i can stomach almost anything, when reading. but when i read the "microwaved ass eaten by its owner" part in "haunted" i had to stop reading and sit down to not black out. this was early in the morning on an empty stomach.
but when i picked up reading the scene on my way home i again had to sit down on the side of the road. people looked funny but i guess i looked funny, too.
the rest of the book went smoothly, though.
give me a quick hint on the "guts" part. is it this swimming pool scene?
Looks like you and I both are terribly numb to gruesome aspects of the novel! Could it be that we have become accustomed to it due to the "violence, sex, gore etc" of our generation? LOL
Yup, the swimming pool scene. That was the only one that stood out to me that people would be sickened by. The microwaved ass didn't even stand out to me!
I must have been severely desensitized LOL.
I really loved this book, and none of it grossed me out, including the microwaved ass part. We're all just too desensitized, I guess. (well, some of us)
I heard of people fainting at readings of Guts, which I find pretty ridiculous. To go to a Palahniuk reading and not expect something like this seems kind of crazy. I've seen him read twice. This past Labor Day he read in Seattle and during his reading he threw out many little bottles of liquor. Then he told a story about childhood masturbation. No fainting or vomiting, but he did tell us about disgusting the staff at a Barnes and Noble in Chicago with the story. The man is pretty great.
I hope he comes to Los Angeles! That sounds great!
His new book is due out in May. I'm figuring he'll have a solid tour for it. I've read all of his books that I know of and am a big fan.
This is my first--and to date, only-- book of his that I've read. But I guess I'm in the desensitized group... it just didn't affect me that strongly. It wasn't pretty, of course, but neither was it vomit-inducing.
I would love to see him give a reading. Too bad I'm out of the country!
I wonder if there's a difference between hearing it out loud and reading it. I've never heard of anybody getting sick or passing out while reading it, but only when listening to readings of it. So maybe there's a difference when one hears the story vice reading it.
I'll never get over the peanut-butter filled condom description though...
I saw Chuck read this story on his tour long before the book came out and he was fancy on bragging about his "body-count", that is how many people fainted or left his readings either wretching or just ready to right him off. About 17 people by his count walked out that night, it was something for sure. I have it video-taped. Maybe I should post to my blog so you folks can get the full effect.
I just started this book a couple nights ago. When I read the story by Saint Gut-Free I have to say that I was amazed at Palahniuk's imagination. I wasn't sickened -- that would take a whole lot of I-Don't-Know-What.
I'm drawn to Palahniuk because of his characters and his imagination. You might say I envy it, though what might that say about me? Hmm.
I wish someone else would join this discussion. I'm totally into this book and can't wait for work to end to get back into it. I've read so many negative reviews about this book, and frankly, I just don't get it. Maybe the whole thing falls apart in the end, who knows. Someone said there was no payoff. Perhaps that's true, but it's a rare book that keeps me so entertained that I become distracted at work.
Personally, I found Comrade Snarky's experience with her women's group more disturbing than "Guts". Possibly because Saint Gut-Free did it to himself; Comrade Snarky's story involved someone being hurt who was more or less innocent.
All of the book was imaginative and graphic - but I've been a fan of gore and blood for years.
I don't get affected much in books, but the first time I read "Guts" I hadn't even realized what I was reading and it was a bit shocking...though, more so in the context of where I read it. It was gross, but not too overly so. I found some of the other stories in the book to be more disturbing though.
Mmm...I think I have a stronger stomach and I can't say I was nauseated or faint at all after reading it. But I was really into it while reading it and that was the part that stood out to me as the sort of pinacle of the reading. I do recall squirming a great deal and walking around the house making faces in an attempt to clear my mind. But that was about it.
It is damn good reading. But I had trouble understanding why so many people would faint upon hearing it.
I agree, I did the same thing. I wasn't rushing to puke up my dinner but it wasn't something very nice to fall asleep thinking about. It would totally be different coming from a spoken narration rather than reading it. At least with reading, you can skip over parts you know aren't going to be very pretty.
i heard that chuck made people sick when he read "guts" to an audience... at least for me, it's always different hearing a story told to me rather than reading it from a book... it just always seems more real
ex: ghost stories around a camp fire... hearing the stories in that setting is MUCH scarier than reading ghost stories in the middle of the afternoon on the beach
so... maybe it was just the difference in the way you experienced the story that gave you a different reaction... or maybe you do just have a remarkably strong stomach
Leihrana's right. There's a great possibility that having it read out loud, especially from Chuck himself, was a lot different from just sitting there with the book reading it to yourself. I imagine that when Chuck does a reading, he makes it fairly dramatic and probably emphasizes certain sentences and details that a normal reader probably wouldn't make a big deal out of.
And who knows, those people might have just been predisposed to reacting badly to crowds in general. A touch of claustrophobia with having a graphic tale being told isn't the best combination.
Okay so yeah it's May and you wrote in January, but whatever. I LOVED this book. I had to write down all of the characters though. My friend introduced it to me while we were at Pineview (the only thing that comes even close to a beach in Utah) and she had me read guts and I couldn't put it down, no matter how nauseated I was. But then again, this sort of stuff is what I consider worth reading. My friend thought I was a total sinner. The end threw me off a little bit, so I should probably go back and read it. Totally one of those books that can be read over and over again.
would love to see that!
I didn't really have a problem with this story, but I fear this book has burned me out on Plahniuk once and for all. I get it, he knows many colorful things about sex and gore. I can't help but think that Graham Greene could've more subtlely drawn the same conclusions Palahniuk shoves down our throats in this one.
Maybe my stomach isn't as strong as everyone else, but I thought that many parts of this book were disgusting. They were gory just for shock, and there wasn’t much entertainment to them. Although I am a huge Palahniuk fan, I don’t think these stories were very creative or unique. Personally, I prefer Stranger than Fiction. Palahniuk is still by far my favorite author, but I don’t feel as though Haunted was as good as his others.
Well even with the Rant 2007 tour, we had people passing out over much much less. Maybe when you take into account the crowded room, overall heat capacity, and standing for long periods these things are just expected.
biting through his own intenstines got to me i'm not gonna lie
"Guts" really that bad?
One of the first short stories in this book, "Guts" was reported to have sickened many, many readers, and even induce vomiting during author readings. I read it and really didn't find it that nauseating. Are people blowing it out of proportion, or do I just have a remarkably strong stomach?
The most important stories in the collection are not the in your face graphic disturbing sick to your stomach ones. Meaning is found in the quieter stories of the mother, and the box of horror. The ache of beauty can be found there, inside of the corpse of the rest of the book.
I agree with the Nightmare Box part. That story just stays in you, unlike the sick parts, which have 'oomph' when first read, but don't have any lasting impact IMO
I have really loved all of Chuck Palahniuk's books, but I'm having the hardest time getting through this one. I may need to start over as it's been a long time.
it isn't you. that book really isn't that good. and the ending is horrible. i love chuck, but some of his books are a real bore.
a scary book but wanted never to end....
this book drug on. nothing ever happened. guess that was the point but i was not impressed. wouldn't recommend it.
this book drug on. nothing ever happened. guess that was the point but i was not impressed. wouldn't recommend it.
Wow. I didn't think I'd ever read a Palahniuk book that I DID NOT like. This was just pointless and, I agree, it drug on forever. The stories weren't great. I think he was mainly going for the shock value. This is one of his books that I just can't keep. Go for Lullaby, Fight Club, or Invisible Monsters. Don't waste your time on this one.
Haunted is an interesting step out of Palahniuks usual bounds. i found the book to have grotesque stories along with the sad, pathetic and just plain wicked. He is displaying almost every aspect of human nature and what people are willing to do to get that one great story. Palahniuk also takes this further into a place where the nightmares of the human mind manifest causing madness and surprisingly ultimate enlightenment. i enjoyed this book to the point that i did not want to put it down, like fight club and choke, but it was a different kind of appeal. Haunted was just my kind of delightfully disturbing i guess and in no way did the book drag, for me it did seem to race. i stand by the fact that it is a masterpiece and like any great work of art not everyone will see it.
I really agree with this review, just thought you should know, it seems like everyone thinks this book is hard to get through, but I had no problem, makes me want to look at your library...
I enjoyed it. I think alot of his other books are so repetitive that for me, they're sometimes hard to follow. This one one was clear cut and straightforward.
Yes it was quite disturbing and as everyone else has said, grotesque...but all of Chuck's books are. Sure I never read the book, unless my back was to a wall, but I loved it.
Boy, I have had so many customer recommend this book to me, that I really thought I would enjoy it. It was horrible. Totally pointless stories with a bizarre linkin g device, I gave up after reading about 2/3 of it.
It's a good thing Survivor was the first Palaniuk book I read, because had The Haunted been the first I would have likely never pick up another of his works.
This was my first Palahniuk novel. I must admit I was quite disapointed when I saw on the cover "a novel of stories". I didn't get very fond of the characters, but I liked the dark and twisted writing style. In my opinion, the stories would make great short movies, even thought some of them are quite grotesque. There is no great plot, just some bits of twisted reality showing how the human beings love their share of drama. I look forward on reading other Palahniuk novels.
I know I'm not the only one that thinks this is the worst Palahniuk novel. I quite enjoyed a lot of the stories, but the overall work wasn't that great.
I read all of his stuff like the addict that I am. In Haunted, the Adam and Eve story is one that I want to read as a full-length novel. Other than that, he was milking it. He's, no doubt, the author that I turn to for a fun time. Fight Club and Choke rise above anything else he's produced and I adore them; Haunted just wasn't a coherent work. There's splatterpunk out there that puts Haunted to shame. His forte truly resides in his ability to research a subject (in a horror genre kind of way if not an academic kind of way). True slice-'em-up shouldn't have the intellectual baggage, and I'll stand by the old splatter guys any day in that capacity.
I've read a few of Palahniuk's books and to date this was the most disappointing one. For me, Survivor and Lullaby are particularly good and highly recommend them to you Ioana.
Palahniuk states in his "Afterward (or Warning) of Sorts" that, "This would be a book you wouldn't want to keep next to your bed." And he was right! I agree with some of the reviews posted that much of this was for shock value - this is evident because he prattles on about the number of people who fainted after he read the "Guts" story in public a number of times.
Once you make it past that story, though, some of the short stories told by the characters (who you never really get to know and who I constantly confused with each other because they all have two names and one of the names is often gender-neutral) are actually pretty good. Small snippets of bizarre-ness that stick in your head, like the crazy NY anthropologist TA on the lookout for transforming-bigfoots, or the story of the Nightmare Box. I agree that the poems were horrendous as linking devices and the overall novel lacked cohesion. The only other Palahniuk I've read is Lullaby and I think it is much, much better.
hey...I am from Mumbai, India...
Can anyone suggest me where I can buy this book in Mumbai....I have been looking all over the place for this one
I was reluctant to read this but after doing so I believe this was Palahniuk's most poignant book since Choke. He takes modern American obsessions and shows how disgusting they really can be. It can be gross and even silly, but it's a quick read and totally worth it.
This is my first Chuck Palahniuk book so far, but I've purshased two others and so far this is my 3rd favorite book I've ever read. Chuck Palahniuk has an incredible writing ability.
Third book by Chuck i've read, kinda drags one page and then fantastic the next. What should I read after this one?
What's your favorite story in the book?