One of my favorite authors over the last few years is the Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa. Ogawa writes little pieces, short stories or short novels. Her prose (in translation, of course) is simple and direct. Her narratives involve extremely pedestrian situations. But in most cases, Ogawa twists the narrative and opens up some very dark and disturbing places.
In some ways Ogawa reminds me of the early Banana Yoshimoto but her themes are far more upsetting. Take Hotel Iris, for instance. The story is of a young girl who has a love affair—a common narrative—but the sex rapidly turns into a much more intense form than you would have expected involving bondage and other forms of sado-masochism.