Lonesome Bodybuilder

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UPC: 9781593766788
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Author: Yukiko Motoya
Translator: Asa Yoneda
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (November 6, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593766785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593766788
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches

Winner of the Akutagawa Prize and the Kenzaburo Oe Prize

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 commuters struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon, until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A saleswoman 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 spouse’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 find a doorway to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most fearlessly inventive young writers. 


"This may well give Your Duck Is My Duck a run for its money as best title of the century. People around the world have been whispering Motoya’s name in my ear. Now she’s translated into English!"
―Gary Shteyngart, Vulture, Most Anticipated Fall Books

"An often surreal, at times disturbing, and reliably twisted look at the hidden sides of our everyday lives. By peeking behind the closed doors of our mundane existences, Motoya offers up truly unsettling looks at the things people are capable of doing. It is a particular, strange pleasure to read these stories for the first time; everyone should relish getting that opportunity."
NYLON, 1 of 21 Books You'll Want to Read This Fall

"Prize-winning Japanese author Motoya offers a collection of 11 stories that fuse the banality of the everyday with dreamlike elements of fantasy. Motoya explores marriage, gender and power through stories that begin with real life―the titular story is about a woman who decides to become a bodybuilder―and slowly turn surreal."


Yukiko Motoya was born in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan in 1979. After moving to Tokyo to study drama, she started the Motoya Yukiko Theater Company, whose plays she wrote and directed. Her first story, “Eriko to zettai,” appeared in the literary magazine Gunzo in 2002. Motoya won the Noma Prize for New Writers for Warm Poisonin 2011; the Kenzaburo Oe Prize for Picnic in the Storm in 2013; the Mishima Yukio Prize for How She Learned to Love Herself in 2014; and Japan’s most prestigious literary prize, the Akutagawa Prize, for An Exotic Marriage in 2016. Her books have been published or are forthcoming in French, Norwegian, Spanish, and Chinese, and her stories have been published in English in GrantaWords Without BordersTender, and Catapult.

Asa Yoneda was born in Osaka, Japan, and lives in Bristol, U.K. In addition to Yukiko Motoya, she has translated works by Banana Yoshimoto, Aoko Matsuda, and Natsuko Kuroda.