Earthlings

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Title: Earthlings (original title: 地球星人)

Writer: Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori)

Publishing House: Granta

Date of Publication: September 29th 2020 (first published August 31st 2018)

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Magical powers. I have to summon my magical powers. The power of darkness, the power of wind – any magical power will do, but I need something. I have to use my magical powers on my whole body before my heart feels anything.’’

It was all your fault. You should have said ‘’No’’ loud and clear. You imagine things. You want attention. Your mind is filthy. ‘’He didn’t go all the way, don’t fuss.’’ ‘Why are you acting so traumatized?’’ ‘’These things happen, we just have to put up with it.’’. ‘’It was years ago, move on.’’

NO!

Natsuki, Yuu, Tomoya. Three people who struggle to escape a world that wants to swallow them whole. We resort to magic, illusions and make-believe because our reality is too terrible to confront. All your paper lanterns, and mountains, and traditions, all your ancestors’ presence can’t make up for the abuse, the beatings, the humiliation, the rape, the betrayal, the violence. For a mother who needs the perfect punching bag and finds it in the face of Natsuki. For a society that needs ‘’work tools’’ and ‘’reproductive tools’’, a mentality that demands of you to be the proper, perfect ‘’tool for society’’.

‘’1. Yuu won’t tell anyone that I am a magician.

  1. I won’t tell anyone that Yuu’s an alien from outer space.
  2. We won’t fall in love with anyone else, even after summer’s over. We’ll definitely meet up here again next summer.’’

You don’t want intimacy, then? You are an alien. You don’t want children. You are a useless parasite, without a purpose and rights and what will you ever offer to the society that nurtures you, you are full of ingratitude. You’ve got some nerve, you need to be taught a lesson.

When your mother tells you that ‘’you are the horrible one, not him.’’ When a daughter can’t trust the one who brought her to life, the world itself has fallen. When you feel that your life and body don’t belong to you, when you are willing to get married in order to escape constant surveillance and scrutinization and blatant humiliation. We are looking into a society that murders its own children. Technology will do very little, it is the human soul and heart and spirit that should matter but they don’t. Certain societies of our world (and some of them are closer than we would like to think…) haven’t grasped this basic concept yet. I doubt they ever will. Let us all work for the Factory, then. For societies that demand everything and give back nothing.

There are certain really horrible scenes that are sure to make any reader uncomfortable, that require a strong stomach, but we need to persevere because this is Life. We don’t hide from it, we mustn’t.

This book isn’t ‘’bonkers’’ – what a word to be used by people who call themselves ‘’readers’’- or ‘’absurd’’, or ‘’mad’’. It is an allegory, a tragic, poignant fable of issues we face on a daily basis but refuse to acknowledge by playing the ostrich game. If we are unable to see it, I doubt there is any hope left for our future…

‘’Survive, whatever it takes.’’