Earthlings

Sayaka Murata (Author) Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator)
Available

Description

From the beloved author of cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, which has now sold more than one million copies worldwide and has been translated into thirty-three languages, comes a spellbinding and otherworldly novel about a woman who believes she is an alien

Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman was one of the most unusual and refreshing bestsellers of recent years, depicting the life of a thirty-six-year-old clerk in a Tokyo convenience store. Now, in Earthlings, Sayaka Murata pushes at the boundaries of our ideas of social conformity in this brilliantly imaginative, intense, and absolutely unforgettable novel.

As a child, Natsuki doesn't fit in with her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut, who talks to her. He tells her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. One summer, on vacation with her family and her cousin Yuu in her grandparents' ramshackle wooden house in the mountains of Nagano, Natsuki decides that she must be an alien, which would explain why she can't seem to fit in like everyone else. Later, as a grown woman, living a quiet life with her asexual husband, Natsuki is still pursued by dark shadows from her childhood, and decides to flee the "baby factory" of society for good, searching for answers about the vast and frightening mysteries of the universe--answers only Natsuki has the power to uncover.

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.

Product Details

Price
$26.00  $23.92
Publisher
Grove Press
Publish Date
October 06, 2020
Pages
240
Dimensions
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 0.8 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780802157003
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Sayaka Murata is the author of many books, including Convenience Store Woman, winner of the Akutagawa Prize. Murata has been named a Freeman's "Future of New Writing" author, and a Vogue Japan Woman of the Year.

Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated works by more than a dozen Japanese writers, including Ryu Murakami. She lives at the foot of a mountain in Eastern Japan.

Reviews

Praise for Earthlings

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

"Shocking, hilarious, and hugely, darkly entertaining. Murata has crafted an unforgettable, original hybrid of absurd fantasy and stark realism."--Financial Times

"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)

"An indelible portrait of an imaginative young woman learning to survive. Original in conception and astute in its social critique; highly recommended."--Library Journal (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

"I loved this book! It easily converted me to being an alien. A radical, hilarious, heartbreaking look at the crap we have all internalized in order to fit in and survive."--Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

"Earthlings takes the mood of colorful disquiet she honed in Convenience Store Woman and pushes it further out. The boy and a girl at the heart of her latest believe they have landed on earth from outer space. Raised by separate families, treated badly, they tack toward each other in this immensely charming, strange and heart-stomping tale. The imagination of this writer grows and grows like outer space. Earthlings should be one of the main fictional events of 2020."--John Freeman, Literary Hub

"From the author of 2018's comic gem about a Japanese misfit, Convenience Store Woman, a new novel featuring a young woman who is convinced she is an alien."--Guardian

"This is one that should be on everyone's wish list."--Japan Times

"In 2020, we finally get our hands on Sayaka Murata's newest novel . . . A new statement by Murata that finding your own freedom is a struggle against family and society which takes sacrifice."--Books and Bao

Praise for Convenience Store Woman

"Keiko, a defiantly oddball 36-year-old woman, has worked in a dead-end job as a convenience store cashier in Tokyo for half her life. She lives alone and has never been in a romantic relationship, or even had sex. And she is perfectly happy with all of it . . . Written in plain-spoken prose, the slim volume focuses on a character who in many ways personifies a demographic panic in Japan."--Motoko Rich, New York Times (profile)

"A small, elegant and deadpan novel . . . Casts a fluorescent spell . . . A thrifty and offbeat exploration of what we must each leave behind to participate in the world."--Dwight Garner, New York Times

"Alienation gets deliciously perverse treatment in Convenience Store Woman . . . The book's true brilliance lies in Murata's way of subverting our expectations . . . With bracing good humor . . . Murata celebrate[s] the quiet heroism of women who accept the cost of being themselves."--John Powers, NPR's Fresh Air

"The novel borrows from Gothic romance, in its pairing of the human and the alluringly, dangerously not. It is a love story, in other words, about a misfit and a store . . . Keiko's self-renunciations reveal the book to be a kind of grim post-capitalist reverie: she is an anti-Bartleby, abandoning any shred of identity outside of her work . . . Tranquil--dreamy, even--rooting for its employee-store romance from the bottom of its synthetic heart."--Katy Waldman, New Yorker

"An exhilaratingly weird and funny Japanese novel about a long-term convenience store employee. Unsettling and totally unpredictable--my copy is now heavily underlined."--Sally Rooney, Guardian

"As intoxicating as a sake mojito . . . A literary prize-winner that's also a page-turner."--John Powers, Vogue

"It's the novel's cumulative, idiosyncratic poetry that lingers, attaining a weird, fluorescent kind of beauty all of its own."--Julie Myerson, Guardian

"Brilliant, witty, and sweet in ways that recall Amélie and Shopgirl . . . Murata's sparkly writing and knack for odd, beautiful details are totally her own."--Vogue, "13 Books to Thrill, Entertain, and Sustain You This Summer"

"A quiet masterpiece . . . Seldom has a narrator been so true to a lack of self, and so triumphantly other."--David Wright, Seattle Times

"A spare, quietly brilliant novel . . . Like being lulled into a soft calm."--Arianna Rebolini, BuzzFeed

"This magical little book performs this neat accordion track in sentences so clean and crisp it's like they were laminated and placed before you, one at a time, in a well-windex'd cooler . . . The 7-11 Madame Bovary."--John Freeman, Literary Hub

"A personal favorite . . . The prose is as crisp as is the aesthetic of [Japan]"--Lauren Christensen, CBS This Morning

"Knock-you-off-your-feet good, sucking you wholesale into the strange brain of its narrator . . . Like being beamed down onto a foreign planet, which turns out to be your own . . . May we buy out bookstores' stocks of Convenience Store Woman, and yell Sayaka Murata's name from the rooftops."--Alison Tate Lewis, Electric Literature

"A novel that proves sylphlike; spare in its contents, with a masterfully deceptive comic veneer that keeps the reader turning the page."--Zyzzyva

"Quirky, memorable."--Times (UK)

"Engaging . . . A sure-fire hit of the summer."--Irish Times

"Smart and sly . . . Moving, funny, and unsettling."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Dazzling."--Booklist (starred review)

"A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut."--Kirkus Reviews

"A gem of a book. Quirky, deadpan, poignant, and quietly profound, it is a gift to anyone who has ever felt at odds with the world--and if we were truly being honest, I suspect that would be most of us."--Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being

"What a weird and wonderful and deeply satisfying book this is. Sayaka Murata is an utterly unique and revolutionary voice. I tore through Convenience Store Woman with great delight."--Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Middlesteins and All Grown Up

"A darkly comic, deeply unsettling examination of contemporary life, of alienation, of capitalism, of identity, of conformity. We've all been to this convenience store, whether it's in Japan or somewhere else."--Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer

"This is a story about what's normal and not, a drama played on a stage so violently plain it becomes as vivid and surprising as an alien planet. I loved Convenience Store Woman: its brevity, its details, its opinions about life."--Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

"I picked up this novel on a trip to Japan and couldn't put it down. A haunting, dark, and often hilarious take on society's expectations of the single woman. As an extra bonus, it totally transformed my experience of going to convenience stores in Tokyo."--Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot

"Convenience Store Woman is a mighty fine book, completely charming. Sayaka Murata is a wonderful writer."--Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman

"Instructions: Open book. Consume contents. Feel charmed, disturbed, and weirdly in love. Do not discard."--Jade Chang, author of The Wangs Vs. the World

"Murata creates an original and surreal world in the most unlikely places. Furukura, the convenience store woman, is a strange, complex, gripping protagonist who inadvertently propels her own story forth through a series of subtle actions yet it is through these actions and also the spareness of the author's prose that we see what a master Murata truly is. This book is not only readable, it is fun, thought provoking and at times outrageous and outrageously funny. It is sure to be a standout of the year."--Weike Wang, author of Chemistry

"This novel made me laugh. It was the first time for me to laugh in this way: it was absurd, comical, cute . . . audacious, and precise. It was overwhelming."--Hiromi Kawakami, author of The Nakano Thrift Shop