Book Reviews

Book Review : Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Title : Earthlings
Author : Sayaka Murata
Publisher : Granta
Pages : 256
Genre : Literary Fiction

Story:

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?

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata (@thegirlonthego_reads)

Review :

~EARTHLINGS~

What was your favorite toy when you were a kid? Did you give it a name?

》》Trigger Warning

In other words, people of the Earth. You call others Earthlings only when you believe that you’re not, that you’re alien. I was so intrigued by this book when I first saw it. And then holding it in hand gave it a whole new meaning. My very first Sayaka Murata. I heard a lot of praises for Convenience Store Women, so this got me really excited.

Just as I heard about Murata’s universe, everything is indeed bizarre. She has this uncanny (in a good but strange way) ability to weave magic with her tales. Every little thing that apparently seems normal has a different meaning in this world, and you can’t help but ponder over it for nights to come.
I was in love with the translation. The writing seemed effortlessly good, and the prose is just as beautiful.

No, it wasn’t an easy read for me because it was deeply painful at times. The topics are very disturbing, I did have a hard time visualizing them. This book should definitely come with a strong trigger warning.
However, I couldn’t help but sympathize with the characters. Our childhood is the most important phase of our lives and anything, any trauma that we carry from those days remains with us forever, shaping our adulthood.

Haunting, unforgiving and pragmatic, Murata’s Earthlings is a tenacious attempt at battling the woes that meddle with the deepest, darkest scars of our lives. Definitely not for everyone. Read with caution!

By the way, that cute plush toy in the cover is Piyyut, Natsumi’s best friend from outer space, an emissary sent by the Magic Police of Planet Popinpobopia! 🤗

My rating is 4 out of 5 Stars.

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