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Mind-blowing, twisted and wildly entertaining, Earthlings asks: how far would you go just to be yourself? 

As a child, Natsuki believed she was an alien, a different species to her earthling family and classmates. She hoped a spaceship would come down and take her home. Now, she lives quietly in an asexual marriage, pretending to be normal. 

But the buried horrors of Natsuki's past are pursuing her. As she flees the suburbs for the Nagano mountains and a reunion with her beloved cousin Yuu, she wonders, what will it take to escape the earthlings?

“To Sayaka Murata, nonconformity is a slippery slope . . . Reminiscent of certain excellent folk tales, expressionless prose is Murata’s trademark . . . In Earthlings, being an alien is a simple proxy for being alienated. The characters define themselves not by a specific notion of what they are—other—but by a general idea of what they are not: humans/breeders . . . The strength of [Murata’s] voice lies in the faux-naïf lens through which she filters her dark view of humankind: We earthlings are sad, truncated bots, shuffling through the world in a dream of confusion.”—Lydia Millet, New York Times Book Review

“What does it mean to feel at home in the world? Natskui, the protagonist of this startling novel, doesn’t know: from a young age, she’s convinced that she has been contacted by aliens who will take her away from a middle-class Japanese life marked by cruelty . . . Murata takes a childlike idea and holds onto it with imaginative fervor, brilliantly exposing the callousness and arbitrariness of convention.”—New Yorker

“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


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