DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Haunted... A trip way beyond your comfort zone...

Chuck Palahniuk

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

How does one go about reviewing a book like Haunted?
Well, you could play it straight and write a brief plot synopsis, pick out some of the fantastic elements that the author has conjured up and maybe pass comment on the sickness which permeates this fictional insanity inducing collection of short stories wrapped up in a freakily wonderful novel… but where’s the fun in that?

What we have here are 23 stories bound together to create a novel. Each is told by a writer and each writer taking part on a ‘writers' retreat’ away from society, far away from the hum drum distractions of modern life and unfortunately for them… away from help of any kind… this is a retreat with a difference, there may be no coming back…

But anyway – you don’t really need to know anything more about the plot, all you need to know is that if you choose to read Haunted – you will probably never be the same again… This is XXX stuff, class ‘A’ horror that will make you squirm, make you gag and make you ponder your life in ways you may not have otherwise. You could try to make out that it’s cheap and exploitative, you could say that it will only appeal to those looking for macabre thrills of an extreme nature or claim that no ‘normal’ person should subject themselves to this kind of filth, the kind that indelibly stains your brain, but if you did that, I think you might have missed the point.

Palahniuk is one of my favourite authors, with Fight Club and Lullaby two of my favorite novels – not to mention Fight Club the film which I adore… If you’ve read of even heard of his novels you should to know to approach with caution but with Haunted, bad boy Chuck takes it to a whole new level: this novel is not for the faint-hearted.
Haunted is a turbo charged assault on senses. 23 eye watering punches to the face. A work of exceptional originality. A catalogue of appalling events to which you as the reader will become an accomplice. A pressure cooker of distilled suspense, an overdose of intellectual ferocity which could only ever be attempted by a few writers and done successfully by maybe just this one?

Unforgettable tales about the Nightmare Box, Breather Betty and Guts are waiting to make your acquaintance but as I might have mentioned, this is a trip not suited to those who are easily freaked (or those who just don’t want to know what lurks under the façade of everyday ‘sanity’).
Instead of providing a sample passage, it’s entirely better if you face your fears and take on one of the most hardcore of the 23 stories in full – if you have the ‘guts’ follow this link but I take no responsibility if it makes you sick / faint / grossed out:


Final note (from The Guardian): “In these days when our sensibilities are dulled by the excesses of TV and films, when terror outrages come only third or fourth in the news headlines, I had felt myself to be more or less hardened against horror stories. Reading "Guts" proved me wrong. While it did not make me faint, it certainly put me off my lunch. It is a remarkable passage in a remarkable book, the most original work of fiction this year.”
I concur…

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action ööö - unusual pace but compelling throughout
Laughs ööö – very funny in places (don't look at me like that)
Horror ööööö – demented amounts of grimness
Babes ööö – seriously sick individuals might get off on this

Overall ööööö (face the disturbing darkness of the human soul)

My review of Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

Darkmatters: H O M E

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