Review - Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Title: Earthlings

Author: Sayaka Murata

Publisher: Granta

Release Date: 1st October 2020

Source: Book Sirens
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


I loved Convenience Store Woman, it really was a delight to read and I was excited to read Earthlings. I was hoping for a dose of the charm that flowed through that book.

Don’t let the cute hedgehog fool you, Earthlings was a bit of a shock to the system, The general gist of the story, a young woman who doesn’t want to conform to societies norms came through but how she gets from being a child besotted with her cousin to a woman in a loveless marriage is a bit of a disturbing one.

TRIGGER WARNING : I know some people will love this book but I am being honest that the use of child abuse, incest, parental abuse and cannibalism made me a little uncomfortable and it shocked me a little as I’m not usually affected that way by books.

However reading between the lines, the story of Natsuki our protagonist as she grows up is heartbreaking, she has to deal with some horrific things but she herself is the cause of some of them.

Her childhood retreat features heavily and that has to be my favourite thing in the book, a beautifully described hilltop house full of history and nature.

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

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18 comments

  1. Wow, the cover of this one certainly belies the content. The story sounds incredibly interesting but I'm not sure I'm in the mood for such heavy content. I enjoyed your review, Heather.

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  2. This certainly sounds unique, thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  3. I have to admit I'm intrigued. I'd love to try this author, but maybe I should start with Convenience Store Woman😁

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  4. Might have to pass on this one...despite the cute cover.

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    1. Yes, it definitely won’t be for everyone but the cover is cute!

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  5. I've been seriously into Japanese lit lately, starting off with some of their anthologies. I follow a writer called Alexandro chen whose writing may one day be up there with Haruki Murakami. By the looks of you, you love Japanese writing too, as seen in your other posts.

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    1. I’ll check him out, I’ve found two of his books on Amazon just now, thanks for the recommendation. I’m slowly discovering Japanese writers, there is such a vast array of choice.

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  6. I've been in the mood for something weird and unique. I think I'll be giving this one a go when it comes out!

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  7. I was drawn in by the adorable cover and now I'm very interested in the asexuality representation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I think I might have to check it out... Even if it does sound a little strange! :)

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    1. The cover is adorable and it does make sense when you read the book, but it’s cuteness definitely doesn’t fit the storyline!

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  8. Great review! I loved Convenience Store Woman, so it's good to know that this is so different.

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  9. Oh wow, I actually just started seeing this cover around and obviously cute hedgegog immediately caught my attention, but goodness me, thank you for the Trigger warnings!

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    1. Yep that hedgehog is adorable but the book is definitely not for the feint of heart!

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