This is an interesting work of Palahniuk of short stories written by a (fictional)group of people taking part in a writer’s retreat. It is not as relaxing as they thought it would be--their host Mr. Whittier locks them up in an abandoned theater along with himself, leading them to commit heinous deeds for the sake of being able to report how victimized they were to the media when they finally stumble back out into freedom. The short stories themselves are the highlight of the book with their fascinatingly grotesqueness, the outside chapters and story only acting as a support for all of them. Each person in the building has something they are running away from, some horrible misdeed that indeed haunts them, which makes itself apparent in the short story they tell and the nickname they have been given, since no real names are to be exchanged in the retreat. There are also poems by the characters about the other characters sandwiched between the short stories and main storyline.
Each one of the stories and attention-seeking acts brings out the most sinful and sickening aspects of human nature, and made me feel quite unwell myself at times. It really brings to mind what lengths people will go to for recognition and the chance at fame and success where there was no chance for any before.
I really believe that Palahniuk is in his own category; he paints a brutally honest picture of the ugliest sides of reality, and Haunted is no different. If you are looking for an intriguing disturbing read, definitely try this one.