Sayaka Murata: 地球星人 (Earthlings)

The latest addition to my website is Sayaka Murata‘s 地球星人 (Earthlings). Eleven-year old Natsuki Sasamoto does not get on with her parents or her older sister. Her only escape is her cousin Yuu. He is an alien, awaiting the spaceship to take him back to the motherland, while Natsuki has magical powers through her stuffed toy. They only meet during the annual visit to the grandparents house in the mountains. They decide to get married. At school Natsuki is sexually assaulted by a teacher so next time she meets Yuu she asks to have sex with him. They are caught and she is locked up and future visits to Yuu are cancelled. Indeed, she is monitored well into adulthood. As an adult she marries Tomoya who, like her, wants no sex and only friendship, as a way to avoiding the Factory – the job>marriage>children routine that all are expected to follow. When Tomoya loses his job they decide to escape to the house in the mountains where the the only resident is the recently made redundant Yuu. The three decide to resist the Factory but the past and the Factory are not going to let go. This is a superb novel from Murata about how we are made to follow a pattern regardless of what we really want.

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