Haunted: A Novel by Chuck PalahniukHaunted: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Haunted: A Novel

byChuck Palahniuk

Paperback | April 11, 2006

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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. This is one of the most disturbing and outrageous books you’ll ever read, one that could only come from the mind of Chuck Palahniuk.
CHUCK PALAHNIUK is the author of fourteen novels—Beautiful You, Doomed, Damned, Tell-All, Pygmy, Snuff, Rant, Haunted, Diary, Lullaby, Choke, Invisible Monsters, Survivor, and Fight Club—which have sold more than five million copies altogether in the United States. He is also the author of Fugitives and Refugees, published as part of t...
Title:Haunted: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 7.99 × 5.15 × 0.92 inPublished:April 11, 2006Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1400032822

ISBN - 13:9781400032822

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unexpected Proceed with caution, pretty gross but that made it even better
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Caution Graphic I enjoyed reading this book, but would definitely say that it is not for everyone. Haunted is a very "twisted" story or rather stories. If you like Chuck's writing style, then this is another one of great books!
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good...for the right people. I personally loved this book, though I realize it is not to everyone taste. It is shocking to say the least, there was definitely audible gasps when I was reading. I would also recommend having somewhat of a strong stomach, the gore is at times very intense. This was a great page turner, you can hardly believe someone would think up what you are reading. I found it really enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Shockingly Good... and Gory This is the first of three books that I've read by Palahniuk and I have to say it is my favourite. Although some of the individual chapters or "stories" are a little gory or hard to read at times, I think this is the kind of book that really stays with you and gets under your skin.. in a good way. I love the overall structure of the book and how it is divided into separate chapters and stories told by each character in the overall arching story.
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from If your idea of a good book is stupid attempts at being shocking.... Probably one of my least favourite books of all time.
Date published: 2017-05-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining If you're looking for some gross & messed up stories..this is definitely the book to turn to! Chuck knows how to shock his audience!! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining If you're looking for some gross & messed up stories..this is definitely the book to turn to! Chuck knows how to shock his audience!! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring shock humour. The plot is awful. The characters are awful. Everything in this book is just fucking stupid, and unless you're the sort of person who's taste in fiction is confined to what's available at the best seller rack of your local drug store I can't really see anyone getting much run of all the half assed attempts to shock and offend. 1 star is generous.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great separate parts Although the premise is interesting, the intrigue of the framing narrative lost steam throughout the novel. The stand outs are some of the short stories themselves, especially one involving realistic child-dolls. Not for the faint of heart, and not completely successful in terms of narrative and thematic unity, but still worth the read.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of Palahniuk's favourites I might be in the minority, but this was one of my favourite books from Palahniuk. The others being Choke and The Diary.
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastically disturbing As always, Palahniuk does not disappoint. His portrayal of the potential ugliness of human nature is so intense, so real, that you just can't put this book down, nor your jaw up for that matter! :P
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from quite the pick-up Palahniuk has always been a favorite of mine, having had no knowledge of this book going into it, i would say that the main story while its quite disturbing (and what palahniuk book isn't) is a little slow at first and near the middle, but the ending is fantastic cause i love how he portrays human tragedy, kind of like diary, his other works. Apart from the main story, the short stories are what sell this book, i wish we studied them in school cause they are amazing to read. The only bummer i would say is that u can't really talk about this book unless someone else has read it, cause people gave me looks like i just escaped a game of saw.
Date published: 2013-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great introduction to Palahniuk! ***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*** I have heard so many great things about Chuck Pahlaniuk that one day, many years ago, I bought his book Haunted. Years passed and I still hadn’t opened the darn thing. Instead, I decided to wait until the day where I felt inclined to grab it off the shelf, walk away from the books (since it’s so easy for me to change my mind), and just start reading. I don’t want to say that I was disappointed, but I kind of was. Don’t get me wrong – I really loved Pahlaniuk’s writing and hope to get into another book I have of his, Lullaby, sometime soon. What got me was that I read so many reviews where people were squirming in their seats and it was really only the first chapter that did that for me. In my eyes, the first chapter is what sets up the rest of the book—it has to be enough to grab me so I can keep reading. The first chapter of Haunted definitely got me. I was quite happy that I wasn’t eating at the time, but after that, the book just didn’t have the same effect. It was a decent book, full of aspiring writers who are at a sort of writing camp. Little did they know that they were going to be kidnapped by a madman who wants them to write the best story of their life. I kind of felt that the finger and toe chopping happened a little early that as the book progressed, I wondered what was going to happen next. Well, even though the stories written by the kidnapped (24 chapters in total, 23 “stories” written by characters in the book, along with an accompanying poem) seemed to get a little tame after the first chapter, what actually went on in the house started to make me squirm again—I don’t want to completely give it away, but it has to do with the “below the belt” area and very sharp objects. I was happy to finish reading Haunted, but I did leave feeling intrigued by Pahlaniuk’s writing. I can’t wait to give more of his work a try. Haunted did a great job of taking seemingly ordinary people and showing the reader their dark side—as a reader, you start the book just knowing their nickname and then you’re slowly taken into the story of “why” behind that name. Of course, there’s not only the gory and gruesome, there are also some very hilarious moments. Someone hacking off their manhood, only to have someone else eat it and choke on it, leaving both characters dead, was just a funny part to read. Thanks for reeling me in, Chuck Pahlaniuk!
Date published: 2012-01-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not for the Squeamish Before reading this book the only exposure I had to Palahniuk was the movie Fight Club so to say this book hit me upside the head would be an understatement. Palahniuk creates a story in which the grotesque and gory become ordinary and at times the stories become physically difficult to read they are so graphic. The story itself is interesting and the premise is rather original so if you can withstand the graphic descriptions this book may be worth your while
Date published: 2009-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting A bunch of fame craving "want-to-be" artists signed themselves up for a freaky retreat in the hope of putting on hold their daily mundane lives for a chance to create some great works. They did, in some ways, each told their stories of how crooked and horrid things can go when you let it so. Extremely explicit and visual in the depiction of gory details. This is the only work of novel so far that when I was bombarded with "what you're reading?" from my already-19-yet-a-bit-naive-students, I actually halted them from flipping; after my honest general description of the storyline they retreated willingly on their own. I have always been a bit of a fan for Chuck Palahniuk, especially since Lullaby. But when I first got hold of a new copy of "Haunted" a few years back, I actually put it back down. I couldn't get pass the boring bus trip (prelude) and was not warmed to the idea of a compilation of short stories. Now, on a re-read (or first reading in truth) of "Haunted", it is actually quite interesting. If the attention can for once not only focus on goriness, then one can see how human behaviour sometimes is more suitable as materials for nightmares then their supernatural counterpart. For the highly controversial "Guts", I didn't mind the corn and peanuts, it was more so the idea of how desperate we can be when we are truly desperate, and hope that I would never put myself to this extent of desperation.
Date published: 2009-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gut-Wrenching Here is the twisted story about a group of writers with writers’ block. They answer an ad to have this cured. Basically they all think they are going to a secluded place for a month to focus on their thoughts and write the best story known to man. Once they get there, they realize it’s nothing more than a prison. They are locked inside a house with enough food to last the month but it wasn’t the paradise they were expecting. Haunted is a collection of short stories within a longer story. The short stories are of how each character came to be in the house, and the longer story is what they do when they are there. Believe me, it’s gruesome! I was reading this book through squinted eyes hoping nothing would come out and get me. They compete in a twisted game of “who can survive the worst amount of pain and suffering” so that when they leave the house they will be the one with the most gut-wrenching but heroic survival story. Read more at: http://justkickinit.ca/2008/09/27/haunted-by-chuck-palahniuk/
Date published: 2008-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunted doesn't even cut it! *shudders* If you can make it past the first chapter, then you can surely read the entire book. I started reading this on the bus, and I can only imagine what my face (horror struck) looked like to other riders. Truly haunting and completely disturbing, Palahniuk takes you off to a "writer's retreat" for a couple of months with a group of people who share their stories. Right from the start, something is "off" and it doesn't take long for things to start getting creepy.
Date published: 2008-08-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The bowling ball was a police cover-up: A review of Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk I finally built up the nerve to read HAUNTED. When Chuck Palahniuk came to Winnipeg in 2007 during the RANT tour he read the story “Guts.” You know all the rumours about “the guts effect” – about how people pass out during the reading of the story? I didn’t pass out, but almost. It was the corn and peanuts. I’ve been putting this one off . . . so that’s bias. Here’s the review. I don’t think this is Palahniuk’s best work. There are, however, some really good stories here. “Guts” is a story for the history books. It is the first short so you’ll be done with it quickly. “Slumming” is pure Tom Wolfe, in my opinion. Slumming is about rich people slumming, poverty is the new rich, etc etc. This is a mirror of Wolfe’s essay on the Radical Chic . . . well done and brutal in Palahniuk’s special way. “Hot Potting” is truly gruesome and “Punch Drunk” made me laugh most of the way through. I think “Exodus” is a masterpiece: “This is just what human beings do – turn objects into people, people into objects” (158). No one knew just how ready she would be. Straight to it: I could have done without the entire writers’ collective retreat. I found it unnecessary, a bit confusing, and under-written. Not to mention that there is too many characters and you just don’t really care about any of them . . . so when they lop off their digits (see also Katherine Dunn, Geek Love) you aren’t really much bothered by it. A few too many clichés as it unfolds. But . . . as a collection of short stories Haunted is quite good. The bonus feature is this. Haunted reads very much like Chuck Palahniuk’s “philosophy.” It is a collection of poetry, short stories, and the narrative about the retreat . . . but we encounter in aphoristic form most of what Palahniuk holds dear. At times it reads like an autobiography as odd as that might sound. Not an autobiography in any literal sense, I hope. The margins that fall apart. The horrific. Going to the place you fear. Holding on to the story to make sense of things. Telling the story. Breaking yourself to make something better. Losing everything to be free. Accepting things how they are. Knowing that you’re going to die. Taking hold of one’s destiny: “Yes, terrible things happen, but sometimes those terrible things – they save you” (205). All the classic Palahniukian themes are here and illustrated through these shorts . . .and that’s the reason to cherish this disgusting and grotesque collection. “… Offer the chance to punch your face at ten bucks a shot, and you can make some real money” (183).
Date published: 2008-06-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horrible rather than Horror This book is a complete waste of time. In this book Palahnuik is just "gross" of the sake of disturbing the reader. And even at that he fails, this book did not disturb me, this book failed to illicit any reaction from me beyond boredom, and annoyance at having wasted my time.
Date published: 2008-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from one of the best This is definately one of Chuck Palahniuk's best novels out there. How someone can juggle so many main characters i dont know, but he pulls it off and keeps you lapping up every word. Hes a genius and this book proves it.
Date published: 2008-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not a book for everyone This was only my second Palahniuk novel, and boy was I unprepared. I want to say I enjoyed the book, but saying that I enjoyed it sort of gives me the feeling that I'm sick and twisted. The book is one to read if you too are sick and twisted with an incredibly dark sense of humour. I read things in this book that I actually couldn't believe I was reading. At several points I had to go back and read again what I thought was simply too twisted to be in a book. Each time it was real. I was reading it. It was generally after these realizations that I had to put the book down and take a break. Kudos to Chuck Palahniuk for making me feel more uncomfortable than I have ever felt while reading a book.
Date published: 2008-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Yay for Yuck This book was foul... as in incredibly gross. I swear I read most of this novel cringing and shuddering. It was so very odd, and yet somehow humourous and engaging. Wierd.
Date published: 2008-01-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disgusting and not in the way I thought! I like scary books. I like gory books. I do not like books where little boys please themselves in odd ways. EW. I was so not expecting this and to be honest I didn't even finish the first "short story."
Date published: 2007-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never will CPR be the same.... Love Chuck. Love this book. Let the cynics and manics unite!
Date published: 2007-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nauseating I found myself more than once having difficulty continuing reading Haunted. At times the novel got so graphic I had to force myself to turn the page. Now that I've finished the novel I can truly appreciate the amount of exposure that Chuck Palahniuk put in Haunted and how glad I am I kept turning the pages. Haunted may not be for the faint at heart, but even those that get nauseated easily should pull up a seat and read Haunted. Simply just to read Haunted for its controversial views is reason enough to go and purchase this novel by Chuck Palahniuk. The issues he covers in Haunted about society are complex and insightful; a 360 degree view of life in the 21st century. Reading Haunted is almost like reading the development and growth of anti-morals in our society. Teaching you the different levels of how people and society have become corrupted. In the end, I loved this book, I think everyone should read it, even though its left me scarred for life.
Date published: 2006-12-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Haunted? More like bored If you're looking for a book that will scare you, make your hair stand straight and keep you up at night......this isn't the one! I have no idea what the numerous reviewers were thinking when they went on and on about how gory and terrifying this book was......cuz it wasn't...with the exception of the first short story "Guts". The plot of the story is very weak and i struggled trying to get through to the end. The only thing that kept me going were the short stories in between, and I still do not understand what the purpose of this "writers retreat" was. This novel shouldn't be considered a horror novel but a comedy....a sick comedy but a comedy nonetheless. I laughed at a couple of stories due to how sick and strange they were....sick but not scary. Save your money and just borrow this book from the library.
Date published: 2006-06-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definitely Haunting Though not for every reader, Palahniuk fans will enjoy something new in a familiar style. Chuck's addictively cynical view of the 21st century seeps through, as he once again chronicles the antics of the depraved. This story of desperate authors blurs the lines between victim and aggressor as they find themselves trapped in a theater while collectively writing a novel. His anti-heroes will leave you afraid to turn the page, but afraid not to. A word to the wise: wait a half -hour after eating before you sink your teeth into this macabre tale.
Date published: 2006-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So sick it's so good If you like your head being played with, this is the book to read. I went from laughing, to feeling sick to my stomach in 2 seconds flat. Every character's story will keep you wondering what the next in line has to say. I've found myself thinking "what the.." during the narrator's storytelling and was questionning myself; "Would I be doing the same thing this group of people is doing? Is fame and fortune worth it?" Overall an entertaining read but most likely not for everyone. This novel is blunt with a capital B. This is my first Chuck Palahniuk book. Fight Club is my favorite movie and I'll be buying the book soon, as well as all the other books by this author.
Date published: 2006-06-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Readers Beware Chuck Palahniuk is most known as the author of Fight Club, the book that became the movie with Brad Pitt and Ed Norton; and overnight Palahniuk had a cult following. Erie, scary, and terrifying; if I had to use three words to describe this book, that would be it. Robert A. Heinlien the classic Science Fiction author once quipped “One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.” Of this book I would state, “One man’s perversion is another man’s pleasure.” This book will hit both, depending on who you are and your sensibilities. This book is a collection of short stories, written by characters who are on a writer’s retreat. They all responded to an ad to give up three months of your life and create the masterpiece you have always said you would . Each of the 18 respondents had an idea of where they would be going - to a large country estate, a camp in the woods; yet the reality is they get locked into an old ornate theatre house. They have food, shelter, and facilities, yet all doors are locked, all windows bricked over and no way out. From there the book becomes a cross between Fear Factor, Survivor and your most feared horror story. We see the depths to which people will descend to achieve fame and riches. Palahniuk, during the current book tour, was reading the first story called ‘Guts’ and to date there have been 63 people who have passed out with many people being injured falling into book cases in book stores. This book will at times, turn your stomach, but will give you an understanding of the darkest side of human nature. Readers beware! This book is like the fight club movie on super steroids.
Date published: 2005-09-17

Read from the Book

Guinea PigsThis was supposed to be a writers' retreat. It was supposed to be safe.An isolated writers' colony, where we could work,run by an old, old, dying man named Whittier,until it wasn't.And we were supposed to write poetry. Pretty poetry.This crowd of us, his gifted students,locked away from the ordinary world for three months.And we called each other the "Matchmaker." And the "Missing Link."Or "Mother Nature." Silly labels. Free-association names.The same way--when you were little--you invented names for the plants andanimals in your world. You called peonies--sticky with nectar and crawling withants--the "ant flower." You called collies: Lassie Dogs.But even now, the same way you still call someone "that man with one leg."Or, "you know, the black girl . . ."We called each other:The "Earl of Slander."Or "Sister Vigilante."The names we earned, based on our stories. The names we gave each other,based on our life instead of our family:"Lady Baglady.""Agent Tattletale."Names based on our sins instead of our jobs:"Saint Gut-Free."And the "Duke of Vandals."Based on our faults and crimes. The opposite of superhero names.Silly names for real people. As if you cut open a rag doll and found inside:Real intestines, real lungs, a beating heart, blood. A lot of hot, sticky blood.And we were supposed to write short stories. Funny short stories.Too many of us, locked away from the world for one wholespring, summer, winter, autumn--one whole season of that year.It doesn't matter who we were as people, not to old Mr. Whittier.But he didn't say this at first.To Mr. Whittier, we were lab animals. An experiment.But we didn't know.No, this was only a writers' retreat until it was too late for us to be anything,except his victims.1.When the bus pulls to the corner where Comrade Snarky had agreed to wait, she stands there in an army-surplus flak jacket--dark olive-green--and baggy camouflage pants, the cuffs rolled up to show infantry boots. A suitcase on either side of her. With a black beret pulled down tight on her head, she could be anyone."The rule was . . . ," Saint Gut-Free says into the microphone that hangs above his steering wheel.And Comrade Snarky says, "Fine." She leans down to unbuckle a luggage tag off one suitcase. Comrade Snarky tucks the luggage tag in her olive-green pocket, then lifts the second suitcase and steps up into the bus. With one suitcase still on the curb, abandoned, orphaned, alone, Comrade Snarky sits down and says, "Okay."She says, "Drive."We were all leaving notes, that morning. Before dawn. Sneaking out on tiptoe with our suitcase down dark stairs, then along dark streets with only garbage trucks for company. We never did see the sun come up.Sitting next to Comrade Snarky, the Earl of Slander was writing something in a pocket notepad, his eyes flicking between her and his pen.And, leaning over sideways to look, Comrade Snarky says, "My eyes are green, not brown, and my hair is naturally this color auburn." She watches as he writes green, then says, "And I have a little red rose tattooed on my butt cheek." Her eyes settle on the silver tape recorder peeking out of his shirt pocket, the little-mesh microphone of it, and she says, "Don't write dyed hair. Women either lift or tint the color of their hair."Near them sits Mr. Whittier, where his spotted, trembling hands can grip the folded chrome frame of his wheelchair. Beside him sits Mrs. Clark, her breasts so big they almost rest in her lap.Eyeing them, Comrade Snarky leans into the gray flannel sleeve of the Earl of Slander. She says, "Purely ornamental, I assume. And of no nutritive value . . ."That was the day we missed our last sunrise.At the next dark street corner, where Sister Vigilante stands waiting, she holds up her thick black wristwatch, saying, "We agreed on four-thirty-five." She taps the watch face with her other hand, saying, "It is now four-thirty-nine . . ."Sister Vigilante, she brought a fake-leather case with a strap handle, a flap that closed with a snap to protect the Bible inside. A purse handmade to lug around the Word of God.All over the city, we waited for the bus. At street corners or bus-stop benches, until Saint Gut-Free drove up. Mr. Whittier sitting near the front with Mrs. Clark. The Earl of Slander. Comrade Snarky and Sister Vigilante.Saint Gut-Free pulls the lever to fold open the door, and standing on the curb is little Miss Sneezy. The sleeves of her sweater lumpy with dirty tissues stuffed inside. She lifts her suitcase and it rattles loud as popcorn in a microwave oven. With every step up the stairs into the bus, the suitcase rattles loud as far-off machine-gun fire, and Miss Sneezy looks at us and says, "My pills." She gives the suitcase a loud shake and says, "A whole three months' supply . . ."That's why the rule about only so much luggage. So we would all fit.The only rule was one bag per person, but Mr. Whittier didn't say how big or what kind.When Lady Baglady climbed on board, she wore a diamond ring the size of a popcorn kernel, her hand holding a leash, the leash dragging a leather suitcase on little wheels.Waving her fingers to make her ring sparkle, Lady Baglady says, "It's my late husband, cremated and made into a three-carat diamond . . ."At that, Comrade Snarky leans over the notepad where the Earl of Slander is writing, and she says, "Facelift is one word."A few blocks later, after a couple traffic lights and around some corners waits Chef Assassin, carrying a molded aluminum suitcase with, inside, all his white elastic underpants and T-shirts and socks folded down to squares tight as origami. Plus a matched set of chef's knives. Under that, his aluminum suitcase is solid-packed with banded stacks of money, all of it hundred-dollar bills. All of it so heavy he used both hands to lift it into the bus.Down another street, under a bridge and around the far side of a park, the bus pulled to the curb where no one seemed to wait. There the man we called the "Missing Link" stepped out of the bushes near the curb. Balled in his arms, he carried a black garbage bag, torn and leaking plaid flannel shirts.Looking at the Missing Link, but talking sideways to the Earl of Slander, Comrade Snarky said, "His beard looks like something Hemingway might've shot . . ."The dreaming world, they'd think we were crazy. Those people still in bed, they'd be asleep another hour, then washing their faces, under their arms, and between their legs, before going to the same work they did every day. Living that same life, every day.Those people would cry to find us gone, but they would cry, too, if we were boarding a ship to start a new life across some ocean. Emigrating. Pioneers.This morning, we were astronauts. Explorers. Awake while they slept.These people would cry, but then they would go back to waiting tables, painting houses, programming computers.At our next stop, Saint Gut-Free swung open the doors, and a cat ran up the steps and down the aisle between the seats of the bus. Behind the cat came Director Denial, saying, "His name is Cora." The cat's name was Cora Reynolds. "I didn't name him," said Director Denial, the tweed blazer and skirt she wore frosted with cat hair. One lapel swollen out from her chest."A shoulder holster," says Comrade Snarky, leaning close to tell the tape recorder in the Earl of Slander's shirt pocket.All of this--whispering in the dark, leaving notes, keeping secret--it was our adventure.If you were planning to be stranded on a desert island for three months, what would you bring along?Let's say all your food and water would be provided, or so you think.Let's say you can only bring along one suitcase because there will be a lot of you, and the bus taking you all to the desert island is only so big.What would you pack in your suitcase?Saint Gut-Free brought boxes of pork-rind snacks and dried cheese puffs, his fingers and chin orange with the salt dust. One bony hand gripping the steering wheel, he tilted each box to pour the snacks into his thin face.Sister Vigilante brought a shopping bag of clothes with a satchel bag set in the top.Leaning over her own huge breasts, holding them like a child in her arms, Mrs. Clark asked, did Sister Vigilante bring along a human head?And Sister Vigilante opened the satchel far enough to show the three holes of a black bowling ball, saying, "My hobby . . ."Comrade Snarky looks from the Earl of Slander scribbling into his notepad, then looks at Sister Vigilante's braided-tight black hair, not one strand pulling loose from its pins."That," Comrade Snarky says, "is tinted hair."At our next stop, Agent Tattletale stood with a video camera held to one eye, filming the bus as it pulled to the curb. He brought a stack of business cards he passed out to prove he was a private detective. With his video camera held as a mask covering half his face, he filmed us, walking down the aisle to an empty seat at the back, blinding everyone with his spotlight.A city block later, the Matchmaker climbed on board, tracking horse shit on his cowboy boots. A straw cowboy hat in his hands and a duffel bag hung over one shoulder, he sat and peeled back his window and spit brown tobacco juice down the brushed-steel side of the bus.This is what we brought along for three months outside of the world. Agent Tattletale, his video camera. Sister Vigilante, her bowling ball. Lady Baglady, her diamond ring. This is what we'd need to write our stories. Miss Sneezy, her pills and tissues. Saint Gut-Free, his snack food. The Earl of Slander, his notebook and tape recorder.Chef Assassin, his knives.In the dim light of the bus, we all spied on Mr. Whittier, the workshop organizer. Our teacher. You could see the spotted shiny dome of his scalp under the few gray hairs combed across. The button-down collar of his shirt stood up, a starched white fence around his thin, spotted neck."The people you're sneaking away from," Mr. Whittier would say, "they don't want you enlightened. They want to know what to expect."Mr. Whittier would tell you, "You cannot be the person they know and the great, glorious person you want to become. Not at the same time."The people who really, actually loved us, Mr. Whittier said they'd beg us to go. To fulfill our dream. Practice our craft. And they would love us when we all came back.In three months.The little bit of life we'd each gamble.We'd risk.This much time, we'd bet on our own ability to create some masterpiece. A short story or poem or screenplay or memoir that would make sense of our life. A masterpiece that would buy our way out of slavery to a husband or a parent or a corporation. That would earn our freedom.All of us, driving along the empty streets in the dark. Miss Sneezy fishes a damp tissue out of her sweater sleeve and blows her nose. She sniffs and says, "Sneaking out this way, I was so afraid of getting caught." Tucking the tissue back inside her cuff, she says, "I feel just like . . . Anne Frank."Comrade Snarky digs the luggage tag out of her jacket pocket, the remains of her abandoned suitcase. Her abandoned life. And, turning the tag over and over in her hand, still looking at it, Comrade Snarky says, "The way I see it . . ." She says, "Anne Frank had life pretty good."And Saint Gut-Free, his mouth full of corn chips, watching us all in the rearview mirror, chewing salt and fat, he says, "How's that?"Director Denial pets her cat. Mrs. Clark pets her breasts. Mr. Whittier, his chrome wheelchair.Under a streetlight, on a corner up ahead, the dark outline of another would-be writer waits."At least Anne Frank," Comrade Snarky said, "never had to tour with her book . . ."And Saint Gut-Free hits the air brakes and cranks the steering wheel to pull over.LandmarksA Poem About Saint Gut-Free"Here's the job I left to come here," the Saint says. "And the life I gave up."He used to drive a tour bus.Saint Gut-Free onstage, his arms folded across his chest--so skinnyhis hands can touch in the middle of his backThere stands Saint Gut-Free, with a single coat of skin painted on his skeleton.His collarbones loop out from his chest, big as grab handles.His ribs show through his white T-shirt, and his belt--instead of his butt--keeps up his blue jeans.Onstage, instead of a spotlight, a movie fragment:the colors of houses and sidewalks, street signs and parked cars,wipe sideways across his face. A mask of heavy traffic. Vans and trucks.He says, "That job, driving tour bus . . ."It was all Japanese, Germans, Koreans, all with English as a second language, with phrasebooks clutched in one hand, nodding and smiling at whatever he told themicrophone as he steered the bus around corners, down streets, past the houses ofmovie stars or extra-bloody murders, apartments where rock stars had overdosed.Every day the same tour, the same mantra of murder, movie stars, accidents. Placeswhere peace treaties got signed. Where presidents had slept.Until that day Saint Gut-Free stops in front of a picket-fence ranch house, just a detourto see if his parents' four-door Buick is there, if this is still where they live,where pacing the front yard is a man, pushing a lawn mower.There, into his microphone, the Saint tells his air-conditioned cargo:"You're looking at Saint Mel."And, his father squinting at the wall of tinted bus windows,"The Patron Saint of Shame and Rage," says Gut-Free.After that, every day, the tour includes "The Shrine of Saint Mel and Saint Betty."Saint Betty being the Patron Saint of Public Humiliation.Parked in front of his sister's condo highrise, Saint Gut-Free points tosome high-up floor. Up there, the shrine of Saint Wendy."The Patron Saint of Therapeutic Abortion."Parked in front of his own apartment,he tells the bus, "There's the shrine of Saint Gut-Free,"the Saint himself, his pigeon shoulders, rubber-band lips, and baggy shirt,reflected even smaller in the rearview mirror."The Patron Saint of Masturbation."While each seat in his bus, nodding heads, craning their necks, they look to seesomething divine.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Reading a Palahniuk novel is like getting zipped inside a boxer’s heavy bag while the author goes to work on you, pounding you until there is nothing left but a big bag of bones and blood and pain.” —The Miami Herald“To Palahniuk’s credit, there is something here to appall almost every sensibility. The author has a singular knack for coming up with inventive new ways to shock and degrade.”—The New York Post“Frequently entertaining [and] often appalling. . . . There are paragraphs here—entire pages, in fact—that are as disgusting as anything I’ve ever read. Truly vivid and harrowing (and often quite funny).”—Minneapolis Star Tribune“Summer reading for people who like their lit doused in bodily fluids.. . . Haunted has an anarchic sensibility that hurdles over the top.”—Time Out New York “Chuck Palahniuk is one of the most intriguing writers of our time. [Haunted ] is a blend of stories that are among the most horrifying, stomach-churning and mind-blowing tales ever encountered.” —Tucson Citizen“Chuck Palahniuk’s rightful place is among literary giants. He combines the masculinity of Ernest Hemingway, the satirical bent of Juvenal and the attitude of Lenny Bruce.” —Greensboro News & Record “To Palahniuk’s credit, there is something here to appall almost every sensibility. The author has a singular knack for coming up with inventive new ways to shock and degrade.” —New York Post “Funny, always on the edge of reality and bloodied by the profound horror of narcissism.” —Playboy “Place this bet in your time capsule: Chuck Palahniuk’s novels will be required reading in American literature classes 100 years from now.” —The Fort Myers News-Press “Palahniuk is as unique and colorful as ever.” —The Onion “Searing and honest. ...His nasty detail and unimaginably horrible scenarios will give some people nightmares. This creepy ?ction masterpiece could be the de?nitive novel of our time for its genre.” —The Cincinnati News Record “Chuck Palahniuk appears to be going around the bend. ...A satire of reality television–an effective one–but also an homage to horror stories and a meditation on pop culture.” —The Seattle Times “The most original work of ?ction this year.” —The Guardian (London) “Chuck Palahniuk is up to his old tricks. ...His prose is, as always, gorgeous.” —Entertainment Weekly “One part Canterbury Tales, one part Lord of the Flies, and 100 percent classic Palahniuk. ...[His] grisliest book yet.” —Broward—Palm Beach New Times