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Picnic in the Storm

Yukiko Motoya

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Short stories

These eleven surreal tales mark the English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearlessly inventive young writers

Winner of the Akutagawa Prize and the Kenzaburo Oe Prize
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

'In Yukiko Motoya's delightful new story collection, the familiar becomes unfamiliar . . . Certainly the style will remind readers of the Japanese authors Banana Yoshimoto and Sayaka Murata, but the stories themselves and the logic, or lack thereof, within their sentences are reminiscent, at least to this reader, of Joy Williams and Rivka Galchen and George Saunders' Weike Wang, New York Times Book Review

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 businessmen struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon - until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A woman working 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 husband'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, through it, find a way to liberation. Winner of the Kenzaburo Oe Prize, PICNIC IN THE STORM is the English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearless young writers.

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Praise for Picnic in the Storm

  • Charming, bizarre, and uncanny, PICNIC IN THE STORM 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

  • 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

  • These arresting, hyper-real stories linger in the imagination . . . By the first few sentences, you know you're hearing the voice of a remarkable writer; by the end of [the story] "An Exotic Marriage", you're certain that Yukiko Motoya's shivery, murmuring voice will never completely leave you. - Financial Times

  • Delightful . . . At face value, the stories are fun and funny to read, but weightier questions lurk below the surface. . . . The writing itself is to be admired . . . Certainly the style will remind readers of the Japanese authors Banana Yoshimoto and Sayaka Murata, but the stories themselves - and the logic, or lack thereof, within their sentences - are reminiscent, at least to this reader, of Joy Williams and Rivka Galchen and George Saunders. - Weike Wang, The New York Times Book Review

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Yukiko Motoya

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 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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