Michel Tournier Atlantic, £12.99
Also known as The Ogre, this is a profoundly unsettling novel from 1970 that follows the twisted path of Abel Tiffauges, a garage owner who ends up recruiting children to the Nazi cause. Having hurt his right hand, Tiffauges finds his writing with his left brings forth portentous, sinister screeds about how he is a monster who “issued from the mists of time”. His writings are like the kind of journal you expect serial killers to keep: feverish, obsessive, expressing a desire to purify the world by turning it upside down. As a boy, Abel rejected what his teachers set down for him, and chose his own pantheon of heroes, like Rasputin, Caligula and Pilate. But his overriding obsession is the state of grace that comes with shouldering the burdens of a child, like St Christopher carrying the Christ-child. As captivating as it is grotesque, The Erl-King is a serious novel bristling with ideas that still has the power to disturb.