• Earthlings

  • A Novel
  • By: Sayaka Murata
  • Narrated by: Nancy Wu
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (175 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

 

  • Amazon Editor’s Top Pick
  • Bustle Pick
  • Vulture.com Pick

As a child, Natsuki doesn’t fit into her family. Her parents favor her sister, and her best friend is a plush toy hedgehog named Piyyut who has explained to her that he has come from the planet Popinpobopia on a special quest to help her save the Earth. Each summer, Natsuki counts down the days until her family drives into the mountains of Nagano to visit her grandparents in their wooden house in the forest, a place that couldn’t be more different from her grey commuter town. One summer, her cousin Yuu confides to Natsuki that he is an extraterrestrial and that every night he searches the sky for the spaceship that might take him back to his home planet. Natsuki wonders if she might be an alien too.

Back in her city home, Natsuki is scolded or ignored and even preyed upon by a young teacher at her cram school. As she grows up in a hostile, violent world, she consoles herself with memories of her time with Yuu and discovers a surprisingly potent inner power. Natsuki seems forced to fit into a society she deems a “baby factory,” but even as a married woman she wonders if there is more to this world than the mundane reality everyone else seems to accept. The answers are out there, and Natsuki has the power to find them.

Dreamlike, sometimes shocking, and always strange and wonderful, Earthlings asks what it means to be happy in a stifling world and cements Sayaka Murata’s status as a master chronicler of the outsider experience and our own uncanny universe. 

©2018 Sakaya Murata (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

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What listeners say about Earthlings

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Intriguing but disturbing

May contain triggers! In this book, a charming, wonderful, imaginative child experiences severe emotional and verbal abuse from her mother and sister and neglect from her father. This results in isolation, de-realization, and sets her up to be vulnerable to being sexually abused by a teacher, which sends her into a psychotic episode. She is never able to recover and there are many repercussions. The results of this are described very well, including her persistent isolation. She continues as an engaging character. As the reader continues to sympathize with her and the other wounded people she finds, we are taken further down a well of unreality resulting in a gruesome finale, which the main character can not fully understand as she slips into and out of psychosis. Readers should be aware that anyone who has experienced verbal or emotional abuse, or sexual abuse especially as a child, may be triggered by this story. Unforgettable characters.

8 people found this helpful

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Wild ride! And not for the faint of heart!

I listened to Murata's previous short novel, Convenience Store Woman and really enjoyed it. Earthlings explores some similar themes but with far more brutal force and shocking scenes (child rape, incest, and cannibalismto name a few). Despite these strong scenes, I enjoyed the story and Wu's narration is great. Curious to see what Murata will come up with next!

8 people found this helpful

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This Book Needs Trigger Warnings for Child Abuse

This book needs to include trigger warnings for child abuse. The author approaches the topic adeptly, so adeptly that the child abuse suddenly dawns upon you and is quite shocking.

5 people found this helpful

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Unusual

Bizzare, shocking, macabre, hallucinatory. But not in a negative way. However this story won't be for everyone

3 people found this helpful

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please please create a sequel with a happy ending

it was great, except the ending. if your considering this book just end it a chapter early and it's awesome btw. but for people like myself... please create a happy ending. Perhaps the main character gets a job in a convience store

2 people found this helpful

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  • 06-19-21

Ridiculous

I loved Convenience Store Woman, so was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, this one had no sympathetic characters and their behavior was ridiculous I couldn’t care what happened to them.

1 person found this helpful

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Bizarre but so compelling!

Listened to it all in three days! The story is so unsettling but the author does such a great job rationalizing the disturbing things the characters do. It made me ponder deeply not only society and taboos, but also what it means to be human.

1 person found this helpful

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Favorite book of the year!!!

This has to be my favorite book I’ve read this year… This book is the perfect amount of beautiful and twisted. It was so interesting I could not put it down. Also, the narrator is AMAZING. She really immerses you in the story. Absolutely recommend spending your credit on this book!

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Things got weird Quick

This story had a few very powerful messages that would have benefited the story line. I understand what the author was trying to do towards the end, but it took away from the overall story.

if they would have applied those powerful messages to the main characters to where they were able to learn and heal from the trauma would have been a better story line (that could have also incorporated murder)

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UHHHH

Overall I liked this a lot. Definitely one of the stranger stories I've come across in a very long time without a doubt. Very dark look inside broken minds that find each other and try to make sense of the world while landing on very, VERY disturbing conclusions. I found myself repulsed in a lot of moments but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't compelled the whole time.

Two flaws: I'm gonna give a HUGE content warning because this contains some pretty graphic and harrowing depictions of CSA that kind of come out of nowhere. Luckily I have no related trauma so it "merely" unnerved me but if that's a subject you're uncomfortable with I'd either give this a pass or just be prepared that it's in here. The other flaw is probably a personal thing, but the narrator, while doing an excellent job conveying the childlike mindsets of the main characters, unfortunate chose a voice for the Yu character that sounds *exactly* like Milhouse from The Simpsons. It's honestly pretty hilarious but it did make the tone really bizarre and uncomfortable before I adjusted.