The Lonesome Bodybuilder

Stories

List Price: $16.95
Paperback | 5.5 x 8.2 inches | ISBN 9781593766788

Order Ships 11/06/2018

Or Buy From Indiebound

Winner of the Akutagawa Prize and the Kenzaburo Oe Prize

A housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique, which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking commuters struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon, until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A saleswoman in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won’t come out of the fitting room, and who may or may not be human. A newlywed notices that her spouse’s features are beginning to slide around his face to match her own.

In these eleven stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien—and find a doorway to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most fearlessly inventive young writers.

This inventive and chilling volume will have U.S. audiences craving more from Motoya.

 
Library Journal
1/8

In 11 short stories, Yukiko Motoya pulls back the curtain from everyday lives, to reveal that beneath the most mundane lies a world bizarre and alien.

 
Bustle, 1 of 11 Most Anticipated Books Published by Indie Presses to Have on Your Radar in 2018
2/8

I wish I could live inside a Yukiko Motoya book. Her perception and wisdom make the everyday experience feel magical and weird and the strangest experience seem strangely familiar.

 
—Etgar Keret
3/8

Charming, bizarre, and uncanny, The Lonesome Bodybuilder is Etgar Keret by way of Yoko Ogawa. I’d follow Yukiko Motoya anywhere she wanted to take me.

 
—Carmen Maria Machado
4/8

Playful and eerie and utterly enchanting, Yukiko Motoya’s stories are like fun-house mazes built to get lost in, where familiar shapes and features from the everyday world are revealed to you as if for the first time, twisted into marvelously odd shapes. These eleven stories possess a mundanely magical logic all their own, surprising and entirely absorbing.

 
—Alexandra Kleeman
5/8

I could never try to explain Yukiko Motoya’s stories. For me, the joy of reading fiction isn’t to analyze it, but to feel it in my body. In that sense, her writing offers enormous satisfaction to the sensitive organ inside me that is attuned to the pleasure of reading.

 
—Hiromi Kawakami, author of The Nakano Thrift ShopStrange Weather in Tokyo
6/8

I was impressed by how each story has a different idea, none being mere variations on a theme. It’s not a book to consume in one sitting. Read carelessly and you run the risk of ending up flat on your back with no idea of what just hit you. It dawned on me that in these pieces, Motoya, already well-known for theater, was trying to achieve in fiction the gamut of what can’t be done on stage. Reading this made me want to sit down and get to work. This is a collection that is provocative to writers as well.

 
—Yasutaka Tsutsui, author of Paprika
7/8

"Playwright-turned-novelist Motoya has been steadily making her presence felt in the English-language market in literary magazines like Granta. Here she offers a deft combination of magic realism and contemporary irony . . . A whimsical story collection from a gifted writer with a keen eye and a playful sense of humor." —Kirkus Reviews

 
—Kirkus Reviews
8/8

Yukiko Motoya was born in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan in 1979. After moving to Tokyo to study drama, she started the Motoya Yukiko Theater Company, whose plays she wrote and directed. Her first story, “Eriko to zettai,” appeared in the literary magazine Gunzo in 2002. Motoya won the Noma Prize for New Writers for Warm Poison in 2011; the Kenzaburo Oe Prize for Picnic in the Storm in 2013; the Mishima Yukio Prize for How She Learned to Love Herself in 2014; and Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa Prize, for An Exotic Marriage in 2016. Her books have been published or are forthcoming in French, Norwegian, Spanish, and Chinese, and her stories have been published in English in Granta, Words Without Borders, Tender, and Catapult.

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