Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

earthlings

“My body is not my own.”

I’m speechless and my stomach is in knots. The social commentary in Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori), about the expectations and pressures society puts on people, and how people put those pressures on each other, is delivered so matter-of-factly and dealt with so aggressively that it heightens disturbing events to a level of disturbing I didn’t think was possible. And THAT ENDING, what the hell?! Murata does not hold back.

Earthlings is so incredibly weird, devastatingly sad, and deeply distressing, and then the ending got gruesome and even WEIRDER. This would make a good pick for the bravest of book clubs, because you would have endless things to talk about, and you’re either going to want to talk about those things or run the hell away and hide.

TW: childhood emotional and physical abuse, parentification, molestation, incest, rape, derealization and depersonalization, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, murder, cannibalism, graphic violence

NOTE: Despite book descriptions that say Natsuki’s husband is asexual, there is no ace rep here. Choosing celibacy is not the same thing, and in the book, Natsuki specifically states her husband is heterosexual. It seems like some non-ace folks in marketing used their own inaccurate stereotypes and misunderstandings when they wrote up the book’s description.