Here's some of my picks-
1. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
2. God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
3. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
4. Winter Birds by Jim Grimsley
5. Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley
6. Singing Songs by Meg Tilly
7. The Box Children by Sharon Wyse
8. The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan
9. Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates
10. Pursuit by Joyce Carol Oates
11. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
12. Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi
13. Honour Thy Father by Lesley Gleister
I read "Bent Heavens" by Daniel Kraus last week. It's a sci-fi YA, but is by far the most disturbing novel I've read. The things in that book wouldn't leave me for days. Every time I thought of it I'd get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I'd still rate it five stars because it moved me so much. I very much recommend this.
Aside from my own sex trafficking-in-a-dystopian-ghetto book in my signature, I recommend against my better judgement "Too many cats" or whatever title it goes by in the edition you encounter, by Bohumil Hrabal. I bought this book impulsively and grieving my own cat, thinking it was something cute about an adorable old man and his kitties, and it does start out that way, which makes it so much worse. Beware it doesn't seem to be a work of fiction. Trigger warning for the spoiler because no cat lover deserves to feel what I felt reading this.
This book is a way too cavalier confession to horrific and gratuitous, compulsive/addiction-like animal cruelty, and I didn't enjoy any of it. I like horrible things when I know they're made up. I don't like to be confronted with the knowledge that this really happened to those poor, loving cats, and I only read on in hopes for some kind of "syke" and when that hope was gone, to know what to warn prospective readers of.
Then there's "Dead Inside" by Chandler Morrison, a delightful little romance (not) about two messed-up people finding each other and being messed-up together. They bond over their distress to see a perfectly good piece of flesh go to waste... It's the literary counterpart of "A Serbian Film", something you read so you can say you've seen it all, but not something you bring up at family gatherings. Unlike that movie though, it's so outrageous and impersonal it's almost comical and as such, easier to digest.
I also cast votes for The Wasp Factory, The Painted Bird, The Bloody Chamber, Super-Cannes, and Let the Right One In.
Others by J G Ballard: High Rise and Running Wild.
Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon, notably for the ending.
The Glass Bees by Ernst Junger. This one is really odd: A visionary novel about technology by an author whose attitude to technology is one of cordial loathing.
Then there are the classics. I lost interest in 120 Days of Sodom after a while, but am finding Justine holds my interest so far.
Reaching back further, there are the Jacobean Revenge tragedies, especially The Duchess of Malfi, which the alert reader has probably already noticed has a personal appeal.
And don’t forget Euripides. Hard to beat The Bacchae!
If I might be permitted to widen the scope somewhat to include graphic novels/manga, both Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen are about as disturbing as they come, especially as they document actual events. An eyewitness account, for Barefoot Gen: Nakazawa survived the Hiroshima bombing as a six-year-old boy.