A group of wannabe writers respond to an ad in a paper to go on a writers retreat for three months. The goal is to be separated from society so that each person can write their story. The result is the group descending in to madness, interspersed with poems about each person and their story. The stories themselves are pretty disturbing.
I'm not usually a fan of short stories and didn't realize this book was short stories. However all of these short stories were glued together with narrative about the retreat. Since each person's story was spliced in to the narrative, there was nothing that connected the narrative to the story so you were changing pace every 25 pages or so.
There are few real names being used in this book. Instead, characters are identified by nicknames, such as Miss Sneezy and Director Denial. Interestingly enough, I found that this made it more difficult to keep the characters straight. I couldn't remember whose story had already been presented.
This was my first Palahniuk book and overall, I didn't enjoy it too much. I've got a few others of his so I'll try those. Hopefully they are novels rather than short stories.
First Line: "This was supposed to be a writers' retreat."