10 Novels That Will Disturb Even the Coldest of Hearts

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

An unnamed black man lives in the basement of a building, in a room illuminated by 1369 lights. He is expelled from college and ends up with a lousy job at a paint factory, which he eventually loses after a terrible accident, at which point he is given shock treatment. He ends up a puppet in the Brotherhood and is eventually roughed up by goons. Though the message is an important one and the writing is incredible, the story is so dispiriting we can’t imagine getting through it a second time (especially the Battle Royale scene). As the narrator explains, “A beautiful girl once told me of a recurring nightmare in which she lay in the center of a large dark room and felt her face expand until it filled the whole room, becoming a formless mass while her eyes ran in bilious jelly up the chimney. And so it is with me.”