A club to explore a collection of short stories from writers new and established.
This month's book club pick is "The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories" by Yukiko Motoya, translated by Asa Yoneda.
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.
"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, author of Her Body and Other Parties
"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, author of Intimations and You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine
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.
Asa Yoneda was born in Osaka and studied language, literature, and translation at University of Oxford and SOAS University of London. She now lives in Bristol, U.K. In addition to Yukiko Motoya, she has translated works by Banana Yoshimoto, Aoko Matsuda, and Natsuko Kuroda.
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