Earthlings | Granta

  • Published: 08/10/2020
  • ISBN: 9781783785674
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages

Earthlings

Sayaka Murata

Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

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?

Gut-shredding... Earthlings is a frequently disturbing but pacy read, with its own off-key humour. I ripped through it

Observer

Dizzying... Shocking, hilarious and hugely, darkly entertaining. Murata has crafted an unforgettable, original hybrid of absurd fantasy and stark realism

Financial Times

I loved this book! It easily converted me to being an alien. A radical, hilarious, heartbreaking look at the crap we have all internalized in order to fit in and survive

Elif Batuman

The Author

One of the most celebrated of the new generation of Japanese writers, Sayaka Murata has won not only the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, but the Gunzo, Noma, and Mishima Yukio Prizes as well. Her story, ‘A Clean Marriage’, was featured in Granta 127 Japan. She is 36-years-old and works part-time in a convenience store.

More about the author →

The Translator

Ginny Tapley Takemori has translated Ryu Murakami, Miyabe Miyuki, Akiyuki Nosaka, and Kyotaro Nishimura, among others. Her translation of Tomiko Inui’s The Secret of the Blue Glass was shortlisted for the Marsh Award.

More about the translator →

From the Same Author

Convenience Store Woman

, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori

Meet Keiko.

Keiko is 36 years old. She’s never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years.

Keiko’s family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.

But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store…

*Convenience Store Woman comes in three different colours; the colour you receive will be chosen at random*

Sayaka Murata on Granta.com

Art & Photography | Granta 144

Chameleon

Tomoko Sawada & Sayaka Murata

‘If Sawada can transform herself without limit, maybe I can too.’ Sayaka Murata introduces Tomoko Sawada’s photographs, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori.

Fiction | Granta 127

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’ Sayaka Murata on a sexless marriage and the ‘Clean Breeder’ technique for pleasureless reproduction.