Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, paperback, Harvill Secker, £10.99.

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FROM award-winning Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa, Revenge provides snapshots of the lives of several characters and their unsettling tales, woven together in a seamless web of elegant narrative.

These eccentric stories include that of a woman who returns ritualistically to the same bakery to purchase her son’s favourite cake; although he died in an accident some time ago, and an inventor who becomes the curator of a museum of implements of torture, and not forgetting the Bengal Tiger in the garden...

There are no perfect endings and certainly no heroes, just a series of interconnected lives in the city, as strange and as morbid as each other, but absorbing and beautiful in equal measure.

Ogawa’s novel is unique and oddly refreshing, plunging through the warm and safe banality of day-to-day life into a core that is cold and unsettling.

Natsayi Sithole