Books | Fiction / Coming of Age
An otherworldly coming-of-age tale of a woman who believes she is an alien, from the author of the international sensation Convenience Store Woman. 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.Praise for Earthlings A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, TIME and Literary Hub Named a Most Anticipated Book by the New York Times, TIME, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, the Guardian, Vulture, Wired, Literary Hub, Bustle, PopSugar, and Refinery29 “Intimate, deadpan, and unflinchingly unhinged. . . . Exceptionally fun. . . . Amid all the hedgehog and alien talk is a novel that asks how happiness and freedom can be possible inside a stiflingly anxious world, and its answers, while grotesque, are worth reading.” —Wired “If you’re in the mood for weird, Sayaka Murata is always a reliable place to turn. . . . [Earthlings] centers on Natsuki, a character whose story begins in childhood with her cousin in the mountains and spirals ever more darkly (and bizarrely) into adulthood and its many strange reckonings. This is a story that’s best not to spoil, but it will get into your head.” —Seattle Times “It’s the book’s visceral, grim savagery, and those final shocking pages, that makes this such a vital, powerful novel. . . . Earthlings is the sort of challenging, confronting fiction that wakes you up with a jolt and leaves a lasting impression.” —Locus
Community ReviewsSee all
"I am deeply traumatized from this book. It’s honestly more scary how the author believes these things might happen (as for the ending) but it does carry some really important messages about trauma and victims."
"Weird and interesting. Made me think"
"A page turner. A lot of moments that make you say “WTF?” The ending (as in the last 1-2 pages) were a little disappointing as I feel the author went in the direction of complete silliness, when there’s so many other ways she could have finished the book. But maybe it has some symbolism I don’t understand? I’ll definitely do some more research. "
"Check trigger warnings or go in blind you’ll be traumatized either way "
"This book is very polarizing for me. Many many content warnings attached to this. But ultimately I think I like this book. I find the main character to be pretty relatable sometimes in her attitude towards life. I think ultimately I enjoyed this book because of how it challenged me and made me think about my own life and views on things. This book is weird and hard to read at some points but for anyone who thinks they could handle it I would give it a cautious recommendation. 6/10"
"made me nauseous in an interesting way"