Earthlings

Earthlings

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis

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? – Goodreads

Review

Thanks to NetGalley for a providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Part contemporary fiction, part magical realism, part horror story, Earthlings takes all of the really interesting societal commentary that was so fascinating in Convenience Store Woman, but turns the weirdness dial up to 11. The first 3rd of the book is a difficult read, dealing unflinchingly with subjects such as child abuse and sexual assault. The final 3rd of the novel is suddenly, out of nowhere, a horror story. Interwoven into all of that is Murata’s forceful, honest critique of how society deals with anything – or anyone – it considers “abnormal,” and the strange beauty there is to be found when you find someone who is your same kind of different.

He let me speak my own language. Earthlings probably don’t realize it, but meeting someone like that is rare in life.

I can’t say more than that without giving anything away, but I promise it’ll be one of the most interesting books you’ll read all year.