One of our recommended books is Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

EARTHLINGS


From the beloved author of cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, which has now sold more than a million copies worldwide, comes a spellbinding and otherworldly novel about a young girl who believes she is an alien.

As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit into her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut who has explained to her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. Each summer, Natsuki counts down the days until her family drives into the mountains of Nagano to visit her grandparents in their wooden house in the forest,

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From the beloved author of cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, which has now sold more than a million copies worldwide, comes a spellbinding and otherworldly novel about a young girl who believes she is an alien.

As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit into her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut who has explained to her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. Each summer, Natsuki counts down the days until her family drives into the mountains of Nagano to visit her grandparents in their wooden house in the forest, a place that couldn’t be more different from her grey commuter town. One summer, her cousin Yuu confides to Natsuki that he is an extraterrestrial and that every night he searches the sky for the spaceship that might take him back to his home planet. Natsuki wonders if she might be an alien too. Back in her city home, Natsuki is scolded or ignored and even preyed upon by a young teacher at her cram school. As she grows up in a hostile, violent world, she consoles herself with memories of her time with Yuu and discovers a surprisingly potent inner power. Natsuki seems forced to fit into a society she deems a “baby factory” but even as a married woman she wonders if there is more to this world than the mundane reality everyone else seems to accept. The answers are out there, and Natsuki has the power to find them.

Dreamlike, sometimes shocking, and always strange and wonderful, Earthlings asks what it means to be happy in a stifling world, and cements Sayaka Murata’s status as a master chronicler of the outsider experience and our own uncanny universe.

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  • Grove
  • Hardcover
  • October 2020
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780802157003

Buy the Book

$26.00

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About Sayaka Murata & Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator)

Sayaka Murata is the author of Earthlings, credit BungeishunjuSayaka Murata is the author of many books, including Convenience Store Woman, winner of Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. She used to work part-time in a convenience store, which inspired this novel. Murata has been named a Freeman’s “Future of New Writing” author, and her work has appeared in Granta and elsewhere. In 2016, Vogue Japan selected her as a Woman of the Year.

Praise

Named a Most Anticipated Book by TIME, USA Today, the Guardian, Vulture, Literary Hub, Bustle, and Refinery29

“Murata’s unsettling, madcap 11th novel (after Convenience Store Woman) chronicles the nightmarish discontent of one girl amid the deadening conformity of modern Japanese society . . . The author’s flat, deadpan prose makes the child Natsuki’s narration strangely and instantly believable and later serves to reflect her relationship to Japan’s societal anxiety. This eye-opening, grotesque outing isn’t to be missed.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Societally defiant, shockingly disconnected, disturbingly satisfying . . . Murata again confronts and devastates so-called ‘normal,’ ‘proper’ behavior to create an unflinching exposé of society.” Terry Hong, Booklist 

Earthlings continues to explore life on the fringes in Japan through an even darker and weirder lens, one that will take most readers on a wild ride far beyond the outermost limit of their comfort zones . . . The story’s grotesque joy depends on the surprise at just how perverse things can get . . . Enthusiastically challenges most of our most deeply held societal taboos . . . A mind- and soul-expanding countercultural battle cry that is utterly one of a kind.”BookPage

“A shocking allegory about the consequences of nonconformity . . . Perfect for fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Ottessa Moshfegh, this worthy follow-up to Murata’s acclaimed Convenience Store Woman will stay with readers long after the story is over.”Shelf Awareness