November 1, 2008

Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted

Chuck Palahniuk is king of the saleable gross-out. This guy made his name with Fight Club -- an extreme descent into the do-nothing, thirty-something generation that has little more than Simpsons quotes and dry wit to bond over -- and has tried to outdo himself on the excrete-o-meter ever since. (Case in point: Invisible Monsters, where a distraught model blows off her own jaw to explore the other side of the beauty myth. Case in point: Choke, in which sex addicts prey on weaklings, including each other, in a search for some sort of fulfillment.

In Haunted, Palahniuk doesn't merely give us one social screwup; he gives us more than 20. They all pack themselves, And Then There Were None-style, into an abandoned theatre for a writers' retreat. Of course, the bodies, and the body parts, pile up shortly after that alley door clicks shut.

Enjoy. Just don't read chapter one over lunch. Yeuch.