapped without food and electricity. It's supposed to be a "writers' retreat," which I found rather funny. I wonder if Palahuniuk is commenting on the value of retreats or if I'm reading something into it.

The first story, "Guts," nearly made me sick. Palahuniuk says in the afterword he's had 71 people faint when he's read the story in public. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I tend to believe it. It was really hard to get through. It was after reading that part the first time I decided to put the book down for more than a year.

My biggest complaint about it, though, was that there were too many characters. Because of that, I had a hard time caring about any of them. Also, none of them had real names. Instead we have Saint Gut-Free, Reverend Godless, Director Denial and others. Palahniuk gives them all interesting back stories, but they still seemed two-dimensional as characters.

If you have a strong stomach and are not easily offended, give it a try. I'd love to compare notes with somebody on this book.

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