Haunted (novel)

Haunted (novel)

infobox Book |
name = Haunted
title_orig =
translator =

image_caption = First edition cover
author = Chuck Palahniuk
illustrator =
cover_artist = Jacket design by Rodrigo Corral Design
Jacket illustration by Jeff Middleton
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Horror, Satirical novel, Dark comedy
publisher = Doubleday
release_date = May 3, 2005
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback), audio cassette, audio CD, and audio download
pages = 404 pp (first edition, hardcover)
isbn = ISBN 0-385-50948-0 (first edition, hardcover)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"Haunted" is a 2005 novel by Chuck Palahniuk. The plot is a frame story for a series of 23 short stories, most preceded by a free verse poem. Each story is followed by a chapter of the main narrative, is told by a character in main narrative, and ties back into the main story in some way.

The synopsis on the dustjacket describes "Haunted" as a satire of reality television, but according to Palahniuk, the novel is actually about "the battle for credibility" that has resulted from the ease with which one can publish through the use of modern technology.ref|metro According to comments at a 2005 appearance in Miami, Florida, Palahniuk listened to "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus for "inspiration" while writing "Haunted".Fact|date=July 2007

The cover of the 2006 U.S. trade paperback reprint features a glow-in-the-dark image.

Plot introduction

The main story centers on a group of 17 individuals (all of which go by nicknames based on the story they tell) who have decided to participate in a secret writer's retreat. After having noticed an invitation to the retreat posted on the bulletin board of a cafe in Oregon, the characters follow instructions on the invitation to meet Mr. Whittier, the retreat's organizer. Whittier tells them to each wait for a bus to pick them up the next morning and bring only what they can fit into one piece of luggage (in particular, only what they feel they need most).

The next day, the 17 characters, Whittier, and his assistant Ms. Clark are all driven to an abandoned theatre. There, Whittier locks all of them inside the theatre, telling them they have three months to each write one story before he will allow them to leave. In the meantime, they will have enough food and water to survive, as well as heat, electricity, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a clothes washing and drying machine provided.

The characters live under harmless conditions at first. However, the characters (not including Whittier or Clark) eventually decide that they could make a better story of their own suffering inside the theatre, and thereby become rich after the public discovers their fate. They then begin to individually sabotage the food and utilities provided to them, each character trying to only destroy one food or utility to slightly increase the drama of their stay. However, as no single character is aware of the others' plans, they end up destroying all their food and utilities, forcing all of them to struggle to survive starvation, cold, and darkness.

The format of the book is unique. Each chapter contains 3 sections: a story chapter, a poem about a particular writer on the tour (its author is unknown) and a story written by that writer.


The following are the 19 characters in the main narrative, along with the stories they tell:


The book is best known for the short story "Guts", which had been published previous to the book in the March 2004 issue of "Playboy" magazine as well as on Palahniuk's website (Palahniuk offered to let them publish another story along with it, but the publishers found the second work too disturbing). It is a tale of violent accidents involving masturbation where the reader is told "to hold his breath" in the very first line.

While on his 2003 tour to promote his novel "Diary", Palahniuk read "Guts" to his audiences. It was reported that over 35 people fainted while listening to the readings. On his tour to promote "" in the summer of 2004, he read the story to audiences again, bringing the total amount of fainters up to 53, and later up to 60, while on tour to promote the softcover edition of "Diary". The last fainting occurred on May 28, 2007, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where 5 people fainted, one of which occurred when a man was trying to leave the auditorium, which resulting in him falling and hitting his head on the door. Palahniuk is apparently not bothered by these incidents, which have not stopped fans from reading "Guts" or his other works.

In a September 2004 reading of "Guts" at Cooper Union in New York City, no listener admitted to fainting. When Palahniuk showed surprise, many members of the audience replied, "This is New York!" in a nod to the alleged inability to shock the city's denizens.

Plot summary

"Guts" begins with the narrator telling the reader to hold their breath for the duration of the story.

The narrator then describes three unnerving incidents involving adolescent boys masturbating. First, he describes a boy inserting a lubricated carrot into his rectum to stimulate his prostate while masturbating, and then hiding the carrot in a pile of laundry. His mother later takes the laundry away and presumably discovers the lubricated carrot, but never mentions it to him. Next, the narrator describes a young boy inserting a thin stick of candle wax into his urethra to stimulate it while masturbating. The wax slips back into the boy's bladder, requiring surgery to remove it. Finally, the narrator describes an incident in which he sat on the water intake at the bottom of a swimming pool while masturbating. The suction caused his rectum and lower intestines to prolapse and become tangled in the filter, forcing the narrator to gnaw through his own innards in order to free himself and avoid drowning. The narrator's sister later becomes impregnated by semen deposited by the narrator in the pool, which results in her having an abortion.

In all three cases, although the parents of the boys involved knew about the incident, they never discussed it afterwards, causing all three to figuratively "hold their breath" while they waited for the reaction that never came.

Purportedly all three of these incidents are based on true stories. According to Palahniuk, the first two tales came from his friends' experiences and the third he heard while shadowing sexual addiction support groups as research for "Choke". In one of these groups, he met an extremely thin man. When Palahniuk asked him how he stayed so thin, he told him "I had a massive bowel resectioning." When Palahniuk asked what he meant, he told him the story which was the basis for the third episode in "Guts".


*ISBN 0-385-50948-0 (hardcover, 2005)
*ISBN 1-4000-3282-2 (paperback, 2006)


*Atchison, Chris. " [http://www.metronews.ca/books_review.asp?id=9056 Author comes back swinging: Fight Club writer says we're Haunted] ". "Metro Toronto". June 20, 2005. ( [ Google cache] )

External links

* [http://www.haunted-book.com Official book website]
* [http://www.chuckpalahniuk.net/books/haunted/haunted Information about "Haunted" at "ChuckPalahniuk.net"]

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