The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya

The Lonesome Bodybuilder

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 th...

Details The Lonesome Bodybuilder

TitleThe Lonesome Bodybuilder
Release DateNov 6th, 2018
PublisherSoft Skull Press
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Cultural, Japan, Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Asia, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Literary Fiction

Reviews The Lonesome Bodybuilder

  • Uriel Perez
    There's weird and then there's "Oh my goodness, what the heck did I just read?" weird. The stories collected in Yukiko Motoya's "The Lonesome Bodybuilder" belong to the latter group.These stories are incisive explorations of domestic life fraught with tension and "out-of-left-field" bizarre field trips into the dark woods of the mind.Immersive, captivating, I can't get enough of Yukiko Motoya!
  • Kazen
    These surreal yet grounded stories are exactly my kind of thing.Many start in the mundane - a happy or unhappy marriage, a scene at work. One strange but believable thing happens, then something a bit more odd, until Motoya leads you down a path to the absolutely absurd. It's ridiculous, but you can't imagine the story spinning out any other way.Themes include knowing yourself, how we are changed by contact with other people, and the place of wom...
  • Chris
    I received my copy of The Lonesome Bodybuilder from the publisher on Edelweiss+.I have mixed feelings about this set of stories. At first, I thought I generally didn't like it. But, after thinking about each of the stories more, they're growing on me. I've had this reaction before with Oe, Ryu Murakami, and Ogawa, so I'm not going to complain.I feel like each of the stories grabbed my attention or interest in different ways. Some of them, like Th...
  • Lauren
    I was utterly riveted by Motoya’s short stories. I am not much of a short story reader and am very picky about those I do read. But I have found I really enjoy Asian fiction, so I was curious to read The Lonesome Bodybuilder. Motoya’s stories are weird, but not a disturbing or uncomfortable weird. More like an engrossing blend of the human mundane and surreal minutia which fluctuates and grows as the story progresses. There is nothing lost in...
  • Madeline Partner
    The stories in Motoya's collection revolve around love, intimate relationships and individuality. Motoya explores the niches of modern society, bringing out the magical in the everyday, in a slightly more up-front and surprising manner than the famed Haruki Murakami. Each story delves deep into the main character's mind, examining their reactions to those around them and the world they inhabit. To express these complex thoughts, Motoya often reli...
  • Rebecca Marie
    Prior to reading the Lonesome Bodybuilder, I had never heard of Yukiko Motoya; now, I find myself a convert worshipping at her altar. Across eleven stories (narrated by women more often than not), the strange is used to displace very real questions about gender, power, and relationships. This is a book wherein a husband and wife begin resembling one another to the point that neither looks human; mountain peonies bloom out of underpants; strange m...
  • Colin
    I loved this book
  • Kenny Leck
    Read the uncorrected proof copy, and in parts, it reminded me of the writings of Haruki Murakami, Yoko Tawada, and Hiromi Kawakami. But at the same time, there was a certain newness to it. The stories shone best when they were treated in the long form as the characters had room to grow. I'd would look forward to reading a novel from the author. Without the speculative-fict elements, the tone of the stories reminded one of reading Coetzee as well.
  • Alan
    Already much heralded in her native japan, Yukiko Motoya gets a first-ever English translation and we finally get to see why she has already received numerous literary awards. These 11 stories in the collection are ambiguous, surreal, and sometimes downright disturbing. As the collection progresses the stories become increasingly fantastical and, as good literature should, they make you think, not just ‘what the heck did I just read?’ but als...
  • Patricia
    Utterly amazing, I couldn't put it. I recommend to those who love wacky stories. Really happy I got it.
  • Jacob Hoefer
    3.5 for the book as a whole but some stories do stand out: An Exotic Marriage, Q & A, The Straw Husband were all a step above the rest. Paprika Jiro was proboably my favorite, absolute delight!
  • Margaryta
  • Mark
    Not every story here works, but this is still an interesting collection and a couple of these offbeat tales, have a Murakami feel to them.