2. Haunted, by Chuck Palahniuk (2005)
Who needs a small army of writers to assemble an anthology of short, dark fiction when you’ve got Chuck Palahniuk and his endless imagination? Especially when he’s clever enough to frame Haunted’s 23 mini-stories with a wraparound narrative that classifies this gorgeously demented triumph as a firmly rooted novel.
Inspired by Palahniuk’s own real-life writers’ group meetings, Haunted, at its nucleus, is the account of several aspiring storytellers’ trip to a weekend retreat, where they’re encouraged to avoid outside distractions and complete original prose. But then they decide to stop eating and cease using electronic devices. And then comes the escalating madness, which seeps into the short stories that get progressively weirder. And people start dying. The reader, however, will never stop grinning with perverse excitement.