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Earthlings

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  8,930 ratings  ·  2,331 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by Grove Press (first published August 31st 2018)
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Miriam I absolutely believe a teen could handle this book, and I also generally believe that teens should read whatever they want. That being said, this book…moreI absolutely believe a teen could handle this book, and I also generally believe that teens should read whatever they want. That being said, this book does have some heavy content, including a somewhat detailed depiction of a child being sexually abused. Also cannibalism. (less)
Bryan Murphy No. Try "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley instead. Its social critique is similar but it has a lighter touch and is much better written.
…more
No. Try "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley instead. Its social critique is similar but it has a lighter touch and is much better written.
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,930 ratings  ·  2,331 reviews


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Kat
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
description

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(cw: child abuse, rape (of a minor), incest, murder, cannibalism)
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Robin
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aliens
Recommended to Robin by: lark benobi
This book is off the hook.

If I try to explain what happens in the plot, I will sound insane. And it is. The plot is outrageous and over the top - the oppression, the abuse, and then the equally shocking response to it. It's wild, fearless, and what makes it even stranger is that it's told in this completely simple, straightforward, conversational tone. It draws you in, with the ease of a YA novel. You almost think, hey, this is about 11 year old kids. I'm not that interested. But don't be fooled
...more
Meike
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2020-read
English Edition: Earthlings
The follow-up to Convenience Store Woman is absolutely outrageous: Rebellion, misogyny, hikikomori, incest, murder, cannibalism - Murata takes no prisoners. And have I mentioned that the whole story is a parable on modern society AND a dark fairy tale full of twists and turns that will lure you into a dark room and beat you to death with a trophy (don't ask)? Don't let yourself be fooled by that cute cover, it's aiming to point you in the wrong direction so the ultimat
...more
lark benobi
I am so moved by this novel. It's entirely unique and yet it flows mysteriously in the same mighty river of fiction that has sprung up in these last years, written by women from all over the world, who are suddenly writing in a fierce and visceral and entirely ruthless way about what it means to be a woman.

This novel is outrageous and funny in some parts, and it's outrageous and heartbreaking in others. I never knew what to expect, but then, every time the unexpected happened on the page, I tho
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emma
The truth is that I am easily disturbed.

My metaphorical gag reflex is very sensitive. (No comment on my literal gag reflex, you pervs.) (Okay I am sorry about the sex joke in the second line of a review but also at the same time if you can't handle me at my PG-13 you cannot handle this book for even a singular second, so. Consider yourself warned.)

I get grossed out by almost anything. Ottessa Moshfegh books (even though I read her whole backlist). People fake puking on TV. Bad smells.

This book t
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Henk
Don’t let the cute cover fool you. This is a deadpan account of trauma, sexual abuse, the stifling nature of conformity and breaking taboos to try and set oneself free from a limiting definition of being human
Children’s lives never belong to them. The grownups own us.

I liked the first part of this book markedly more than the latter. The perspective of a young person being forced into a mould and to be “normal” really was portrayed in a way that I thought had emotional impact. That Japanese socie
...more
Tim
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japanese, 2010s, reviewed
Well, I just read two extreme horror novels. Time for a break. Something light-hearted, something silly... what's this? A Japanese novel about a woman who thinks she's an alien and with a cute cover? No doubt this will be a light comedic read.

...

Ha.
Ha.
Ha.

No, no it was not. This review is going to be mostly covered in a spoiler tag, but let me stress this to would be readers. This is the single most uncomfortable read I've had all year (and this has been a year filled with mostly horror novels fo
...more
Marchpane
‘It’s really hard to put into words things that are just a little bit not okay.’

Earthlings. Where to start with this book? Tonally, it is all over the place. At times it reads with such naivete and simple language it could be a children’s book. But then it turns dark. VERY dark.

There are (warning!) explicit scenes of child sexual abuse described in first person from the child’s POV. There are eruptions of surreal violence and gore. Things get... weird.

In its calmer, more realist moments, thi
...more
Sam Quixote
Apr 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sayaka Murata’s back with another story of a social outsider - and it’s even worse than Convenience Store Woman!

Natsuki is a little girl that gets physically and verbally abused by her horrible mother, sexually abused by her teacher and, after a bout of incest, attempts suicide - guys, you’ll never believe it but somehow she turns out to be a complete mess of an adult!

Yeah I didn’t like Earthlings at all. A lot of the gross scenes felt gratuitously described to little or no effect (beyond the
...more
Debbie
You want crazy? I’ll give you crazy!

This is the most bizarre and unique book I’ve ever read, hands down. Going into this, Geek Love held the title of Weirdest Book Ever, but this book knocked that one off the shelf and stands proudly in its place. Everything in this book is OVER THE TOP (yes, in all caps)! This is just what I needed in a time when our country is over the top in so many ways. Everything in your face, a big deal, all exclamation marks. So why not escape into a book that takes me
...more
s.penkevich
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, society
Survive, whatever it takes.

The reward for conformity,’ wrote author Rita Mae Brown, ‘is that everyone like you but yourself.’ The alienation that comes from an inability or distaste for conforming with society is heart and center in the works of Sayaka Murata. Revisiting and revitalizing many themes addressed in her brilliant, previous novel Convenience Store Woman--which hit English-speaking shelves in 2018 translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori--Murata’s newest novel, Earthlings goes further i
...more
The Artisan Geek
26/1/21
One year later, I finally did a full review on this one :)
------------------VIDEO REVIEW------------------


26/1/20
What a story! I got a limited edition ARC, because I'll be doing something fun with the publisher, so I can't really say anything about the contents of the book - will do in the future! :)



25/1/20
Granta was so so kind to gift me a copy of this book! I'll be reading it today :)


You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitch | Twitter | Tumblr | Website | The Storygraph
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Elyse  Walters
Dec 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sayaka Murata’s “Convenience Store For Women”, was a contemporary unique-charming debut —-with a thirty-ish woman [Keiko]—who didn’t feel as if she ‘fit-in’....
In “The Earthlings”, Natsuki, doesn’t feel she ‘fits-in’, either. As a child — her parents favored her sister, Kise.
She also suffered abuse -(sexual abuse by her math teacher), plus mockery & humiliation from the community ( who Natsuki refers to as ‘The Baby Factory’).
Her best friend was a toy hedgehog named Piyyut.....who explained he
...more
Jenna
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: James
Mr Cummings Psych Therapy GIF - MrCummings PsychTherapy Doctor GIFs

I don't know what it says about my state of mind that this book didn't disturb me, but it's the second book in a month that I was warned about that hardly made me blink an eye. 

There's some messed up shit in this book. I should have been squirming and ugh-ing and needing to just stop reading.... but no. Didn't happen. I think I've grown a little numb. 

It's a fun book to read, whether or not your brain is screwy and unbothered by.... stuff. 

It's a story about fitting in, or not. About the demands
...more
JimZ
Jan 13, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nine days ago, I read “The Sound of a Wild Snail” and had this comment early on in my review:
• I became aware somewhere in the middle of this book that I was saying, out loud, “geez”, over and over again.

In that book I was saying ‘geez” because the author kept on astounding me with the most interesting facts about snails. So, astounding I was saying “geez” out loud a number of times while reading.

For this book I finished the book saying out loud “Jesus” and in the middle saying out loud, I thin
...more
Ms. Smartarse
Published in English as Earthlings.

Natsuki's been leading a double life: regular middle-schooler by day, extraordinary magical (alien) girl by night. Not an easy balance to keep, but our heroine handles it like a champ. It helps to keep in mind, that the mother ship would be picking her up any time now...

The one bright spot amid these trials, are the family's yearly get-togethers. Set in the grandparents' house in the countryside, Natsuki looks forward to taking refuge in the mysterious silkworm
...more
Pedro
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-reads, 2010s
Don’t be misled by the kind of cute little (short-eared) Mogwai on the cover because if you ever decide to open this book what you’re going to find inside it can only be described as a Gremlin.

This novel starts like a light YA novel but very quickly evolves into a nightmare.

The writing is deceptively simple with a dreamlike quality to it and the narrator’s (young) voice very relatable.

As I said, it didn’t take long before I realised this wasn’t going to be what the cute cover suggested. In a
...more
Kate
Sep 17, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1/5stars

((Dropped from a 2 to a 1 Star after a few weeks consideration))

**Arc received from NetGalley - thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this ARC!

Okay so... this was a bit... too much.

I read "The Convenience Store Woman" last year and really enjoyed it. I was prepared (and excited!) for this book to be weird... but it went a little too far in my opinion.

This book had some really good conversations - such as autonomy of one's own body and life, a lot of commentary on women's
...more
Emily B
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up.

This novel is super odd to say the least! If you’re looking for something a bit different then give this a try.

I loved how unique it was, although I have to say I did find the abuse parts particularly hard to read, more so than other books actually. Something about it hit a nerve for me.

Overall, I enjoyed it but didn’t find myself completely hooked, instead I was able to make my way through it over a couple of days, despite it being a relatively short book.
Sara
ARC received in exchange foor an honest review.

Having previously read Murata's Convenience Store Woman, I knew that this would be odd. What I wasn't expecting was a whole host of weird, coupled with incest, cannibalism and child abuse.

Honestly, I'm not sure where to start (or indeed finish) with this. The writing is very simplistic, and there isn't really much of a plot other than Natsuki trying to cope with her awful childhood by re imagining a world where she has magical powers and is in fact
...more
Luce
“The person who had given birth to me said I was a dead loss, so I decided it really must be true.”


A few days before reading Earthlings I read Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman and I really loved its humour and eccentric narrator. So, perhaps I approached Earthlings with the wrong expectations. Or maybe I was fooled by its cute cover (I mean, just look at that hedgehog!). Fact is, Earthlings is an altogether different beast to Murata's previous novel. I can say, without the shadow of a do
...more
Fran
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Piyyut had taught me the magical power of invisibility. I didn't actually become invisible. I just held my breath and could make myself go unnoticed".

Natsuki's best friend was a stuffed animal, a white hedgehog she named Piyyut. Piyyut "couldn't speak human" but had given Natsuki magical powers. Yearly, Natsuki's extended family met up in the Akishina Mountains during the Obon Festival. Natsuki and her cousin Yuu shared their most intimate secrets. She spoke about the Planet Popinpobopia. Yuu s
...more
James
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's only fitting that this novel begins with a young girl getting car-sick. What an apt and prescient metaphor for a book that takes its readers on one hell of a twisty and nauseating ride!

Less than six months ago, I was calling Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All The Time "the most f'ed up book" I've ever read. That now feels like a G-rated Christian YA love story compared to this bizarre, transgressive, darkly funny, exhilarating, circus-freak-show of a novel.

Natsuki is an 11-year-old gir
...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
There's a lot going on with just the first few chapters. There are a lot of characters which get introduced, a lot of good and not-so-good things happening in the life of Natsuki.
I would say it's a coming of age fiction where it depicts sexual abuse/molestation by a male teacher, a mother who appears to be downright disappointed in her daughter and rather abusive on a constant basis, a close male cousin who is supposedly to be the secret boyfriend/husband. So many things are not handled properl
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I read the last ten percent of this book with my hands over my eyes - it just gets weirder and weirder. It starts with a 9 year old girl who is berated by her family, assaulted by a teacher, and she seeks comfort with her cousin, believing they are probably both aliens. As an adult she finds a spouse who will commit to an unusual relationship but things come to a head when the families start insisting they comply with social expectations.

The author is intentional about subverting expectations fo
...more
L.S. Popovich
Earthling is a very absorbing and unconventional coming-of-age story. It is told from the perspective of an eleven year-old girl and then shifts to later in her life. Broken up into two perspectives, they are both profoundly effective and deeply disturbing. I found the novel to be an exploration of the rippling effect of abuse in myriad forms, and includes many outlying themes centered around social isolation, regret, misplaced love, and subtle questions of what it means to be human. The themes ...more
Blair
(3.5) Most readers approaching Earthlings will do so having read, or at least heard of, Sayaka Murata's English-language debut Convenience Store Woman. At first glance, the two novels seem to have a lot in common. They both centre on a woman who doesn't conform, learns how to pantomime normal human behaviour by imitating others, and feigns a relationship to save face. But while Convenience Store Woman can be read as the story of a misfit defiantly embracing what makes her happy, Earthlings depic ...more
Melanie
Aug 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel the need to bleach my brain. I wish there was an indication in the blurb about just how vicious the abuse - both sexual and psychological- of the primary school/teenager is. I read on because I felt I needed to know if she was going to be ok, when I know better. Why did I not DNF? I don’t even know that myself.
Eric Anderson
When “Convenience Store Woman”, Sayaka Murata's first novel to be translated into English was published a couple of years ago it became a cult hit with many enthusiastic fans (including me!) She was already a well-established writer in Japan having published ten books and won multiple prominent literary awards. Now more of her books are being translated into English including “Earthlings” which explores a lot of this author’s familiar themes such as alienation and societal pressures but the stor ...more
Ecem Yücel
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the weirdest books I've ever read. During the first few chapters, the things the protagonist goes through enraged me so much that after reading for an hour or two, I realized I was grabbing my kindle very tightly. Yet toward the end of the book, things escalate quickly and in a very abstract way that at some point, along with the characters, the emotional detachment, "the alien eye" affected me too, which means this book really was an emotional roller coaster for me.

The novel is a heavy c
...more
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Play Book Tag: Earthlings by Sayaka Murata - 3 stars 1 10 Jan 31, 2021 09:03PM  
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1,985 followers
Sayaka Murata (in Japanese, 村田沙耶香) is one of the most exciting up-and-coming writers in Japan today.
She herself still works part time in a convenience store, which gave her the inspiration to write Convenience Store Woman (Konbini Ningen). She debuted in 2003 with Junyu (Breastfeeding), which won the Gunzo Prize for new writers. In 2009 she won the Noma Prize for New Writers with Gin iro no uta (
...more

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