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Picnic in the Storm

Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, 2019

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472154354

Price: £9.99

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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.

What's Inside

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Ingenious stories
The Guardian
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
Michelle Hart, O, The Oprah Magazine
Unsettlingly good
The Sunday Times
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
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
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
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
Incredibly enjoyable stories
Daily Mail
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.
Stylist magazine
11 arresting, hyper-real and delightful stories
Independent i paper
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
Etgar Keret, author of Missing Kissinger
These uncanny stories surprise, unnerve and haunt
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.
The New Yorker