Saturday, June 28, 2008

Book: Haunted (Palahniuk)

I'm a huge fan of Chuck Palahniuk. He's so ridiculously creative and unique, I can't even think of anyone to compare him to. While his most famous work so far is Fight Club - a great book which was made into a great movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton - he has written several books that in my opinion are even better.

Choke was the first book by Palahniuk that I ever read, and remains my favorite. It's being made into a movie, set for release sometime this September. It's been a few years since I read it and I'm gonna resist the urge to read it again, just so I can go into the movie with an open mind and not try to measure it against that book. Just as with Fight Club (and all of his books), Choke is a complicated story that can't possibly translate easily to the big screen - but, just as with Fight Club, if it works it will work very well. I can't wait!

I just finished reading Haunted. This is a collection of short stories told by a group of would-be authors, as part of what is supposed to be a 'writer's retreat' (one of the stories in particular is alleged to have caused many people to faint when read aloud by Palahniuk while on a publicity tour). This was a wild ride, and as usual for his books there is simply no predicting where the story is going, or what the characters are capable of. As much as I can't wait for Choke to be a movie, if this book ever gets there it'll be a blockbuster. The whole time I'm reading, my mind is showing the movie - I'm exhausted! Any potential director has his work cut out on this one...

Haunted is not for the Palahniuk virgin. If this is the first book you read by him it will probably be your last - and you'll probably burn it before anyone else suffers through it. If you've already experienced his genius, if you're already prepared for his insanity, then you'll love this one too. There is always a frenetic pace in his books that leads to some sort of climax, and this book is no exception.

If you've never read Palahniuk but want to, try starting with Survivor. This is also an excellent book but not quite so...I don't even know what word to use here, but if I did it would describe Haunted.

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