The Lonesome Bodybuilder, Yukiko Motoya
Yukiko Motoya

The Lonesome Bodybuilder

176 printed pages
Asa Yoneda
THE LONESOME BODYBUILDER marks the English-language debut of one of Japan's most celebrated and surreal contemporary writers, Yukiko Motoya
The story collection contains ten lucid yet slippery short stories and one novella perfect for fans of Etgar Keret and Clarice Lispector
Each story begins rooted firmly in reality, until the edges start to blur—shifting from the stable to the surreal with thrilling and beautiful precision
PICNIC IN THE STORM, a story within the collection, won Japan’s prestigious Kenzaburo Oe Prize, which comes with a $30,000 grant for use by the publisher of the English edition for marketing and publicity
A housewife fulfills a new dream of becoming a bodybuilder, without her husband noticing; a group of monkeys in a zoo miraculously bring their chimpanzee friend back to life without pomp and circumstance; and a boutique clerk struggles to help an amorphous customer to find something that fits, no matter the cost. Each story is enchanting and ever so slightly sinister
Motoya won the Akutagawa Prize, Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, for AN EXOTIC MARRIAGE, the novella contained in THE LONESOME BODYBUILDER; this book offers the exciting opportunity to introduce Motoya to a U.S. audience. Previously, her translated stories have appeared in GRANTA and CATAPULT
Bookseller Praise for The Lonesome Bodybuilder
«The Lonesome Bodybuilder takes ordinary people and thrusts them into bizarre situations, which they accept with equanimity: the woman morphing into her husband doesn't question the transformation, just does her best to deal with it. The child confronted with a mysterious specter at the bus shelter doesn't run away, but eventually eats the biscuit he offers (and it's delicious). The world's most dedicated saleswoman will not leave work until her amorphous, possibly alien client finds the perfect garment. It is both amusing and a devastatingly effective way to explore our most elemental fears. Motoya's stories are neon bright with touches of darkness, like Saturday morning cartoons that occasionally veer into the grotesque.» —Lauren Peugh, Powell's Books (Portland, OR)
«There's weird and then there's 'oh my goodness, what the heck did I just read?' weird. The stories collected in Yukiko Motoya's The Lonesome Bodybuilder belong to the latter group. These stories are incisive explorations of domestic life fraught with tension and 'out-of-left-field' bizarre field trips into the dark woods of the mind. Immersive, captivating—I can't get enough of Yukiko Motoya!» —Uriel Perez, BookPeople (Austin, TX)
“This collection had me riveted from beginning to end. Each story was a beautiful and intriguing blend of surrealism and the mundane, and nothing of Motoya's succinct language is lost in the translation. An excellent escape book.” —Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana (Frederick, MD)
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“if you’re always smiling like that, don’t you lose sight of your true feelings? Is it right to smile when really you’re so lonely you could cry? I . . . I wish now I could have shown my husband all my different faces. There’s so much inside me he doesn’t know.”
Kitae asked after anything exciting going on in my life.
“I’m starting to look like my husband.” I found myself telling her about the photos.
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