by Yukiko Motoya
4 July 2019
Winner of the Akutagawa Prize and the Kenzaburo Oe PrizeA 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 ReviewA 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.