So I went to a very tiny library for the first time ever. Library was so tiny that the only book by Chuck Palahniuk was Haunted. (They only had three Stephen King books shelved!)I was hoping to find Choke or Diary as my Palahniuk cherry-popping experience. Alas, I made due with Haunted which I’ve heard nothing about prior to the day I started reading it.

Since then I heard that the first short story was actually featured in Playboy.

Also, my brother said he heard during the public readings of this novel, people actually threw up.

Anyway, I did write down a few quotations into my reading journal:

War. Starvation. Plague. They fast-track us to enlightenment.”

“It’s the mark of a very, very young soul to try and fix the world. TO try and save anyone from their ration of misery.”

“In our secret heart’s heart, we love to root against the hometeam. Against humanity. It’s us against us. You, the victim of yourself.”

“We’re born to suffer. The irony is if you can accept that- you’ll never again suffer.”

“The same mistakes we made as cavemen, we still make… Maybe we’re living the exact way we’re meant to live.”

“We have pain and hate and love and joy and war in the world because we want them. And we want all that drama to prepare us for the test of facing death, someday.”

“The difference between how you look and how you see yourself is enough to kill most people.”

Comprised of 24 short stories, the novel is basically a collection of very grotesque tales depicting a wide range of gore not excluding cannibalism, self-mutilation, rape, throat slitting, sodomy, you name it, Palahniuk wrote it. Each story was written by one of the 24 striving writers in the novel. All lured by the same writer’s retreat ad. The stories got kind of ridiculous. Too over the top. Too sensational. Eventually, I got a little tired and a little bored with it. It could also be I found the novel tried too hard to tie in the idea that we are our own victims. We’re our own worst enemies. We cut off our own toes and lock ourselves in a our hell. Blah blah, we get it. I was disappointed because the premise of the book had so much potential. Writers trapped by a sadistic young young old old man. So much you could do with that! After a few chapters I started to see it wasn’t really going anywhere. Gah. I give it 2 stars.

P.S. I must say the first story grossed me out the most and also happened to be my favorite. Amazingly disgusting. If you were going to pick up this novel, I recommend just skimming and picking out some of the short stories to read on its own. Read the first one fo sho.