Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[Murata]'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)
shockingly disconnected, disturbingly satisfying...Murata again
confronts and devastates so-called 'normal, proper' behavior to
create an unflinching exposé of society." Terry Hong, Booklist
"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
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.