hardcover, 247 pages

Published Oct. 5, 2020 by Grove Press.

ISBN:
978-1-78378-567-4
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4 stars (24 reviews)

Natsuki isn't like the other girls. She has a wand and a transformation mirror. She might be a witch, or an alien from another planet. Together with her cousin Yuu, Natsuki spends her summers in the wild mountains of Nagano, dreaming of other worlds. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the two children forever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what.

Now Natsuki is grown. She lives a quiet life with her asexual husband, surviving as best she can by pretending to be normal. But the demands of Natsuki's family are increasing, her friends wonder why she's still not pregnant, and dark shadows from Natsuki's childhood are pursuing her. Fleeing the suburbs for the mountains of her childhood, Natsuki prepares herself with a reunion with Yuu. Will he still remember their promise? And will he help her keep it?

5 editions

What... did I just read?!

No rating

Content warning cw: child abuse (incl. sexual), incest, murder, cannibalism

Review of 'Earthlings' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Having just finished this it feels like the rawest fucking book I've read in a long time or maybe ever. Murata is a genius and her writing is as engrossing as it is shocking and disturbing and beautiful all at once. This is the work of someone who has something to say and doesn't give a single fuck about subtlety. And is also extremely gifted at telling stories.

Heed the CWs on this one, please I consider myself pretty desensitized to fictional violence and very shitty situations in general and I was having pretty visceral reactions while reading some of the sections in this one.

Review of 'Earthlings' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

"My body is not my own."

I'm speechless and my stomach is in knots. The social commentary in this book, about the expectations and pressures society puts on people, and how people put those pressures on each other, is delivered so matter-of-factly and dealt with so aggressively that it heightens disturbing events to a level of disturbing I didn't think was possible. And THAT ENDING, what the hell?! Murata does not hold back.

This novel is so incredibly weird, devastatingly sad, and deeply distressing, and then the ending got gruesome and even WEIRDER. This would make a good pick for the bravest of book clubs, because you would have endless things to talk about, and you're either going to want to talk about those things or run the hell away and hide. 

TW: childhood emotional and physical abuse, parentification, molestation, incest, rape, derealization and depersonalization, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, murder, …

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Subjects

  • Fiction
  • Japan
  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism
  • Japanese Literature

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