Deeply unsettling books

Is it wrong that we like to be disturbed by our reading material? Doesn’t matter, we’re definitely fine, don’t think about it too much, I said we’re FINE, stop asking us about it.

Things We Lost In The Fire, by Mariana Enriquez

Transfixing and macabre stories from the underbelly of modern Argentina, where ghosts still roam the abandoned houses and creeping menace stalks the streets. Compellingly horrifying, sort-of like gruesome Stephen King stories but injected with a morosely despondent humour. But more enjoyable than that sounds.

Earthlings, by Sayaka Murata

Spectacularly weird and strangely human tale of a young woman who believes she is an alien and begins receiving messages from her cuddly space hedgehog named Piyyut (we’re not making this up). There is SUCH a lot we could say about the ending of this book, but it’s probably best you discover it yourself – definitely not for the fainthearted, but those who venture will be rewarded.

The Best of Richard Matheson

You know Richard Matheson’s work even if you haven’t read any. Some of the most iconic and disturbing Twilight Zone episodes were adapted from Matheson’s stories, such as “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Button, Button” and dozens of his back catalogue were adapted for TV and film. Reading these stories has an air of deja vu, but always comes hand-in-hand with an unexpected and disturbing twist.

Such Small Hands, by Andres Barba

Masterfully restrained and perfectly paced novelette about a new arrival at an orphanage. Once her fellow residents get to know her and her history, the true nature of childhood reveals itself in unsettling ways…

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Addicitively mean short stories that were banned in the author’s native Russia – wickedly witty and wince-inducingly cruel in parts, the title of this collection is fair preparation for what’s in store.

Hurricane Season, by Fernanda Melchor

Uncompromising, bewitching, troubling and strangely beautiful, we were bowled over by Mexican writer Fernanda Melchor’s first novel to be translated into English. A twisted murder mystery that reveals the inner workings of village life in disturbing, psychedelic and unnerving ways.

The Discomfort Of Evening, by Marieke Lukas Rijneveld

At the centre of this spectacular and spectacularly strange book is a cry of grief: 11-year-old Jas is hit by a family tragedy, and her brain just can’t process it. The result is frequently shocking, sometimes darkly and scabrously funny, but always tied to her spiralling emotions.

Life For Sale, by Yukio Mishima

A man fails to commit suicide and subsequently decides to sell his life to the highest bidder, for whatever purpose they see fit. Unsurprisingly, troubling people come out of the shadows to see just what might be possible with this empty vessel of a person.

Buy every book on this list and save 10%!

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