Tokyo Fiancee, by Amelie Nothomb, certainly fulfilled my quest for books that are different from mainstream contemporary fiction. However, I'm hoping to encounter some more likable characters in a few of my other Europa novels!
I've posted a full review on Sensory Sweetness. Here's an excerpt:
"To be honest, it was all for a laugh!” (p. 150), Amelie wants to tell her audience at a book reading six years after leaving Japan. And laugh she did throughout these mere 144 pages. In at least twelve instances, she uses the phrase “burst out laughing”, four of which occur within an eight-page span. . . . Towards the end, she almost appears to be describing the magical tearoom of Mary Poppins, floating high above the floor, laughing maniacally."
Next on the Challenge List: Tierra del Fuego, by Francisco Coloanne.