Haunted (novel)

From Quotes
It is the paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.
Hugo Black
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Haunted is a novel (2005) by Chuck Palahniuk.


  • You can't unfuck a kid. Once you fuck a kid, you can't get that genie back in the bottle.
  • As a fundraiser, our first idea was 'Five Bucks to Punch a Mime.'
  • I lost my virginity through my ear.
  • "To create a race of masters from a race of slaves, Mr. Whittier said, to teach a controlled group of how to create their own lives, Moses had to be an asshole." p42
  • "Yes, terrible things happen, but sometimes those terrible things- they save you." p205
  • "With the angel of death going door to door, people stayed together. They quit bitching and behaved." p234
  • The earth, he'd say, is just a big machine. A big processing plant. A factory. That's your big answer. The big truth. 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 round. 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.
  • In the big factory of perfecting human souls, the Earth was a kind of tumbler. The same as the kind people use to polish rocks. All souls come here to rub the sharp edges off each other. All of us, we're meant to be worn smooth by conflict and pain of every kind. To be polished. There was nothing bad about this. This wasn't suffering. It was erosion. It was just another, a basic, an important step in the refining process.
  • People in France have a phrase: "Spirit of the Stairway." In French: esprit d'Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer but it's too late. So you're at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party...

As you start down the stairway, then-magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should've said. The perfect crippling put down. That's the Spirit of the Stairway. The trouble is, even the French don't have a phrase for the stupid things you actually do say under pressure. Those stupid, desperate things you actually think or do.

  • The whole idea of men creating perfect robot women for their own pleasure, it happens every day. The most "beautiful" women you see in public, none of them are for real. They're just men perpetuating their perverted stereotypes of women. Just the oldest story in the world.There's a penis on every page of Cosmopolitan magazine if you know where to look.
  • Leather shoes and fried chicken and dead soldiers are only a tragedy if you waste their gift sitting in front of the television. Or stuck in traffic. Or stranded at some airport.
  • Stink for privacy, the new way to protect personal space. Intimidation by odor.
  • For the rest of history, all over the world, people will be trying to save this same dead woman. This woman who just wanted to die.
  • Their teeth white, as if they never used teeth for anything except to smile.
  • Some stories, she'd say, the more you tell them, the faster you use them up. Those kind, the drama burns off, and every version, they sound more silly and flat. The other kind of story, it uses you up. The more you tell it, the stronger it gets. Those kind of stories only remind you how stupid you were. Are. Will always be.
  • I used to think the secret to a happy ending was to bring down the curtain at the exact right time. A moment after happiness, then everything's all wrong, again.
  • "Until you can ignore your circumstances, and just do as you promise," he says, "you'll always be controlled by the world."
  • You will always have some excuse not to live your life.
  • Her dress, swimsuit-tight, leotard-tight, her pantyhose run with women pedaling bicycles going nowhere at a thousand calories an hour.

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