Fantasmas

ISBN: 0307391264
ISBN 13: 9780307391261
By: Chuck Palahniuk Javier Calvo

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Genres

Chuck Palahniuk Contemporary Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Horror Palahniuk Short Stories Thriller To Read

About this book

- Una libro de terror acerca del precio de la fama. Fantasmas está formado por una veintena de historias terroríficas, todas ellas unidas por un hilo conductor que arranca en una colonia de escritores. Un puñado de escritores —o aspirantes a escritores-, acuden, tras leer un anuncio en la prensa, a un retiro para artistas, donde se supone que darán rienda suelta a su imaginación, inmersos en un escenario de paz y creación, y escribirán la obra maestra que llevan dentro. No obstante, la colonia de escritores resulta ser un lugar aislado del mundo, donde la comida, la electricidad y los suministros básicos son más bien escasos. En estas condiciones precarias los protagonistas comenzarán a escribir historias bizarras y terroríficas, lo cual a la vez, les convierte en héroes de una especie de Reality show.Fantasmas es al mismo tiempo una sátira sobre los programas de televisión conocidos como Reality , y un homenaje a los clásicos del género de terror: Los cuentos de Canterbury o Frankenstein, en esta ocasión se retrata a un grupo de personas que quieren contar sus historias, dar salida a su creatividad, a cualquier coste.

Reader's Thoughts

Shane

This was quite a disgusting book to read, my first Chuck Palahniuk, and probably my last. I think the premise of this macabre parody of human endeavour is that we are in this life to suffer and die, that earth is only a processing plant for Paradise (or Venus, as it is portrayed in the book?).I think this premise is as old as the Bible, but what a way Plahniuk chooses to tell us this: replete with olfactory emissions, rotting bodies, barf,shit, blood (lots of it) dismembered body parts, sucked-out guts, cannibalism, mass emigration ( i.e. extermination) and every other rotten thing he can think of. I was reminded of the Marquis de Sade and Hitler in an orgy, trying to see who could outdo the other.A group of off-beat writers are lured into a writers retreat where they are locked up (or they lock themselves up, believing it will add to their mystique) for three months and asked to recount their stories. In between, their numbers start to decrease as their stories and their life at the retreat blur. Their behaviour becomes more bizzare and after awhile the format of narration-poem-story becomes repetitious. I skipped some of the stories because they all end in some form of bizarre entrapment.I continued reading the book because I was partly curious as to why a writer would choose these devices, why a publisher would publish this material, and most of all, why readers would read this stuff, making Palahniuk a best selling author - are we a bunch of closet coldhearted, bloodthirsty voyeurs? Is this what literature has to descend to in order to be read?The characters are wooden cardboard cut-outs, who feel no pain or sympathy for either themselves or for their fellow writers. They mutiliate themselves or their colleagues, starve, incarcerate and murder for celebrity and money. Most importantly, they do not seem to have any souls.I wondered how the survivors remained alive without food, heat, and having lost so much blood and so many body parts. Despite all this suffering, intended to resemble our stay on earth, I suppose, at the end of the book, the survivors remain trapped in their self-imposed prison, still waiting for their fame and fortune to arrive.The writing is jerky and indirect. I wondered if Palahniuk was trying to imitate an assortment of wannabe writers and their styles - a slippery slope, because one wonders if the author himself has gaps in his writing ability.There was just too much sickening and inhuman behaviour going on that after 250 pages, I had to skip to the final chapter. There definitely has to be a better way to communicate this premise...

Amanda

** spoiler alert ** SECOND REVIEW: My first review of the book was pretty quick and more of an opinion, partially because I think I was new to the book blogging world and partially because I felt that even though I'd gotten the story, I hadn't really been able to focus on the nuances as I'd read it on audio book. This time around, I decided to read it from the page and it was just as good if not better. Palahniuk paints a bizarre and haunting story of a group of people, all who are running from something in their lives, who answer the ad for a three month writers retreat. The retreat promises the chance to write a bestseller with no disturbance from the outside world. "No disturbance" means no contact, and the characters embrace the strangeness of the situation by bringing their own violent and izarre tendencies to the table. Caught up in both their own drama and the several individual ones from each character (as told through both poetry and prose of sorts), the entrapment becomes a painful challenge to see how horrible they can make their story. By cutting off body parts, starving themselves, and performing all forms of torture on themselves and each other, they work to ensure that their story is at its most tragic, each one trying to become the most tortured of them all for the fame that pain will bring them. At first glance, the book seems to be a way for the author to attempt to disgust his reader. All stories, including the main one, include elements of the grotesque, taboo, and uncomfortable: molestation, cannibalism, disfigurement, murder, miscarriage/abortion, sexual deviance, and general torture (e.g. one character has to chew through his own intestine, which is possibly the grossest thing I've ever read). But the story goes beyond that and upon really reading it, you can catch the author's nuances. The characters are given fake names to match the persona they bring to the group. Names like "Comrade Snarky", "Sir GutFree," "Miss America", and "Baroness Frostbite" give a weird whimsy to a dark story, but beyond that, it also shows the characters not as individuals but as a product of their experiences. The torture they put themselves through is dark, yet justified, as much of what they are escaping holds a torture of its own. The novel is multi layered, which lends the reader to discover new things each time, to allow the mind to make connections and see patterns. The story of the group gives way to the story of their captor which gives way to the story of the nurse. And peppered among these are the stories of the characters. I wouldn't say this book is for everyone because it's anything but a "feel good" book and it is very disturbing and sometimes nauseating. But for anyone who likes their limits pushed and who isn't afraid to read the things that most people refuse to give thought too, this is great read!FIRST REVIEW: I noticed that this book didn't get very high remarks, but I have to say I absolutely loved it. I listened to it on audio book during a couple road trips and my commute to work and could seriously listen to it again (though I'd prefer to have the actual book). I enjoy the way Palahniuk writes. Yes, he pushes the envelope and does the "gross out" thing in quite a few of the short stories, but it's the old train wreck story...I couldn't help but want to hear more. Some of the stories are actually just creepy, and the overall weirdness made me do a double take. If someone has a copy of the book they want to get rid of, I'll definitely take it off their hands. I loved this book!

Cloudhidden

This is honestly the worst book I have ever read. I finished it, only because of my amazement at how bad it was and how it never deviated from that.I was intrigued by the premise: a group of writers volunteer to go on a retreat to write their masterpiece. The book has a chapter of plot, followed by either a poem or short story from one of the participants. Sounds cool!The book falls apart immediately. All of the stories/poems are obviously written by the same person. They share themes, style, and emotion. Plus, they all suck, not to mention some are gross, just for the sake of being gross. Furthermore, all of the losers on this retreat so desperately want fame, they start sacrificing themselves to make a more heroic tale of their seclusion. My only hope was that it would turn out to be ONE GUY with multiple personalities fighting writer's block. THAT would have been cool, but no, it wasn't.Don't read this book!

Paul

I'm only on p 75 of this thing and I'm about to hurl it at the wall. What is it supposed to be? Does this guy really think these lame parodies are funny? This is from the section called "Slumming", which is about rich people, a couple of whom are pretending to be poor :"Inky always said being absent is the new being present." (p 69)"Poverty, Inky says, is the new wealth." (p71)"Social divers, Inky says, are the new social climbers." (p71)"Nobodies are the new celebrity." (p72)"Public is the new private" (p 72)You get the picture - how could you not - it's the same joke repeated over and over again, a joke which Tom Wolfe was cracking in 1975 (black is the new black, with variations). So : is this supposed to be amusing? Because if so, it really isn't. Is it supposed to be stupid? Because if so, it really is. Prior to this chapter you get a spoof all about television and advertising. I find myself bleeding profusely from the extreme cutting edge qualities of this book every time I pick it up. Not! Ha-ha! ROTFLMAO!! Only in the world of Chuck, this would be ROTFLMPO - that's right, Roll On The Floor Laughing My Penis Off! Ha ha! Why? Because it's gross, and it isn't that funny!**Update : the hurl has now been performed, and Chuck Palahnik's Haunted sailed in a graceful arc then smashed against the wall, its guts spilled out and several rodents started gnawing them...oh shut up.

Shaylene

First of all, I'd like to warn you all that the cover of this novel glows in the dark. I didn't find this out until I was more than half way done with the novel and after reading one night, but it on my bedside table, only to have the crap scared out of me when I rolled over and saw a glowing face! In Palahniuk's own twisted way he really gives a great commentary on society and the human condition through this novel. If you can get past the disgustingly gory, and yet entrancing, scenes it really holds a great message.

Jeremy

People who are just trying to be gross can't help but be entertaining, no matter how see-thru their intent. You can't ignore the little boy who's trying to wipe his boogers on you, and when his parents have finally collared him, with anger and gag relex fully suppressed you have to admit the whole thing was actually pretty funny. Chuck Paloonyhoonyhookiak is just trying to wipe his boogers on you. When he's done with that, he'll gladly exhaust whatever other bodily fluids happen to be available to him. His novels seem to have been steadily leading up to this: a good old-fashioned gross-out fest, a chance for him to pull out all the stops and just have fun. I settled into "Haunted", prepared for the worst/best, and got it with the first story, "Guts". This is the one that's apparently been making people faint at readings (though how anyone can actually lose consciousness simply listening to someone read something fictional, no matter how shocking, is beyond me), and it really is genuinely disgusting. Yet fun to read, a vomitrous tale well told. Unfortunately, the rest of the stories simply don't latch onto this gory glee, and, apart from a surprising and amusing tale of a hospice patient who is and isn't what he seems to be, the book becomes more and more of a slog, with a wraparound narrative peopled with irritatingly-named victims (I can't hope to adequately express how thankful I am that I'm unlikely to ever again encounter a character in literature named "Comrade Snarky") meeting their inevitably vile ends. It's ultimately a letdown, but do check out "Guts", if you're into this sort of thing.

Josh Cutting

This book is incredibly uneven, that's its downfall. There are some really good moments, some really bad moments, and one or two truly brillant ones. Looking at it as what it essentially is; a collection of short stories, it's really no better or worse than any other short story collection, and actually should get extra points for its brazen audacity. The unifying material that links all of the stories together is terribly weak, and is what ultimately sinks the book.The first story "Guts" is the best. Not because it's so incredibly gross (and it truly is) but because it is unblinking in its logic. It creates an outrageous yet believable scenerio and follows inexorably to its horrifying conclusion. It's the one story that really stuck with me on a visceral (ha ha) level.The rest of the book reads like it's trying to keep up with the pace of the first story, but it can't. No story that follows is a strongly written or as moving as the first one, but more just shock value for shock's sake. For every story that almost hits the right stride (Exodus) there are those that just plain don't make sense (Punch Drunk, Something's Got to Give)This is the second Palanhuik book that I've read, and I think there really is something there. I appreciate his outrage at society, but I think he needs to dial back his delivery just a hair in order to create truly effective satire. He goes from 0-60 so quickly that the social commentary gets lost in the absurdity of the scenerio. If you can't believe it's possible, it doesn't hit home. Writers like Vonnegut push right to the boundary, then siddle a toe past. Palanhuik sprints to the boundary, then vaults as far as he can go. Vonnegut is a razor, Palanhuik is a blunt instrument.I'm not done with him yet, he's at least shown me enough to give him another try.

anarki

I had a hard time finishing Haunted, if you wanna know the truth. But it's just the way I like it, the way it is. There’s really no easy way to read a Chuck book. Ha-ha. Some stories were a waste of time. Some were just too excellent: Guts, Exodus, Box-shit, and that scene or whatever it was when Comrade Snarky said, "I fainted....and you ate my ass?” … “You fed me my own ass?” Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!As a whole, the book has a disoriented flow. If we talk about music, it'll be like a beautiful sound of discordant notes fitting together into the music sheet played by the orchestra to your ears. But hey, this book, in its truest nature, causes both psychological and physiological disorientation. Fucking gory and gross. Especially that part wherein someone was rotting in the forest. The writing there was beyond excellent. Some stories and scenes just stand alone. Live all by itself. They can survive without the other or without being in the book. The way this book was written was really eccentric. You can get lost easily if you're not used to the way Chucky writes. This book requires a high dose of patience—if you don't have it, then don't read it. It's not reader-friendly. At some parts of the book, you'll tell yourself, "Why the fuck am I still reading this?" or "This is a waste of fucking time." ... I told myself that—lots of times. That’s a normal experience though when you’re reading a Chuck book.Writers' Retreat, being away from the world of three months to create their own masterpiece—Disasterpieces; this made me think of the Fucking Show titled Big Brother. Inside this book exists really fucked-up characters. Disgusting, I must say. The idea was really an innovation. And as usual, the sick twisted mind of the author didn't fail to make me applause using one hand. In the first place, I didn't know I can do it. This is the new taste of horror, as Chuck said; it’s like humor and horror inside a bottle of beer. Intoxicating. Horrifying. Funny. Really funny. The world is meant for suffering—for you to suffer. If you understand that, you might chase suffering—and suffering might run away from you. You might even need to feel you're suffering just to feel you're alive and life is worth living. Quoting from Mr. Whittier (a creature from this book) , "Think of a rock polisher, one of those drums, goes round and round, rolls twenty-four/seven, full of water and rocks and gravel. Grinding it all up. Round and round. Polishing those ugly rocks into gemstones. That’s the earth. Why it goes around. We’re the rocks. And what happens to us—the drama and pain and joy and war and sickness and victory and abuse—why, that’s just the water and sand to erode us. Grind us down. To polish us up, nice and bright." On the characters’ attempt to metamorphose their sufferings into something they can sell, they craft it into stories. They distort it. Make it worse. Make it better. Make it unreal.The story behind the story behind the story. The truth behind the truth. The reality behind the reality. Perhaps, that is what's happening in this world. The world being turned into fiction. Isn't that at least scary? The narrative style of Chuck in Haunted is really incomparable. And this book of his, hits a lot of things. Obviously, you might know what those things are.The book is definitely Haunted. The cover of the book should be given beyond five stars. Now, let me clap with one hand. *clap

Frank

I really enjoyed Diary by Chuck Palahniuk as well as the movie Fight Club. Haunted, not so much. The overall critique of reality TV by way of a reality writer's retreat that worked like a nihilistic Survivor or American Idol was promising. But the book's design of being carried by the short stories of the writers on retreat left the book uneven and less satisfying. A few of the stories rose to the task, but overall the book didn't quite live up to its promising premise.The book did leave an impression with a disgusting short story the author swears caused 73 people to faint at readings he has done in promoting the book while it was in progress. The tales of masturbation gone horribly wrong didn't make me want to faint. I just wondered if I wanted to bother to keep reading. I did and found that I might have been better to stop sooner. But I don't actually regret finishing the book as the whole is better than the sum of its parts.

Tee Jay

This is a bad book barely held together by fleeting and brief moments of fantastic insight. Just when I felt like I was wasting my time and the novel couldn't get any more disgusting, stupid, boring, or any other negative sentiment, it would then turn for just a brief second and capture my interest fully and completely. At these dispersed points the book would almost redeem itself. Then, within no time at all, the nice respite from the garbage prose would come to an end and the author would then resume his contrived and gimmicky (and also badly written) prose found throughout Haunted.I couldn't help but think about the movie Fight Club when I read this novel, which is a glaring indication that Palahniuk is a one trick pony. The dialogue, the plot, the outlandish events—it was like Palahniuk was just trying to redo and at the same time outdo what he has already written. What else can I say? This books sucks. It blows. It'll make a reader's skin crawl and feel there is no hope for humanity—if humanity has ever existed at all anyway. However, simultaneously, these reactions are also true feelings, guttural, visceral, real—human. And therein lies that quirky and depressing insight.

Marvin

Warning: The cover of this edition glows in the dark. Do not place on your bed stand unless you want to have a heart attack. I speak from experience.There are 21 short stories in Haunted. Some of them are amazing such as the notorious "Guts". Others are so-so. A couple of them are just boring. All of them are written to shock yet the brevity of the tales keeps both writer and reader focused. If this was a short story collection, I would rate it a strong three stars.Unfortunately it is not. Palahniuk has fashioned this book into a novel. One clearly modeled after The Tales of The Decameron except as written by a 21th century Marquis De Sade. The 19 protagonists are revealed from the beginning as vicious and stupid and we are never given a reason to care about them. Page after page they make insane and idiotic decisions that have no basis in any logic or reality and no purpose but to shock. Some may say that is the point, the author has created a bizarre and surreal horror setting as an analogy. That's fine but what is the author saying? My conclusion is absolutely nothing. Palahnuik's cynicism is so over the top it destroys any attempt at meaning.Perhaps I don't get "it". Yet anyone who perused my book list knows I'm not easily offended. This is the third book by this author I've read. The only reason I read three is because Pahalnuik is one hell of a writer at least technically. And from the short stories in this book I know he can pack a punch when he wants to. But this will probably the last Palahnuik book I will subject myself to.

MJ Nicholls

This enormous hardback, with hideous shocked-doll peepers peeping out the gothic stencilling and black laminate paper, foregrounds the content rather well. It’s a tongue-in-cheek homage to Poe and co, mingled with some of that postmodern irony so beloved by the people in marketing who run our lives through bar charts.As a stylist, I respect that Palahniuk isn’t lazy, putting his trademark transgressive style away in novels like Pygmy, a hilarious and brilliant little comedy that hit the mark nicely. This book feels like Chuck on autopilot, and though I admired the structure initially, the repetitiveness of the ‘present-poem-short’ sequence became banal, and as Dan pointed out, the stories written by the characters have the same voice and tone as Chuck.There are some engaging pieces here—several like a bloodier, blunter Ballard— others mordant satirical attacks on fame, artistic ambition and so on. (Easy targets). Others are blatant shock fodder or forced attempts to shock that become embarrassing. The main narrative involves hologram characters chopping off their fingers and toes, and as such doesn’t sustain a 400-page novel as much as the stories do. In the end, it seems as though a point was being made, but it got lost somewhere in all the dismemberment. Let’s call it an ambitious failure and move on.

Daniel Vaccereli

Chuck Palahniuk is one of those sad stories, I think -- a guy with an ear for language, who is pretty funny, who then went on to just write the same book AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and now it's tragic. Always the same set-up for the jokes, always the same kind of repetition, always the same tone. Meh, I say. Meh. I'm gonna go read some J.G. Ballard.

Lady Danielle

I... I... I just.... WTF?!?!?!Stopped on page 25 I can't finish this. I... this book is weird and disgusting and gut wrenching. I decided to read this book because I read in a group comment that it was the weirdest thing they've ever read. So I decided to give it a try... no. Just fucking no.Stories about some kid sodomising himself with a fucking carrot and some Vaseline; a teenager jacking off with some candle wax -- THROUGH HIS PISS HOLE. The storyteller jacking off in a pool hovering over the pool's suction shit so it's basically eating his ass whilst he jacks off and next thing you know it's sucking up his guts and he has to eat his asshole out to save himself. Occasional sentences about doing what the French do or some weird shit...No.Stop.What the fuck. "My goal was just to write some new form of horror story, something based on the ordinary world. Without supernatural monsters or magic. This would be a book you wouldn't keep next to your bed." -- Chuck PalahniukMr Palahniuk, this isn't horror, this is some vile shit, sir. Vile, vile, shit. I get you wanted horror without supernatural monsters or magic, but these stories are not it!. Read some of Stephen King's works for some real ordinary world horror -- Misery, for example. That's some nerve-racking stuff. That's horror. This... (shakes my head). My eyes felt as though they were about to pop out my head whilst I was reading. Excuse me, going to brush my eyeballs and brain to remove the images and thoughts I've just read.The author was right about one thing:This is a book I will not be keeping next to my bed.

Carrie

This book is vile. It is disgusting. No matter how much you can take, you will squirm and say "Oh My GOD!" out loud on the bus or plane or couch or wherever it is you read. It is a nasty book. But Haunted is so much more than that and so worth reading. Haunted is set in a drab old theater, past it's prime, boarded up, invisible, and impenetrable to the outside world. Inside the theater are 23 characters. 23 people with names like the Earl of Slander and Agent Tattletale. Each character is introduced with a poem and a story. Usually gruesome or grotesque, the stories eventually create the world each person inhabits, explain why they agreed to drop off the face of the earth for a while, and how they relate to the other characters in the book. Narratives in between the character stories relate what's happening within the hotel. How the characters are coping with no modern amenities or food, who has died and what the remaining characters will do to themselves and others to obtain fame and sympathy once they're rescued.While the stories in the book are (as everyone has said) sometimes depraved, they all aren't like that and the book ends on a beautifully optimistic note - though not everyone is going to think that way. Really, I can only think of two that made me want to stop reading, but I didn't - I pushed through. And I encourage anyone who is thinking of reading Haunted to do the same thing. You might just love it to death.

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