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, Magical Realism, Asian Literature, Japanese Literature

Reviews The Lonesome Bodybuilder

  • Sam Quixote
    A lonely housewife takes up bodybuilding. A shop assistant tries to find the perfect outfit for a customer she never sees who’s locked in the fitting room. Broken umbrellas make people fly in typhoons, small musical instruments fall out of straw husbands and women duel with their male partners in the night - this is Yukiko Motoya’s short story collection, Picnic in the Storm! I quite liked The Lonesome Bodybuilder though the ending was a bit ...
  • Robin Bonne
    4.19 Stars. I decided to rate each individual story in this collection. The author used magical realism to create modern fairytales around the complex feelings of womenhood. The translator did a lovely job with this one, and it included modern slang terms which a less talented translator might have gotten slightly wrong.The Lonesome Bodybuilder5/5 -Excellent story about a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. She decides to become a bodybuilder. ...
  • Raeleen Lemay
    My faves were The Lonesome Bodybuilder, An Exotic Marriage, The Women, and Q&A. This was such a weird, surreal collection and I really really enjoyed it! I want to read more stories like these!! My faves were The Lonesome Bodybuilder, An Exotic Marriage, The Women, and Q&A. This was such a weird, surreal collection and I really really enjoyed it! I want to read more stories like these!!
  • 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...
  • Skyler Autumn
    3 Stars A collection of bizarre short stories The Lonesome Bodybuilder takes us from a woman whose husband is so completely oblivious to her that he is unable to notice her transformation as she goes from scrawny to a complete muscular bodybuilder, to a woman that believes she is slowly transforming into her husband physically, to a shop clerk stuck trying to help a mysterious being behind the changing room curtain, to a woman taking her boyfrien...
  • 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!
  • Resh (The Book Satchel)
    A mixed bag of stories. The common themes include marriage, gender dynamics, loneliness and intimacy. Most stories have a magical realism twist as well - people turn into flowers, people fly away in umbrellas. While some stories are bizarre, some are excellent because of the way they deal with human psychology (An Exotic marriage). There are 11 stories in the collection;Some of the stories stood out more than the others. Here are my favs:Favourit...
  • Fatma
    2.5 stars Motoya's stories start out promising and interesting enough, but then they take that interesting premise and draw it out for so long that it absolutely loses any of the appeal it once had. The ideas were there; the execution was not. These stories were too long or too convoluted or too nonsensical, often padded out with a lot of filler that felt like it added nothing to the stories' narratives. Seeing as I only really enjoyed one story ...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    These unique stories filled with magical realism take a tongue-in-cheek look at the relationships between men and women. The stories can seem weird at first, but once you get used to the author’s sly humor this is a great read.
  • Katie
    Weird and wonderful, The Lonesome Bodybuilder is a delightfully odd collection of short stories. Using magical realism and the absurd, Yukiko Montoya explores gender roles, social convention, and marital power dynamics in small, powerful bursts.Motoya’s eleven stories all begin with the ordinary, if not mundane, and slowly splinter into the fantastic. A young housewife transforms her body while weightlifting at the gym, yet her husband remains ...
  • Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
    For fans of the modern stylings of Haruki Murakami, Etgar Keret, Carmen Maria Machado, Karen Russell, and Kelly Link, comes another uniquely brilliant voice in short fiction, and one we are lucky to have.Most of the stories here center around themes of gender and power dynamics, as well as the problems, loneliness, and loss of true feelings and intimacy that can go along with being in relationships. Motoya has a strangely specific ability to find...
  • Bill Hsu
    Spotted this on Marie-Therese's feed, and immediately added it to my shelves. I enjoyed most of these surreal, funny, and twisted narratives (with the possible exception of "The Straw Husband"). The (mostly female) protagonists have to navigate some frustrating relationships, with an admirable can-do attitude. The longest piece, "An Exotic Marriage", starts:One day, I realized that I was starting to look just like my husband.Being a Brian Evenson...
  • 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...
  • Christine
    I read 6 of the 11 stories, so feel that I've given the book a fair shake ... but this just wasn't for me. I'm okay with fiction that is absurd and/or surreal as long as the writer can capture my attention with a well told story. The deeper I got into this collection, the less I wanted to turn the page. Reading this book had become a chore so it was time to stop. There's something here, I'd give this author another chance, but this book, for me, ...
  • Lauren
    Delightfully weird short stories! My favorites in the collection were the title story "The Lonesome Bodybuilder" and the sprawling "An Exotic Marriage".
  • Jae
    Collection of bizarre and fantastical short stories by a very imaginative writer.
  • Madeline
    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...
  • Alan
    Yukiko Motoya is a 21st-Century Japanese playwright and author, whose debut collection The Lonesome Bodybuilder contains eleven stories. In each of them, the ordinary becomes extraordinary—one way or another, one after another, however mundanely they begin, these tales veer into... something else, something which removes them from the realm of mimetic fiction and into—not science fiction, nor even fantasy, but certainly some sort of speculati...
  • Sarah
    2.5 rounded upWhile very readable these stories were a wee bit too bizarre and surreal for my personal taste, with the ideas taking precedence over actual meaning and substance.
  • Rasydan Fitri
    She knows how to deliver absurd, funny stories lined with creepy tones at the same time. Some stories ended too abrupt, but overall a good read.
  • Pamela
    "An exotic marriage" is a very scary story
  • 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...
  • Marc
    Strange. Surreal. Weird. All of these descriptions capture a facet of Motoya's stories, but no one word can really communicate the unique way the twisted is treated so naturally. It's almost like the magical aspects are the most normal part of the stories. The longest story, "An Exotic Marriage," had me the least interested and thinking I might rate the whole collection 3 stars, but almost every other story intrigued, surprised, and transfixed me...
  • Lindy
    I think there's an assumption that in becoming an adult, people have made peace with their essential selves, the essential selves of those around them, and the social roles they consciously and subconsciously fulfill. But this isn't true-- we still fear that we cannot ever fully know the strangers that lurk beneath our and our loved ones' public faces and we often don't know how to ask for what we want out of the world. I loved this collection's ...
  • Sara Klem
    I'm a fan. It has all the outlandishness of a Moshfegh story collection with a Japanese bent and a dose of magical realism. I think what tied these stories together for me was that many of them are about how women make themselves smaller or compromise their wants in various forms of relationships, though other than that, the stories are too bizarre to be "alike." There were two stories, Paprika Jiro and The Straw Husband, for which the meaning wa...
  • Jenna
    2,5 stars
  • ahana
    whimsical! delightful!
  • D
    This is a collection of short stories by Motoya Yukiko, whom I've never heard of before. I admit I went 'wtf did I just read?' more than once while reading the stories. With these kind of stories--the ones that are strange and sometimes incomprehensible-- it's easy for me to get lost. I don't like this experimental kind of style in art and movies because I have a literal mind and I like things to be less metaphorical and more solid. I tend to lik...
  • Zac Smith
    there are two main strengths: one is a confident flippancy, wherein the stories are sort of satirical misdirections concerning absurd concepts in popular culture -- there's a surreal take on 'action movie scenes' played out in a fruit market and one with a Kill Bill/Anime-esque 'infinite henchmen vs. blue-haired girl' and both wrap up with unexpected absurdism.two is a (of course) Murakami/Banana-esque mysteriousness that grips you for some page-...
  • Kartika
    Rating: 3.5⭐/5This book is a collection of 11 short stories, all of them strange in their own ways. The stories take you on a trip from a woman who gets obsessed with bodybuilding after watching a boxing match with her husband to a girl who marries her own father, spites her mother, and gets cursed with bloody tears and a lonely life filled with the fear of her mother trying to kill everyone the daughter cherishes. Out of the eleven stories, fo...