The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
November 11, 2020 8:36 AM EST

Natsuki, the young protagonist of Earthlings, sees repression, violence and unreasonable expectations everywhere around her. She is so alienated by society that she comes to believe that she is from another planet—and when her cousin Yuu tells her he believes the same thing about himself, the pair embark on a rebellious relationship. Over the years, their bond strengthens and they work together to break the chains of conformity, first in small ways like minor theft, and then in much larger and more unsettling ways. In a translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori, Sayaka Murata writes about difficult subjects with a detached, deadpan style that highlights the absurdity and humor in society’s ills; following her previously acclaimed novel, Convenience Store Woman, she has become one of the most unique and compelling Japanese writers today.

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