Channeling the surrealist spirit of Banana Yoshimoto and Aimee Bender, Yukiko Motoya's trippy debut story collection alchemizes commonplace frustrations - a malfunctioning umbrella in a downpour, a tedious meeting - into marvelous allegories. . . . Weird and wonderful
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.
The stories are funny and creepy; they have a campfire vibe, a brush of the moonless night. . . . The tales boil down to the problem of balancing empathy with self-assertion - of both practicing kindness and expressing your own needs, and all while the people around you are behaving like wraiths or aliens. Motoya's protagonists feel quietly radical in a literary moment that seems particularly interested in unpacking various forms of narcissism. They treat the importance of others' inner lives as a given. . . . Meanwhile, the reader watches each transformation and stab at connection. She becomes the bulge in the curtain, the shadow on the other side of the glass-the strange one.
Incredibly enjoyable stories
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.
Motoya is a writing talent who's not afraid of doing things her own way . . . Mixing the absurd with the psychological, Motoya takes the reader on flights of fancy that also seem to capture the bizarreness of our own minds, preconceptions and concerns. If you feel like reading something that little bit different this year then these stories are the perfect place to start.
11 arresting, hyper-real and delightful stories
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
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
These uncanny stories surprise, unnerve and haunt
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.