Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

Yeah...unless you like a LOT of gore and disturbing mental images, shy away from this one folks.

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, the author that brought us Fight Club.

When I picked it up, the back cover caught my eye: "Writers' Retreat: Abandon your life for three months. Just disappear. Leave behind everything that keeps you from creating your pasterpiece. Your job and family and home, all those oblications and distractions--put them on hold for three months.

Live with like minded people in a setting that supports total immersion in your work. Food and lodging included free for those who qualify. Gamble a small fraction of your like on the chance to create a new future as a professional poet, novelist, screenwriter.

Before it's too late, live the life you dream about. Spaces very limited."

Sounds interesting, doesn't it?

I LOVED how it was written, just the subject matter got to really gross me out about 3/4ths the way through. The story progresses in a pattern:
1. You learn about what these people are actually doing being locked up in this place. All the drama, discussions, and impressions.
2. You get a poem about an individual, which leads into.
3. The story about each individual.

The pattern repeats through the entire book. If it was straight through the gross stuff, I would have checked it in a long time ago, but it was excellent the way it was delivered.

After about the first week, they begin to sabatoge their environment, they want out and will do anything to get out. Tear apart the furnace, destroy the food rations, break the washer and dryer. Eventually, people begin to turn against their supposed captor and begin creating their own collective story about how they were kidnapped, tortured, and starved while locked in this place. They go as so far as to killing themselves to "sell" their collective story to the media when they get out. They mutilate themselves with the intention of blaming it on their captor, they create a new villan when one dies. They have a frank discussion how every drama must have a love interest and a couple is created for the sake of the story. So what happens to these people when they're actually set free after three months?

The stories, both of the characters and of the actual plot, are not for the quaint of heart. Some are PG-13, some come right out of a mentally unstable individual. And you won't be hungry when you put the book down.

One saving grace is the creater of the retreat is full of Tyler Durden-esque ranting. Nice in some fashion, but they're buried in the gore.

If you like gore with some deep thought intermixed, pick it up. Otherwise, stay away.

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