One day, while browsing the NetGalley catalogue, I saw this cute cover depicting a hedgehog – a new book written by the author of Convenience Store Woman (haven’t read it, but I saw it a lot on bookish blogs). I was very curious, so I asked for the e-book and I got it. Then I also saw that Content Catnip wrote its review and said the book is “mindblowing”, so it was definitely time to start reading it.

Earthlings in a nutshell

Earthlings is the story of Natsuki, a woman who does not want to fulfill the expectations of the society – that is, to get married and have children. Her journey from childhood to maturity is certainly not usual, and I might say her family is quite weird as well.

Overall impression

I was so easily fooled by the cute fluffy cover and I thought I’ll read an easy relaxing book … Oh boy, Earthlings is nothing like that! Despite the fact that the story starts with children playing peacefully at the countryside, this beginning couldn’t be more different than the ending.

It is a story about toxic relationships and not fitting in the society – an extreme rebellion against human culture and spirit. Beware, there are some very disturbing elements towards the final part of the book.

Earthlings and The Vegetarian

Quite recently I also read The Vegetarian by Han Kang, and I must say that Earthlings reminded me a lot of this book. The stories are very different, however I see some common aspects:

  • both books have as overarching theme the pressured to conform to societal norms
  • toxic relationships and trauma are present in both stories, though in different contexts
  • the overall atmosphere is spooky and weird … at least that’s how I experienced both stories


I cannot make up my mind whether I liked the book or not. I did read the 200 pages in only 2 evenings. I felt very uncomfortable while reading some sections, however I couldn’t put it down. It definitely shocked me when the first disturbing sections appeared … I was waiting for an easy relaxing story, as the cover suggested, not a full-blown hit. But again I couldn’t put it down. I’m still wondering how I managed to read the ending.

Maybe I don’t need to make up my mind. It is certainly a mindblowing story.

If you would like to buy books or other (non)bookish things, please consider using one of these links: Amazon | Waterstones | Carturesti. Thank you!

‘Till next time … happy reading!


PS: I received a digital copy of this book in December 2020 at my request, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. My review expresses my own thoughts about the story and it is not influenced in any way by the publisher or the author. The book was published in October 2020.

PPS: I finished reading Earthlings less than 24 hours before writing and publishing this post. I felt like I needed to write down my thoughts as soon as possible … that’s how much an impact it had on me.

5 thoughts on “The award for the most misleading cover goes to … Earthlings by Sayaka Murata (book review)

  1. Wow! I am so glad you liked my review and it prompted you to get it and review it yourself. I am sorry though that I didn’t point out how horrifying it is, I don’t know why, even despite this I found it amazing, but yes definitely a very disturbing book and not for the faint-hearted. Good though that you read it in 24 hours. Yes I agree, it does take a while to sit with it and work out what it all means. Hope you are having a good weekend ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the surprise element had a big impact in the whole reading experience, especially given the peaceful first chapters ๐Ÿ™‚ The whole story is a masterpiece – I do think that it takes a lot of passion and courage to write a story like this.
      All in all, I am happy I read the book and that it had a big surprise factor ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy weekend! (it’s still Sunday here ๐Ÿ™‚ )


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