The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories

The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories 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 umbrella

  • Title: The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories
  • Author: Yukiko Motoya
  • ISBN: 1593766785
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 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 The English language debut of one of Japan s most fearlessly inventive young writers Get A Copy Kindle Store StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksApple BooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryIndigoAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Or buy for Paperback, 224 pages Published November 6th 2018 by Soft Skull Press first published November 1st 2018 More Details ISBN 1593766785 ISBN13 9781593766788 Edition Language English Other Editions 9 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail edit details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about The Lonesome Bodybuilder, please sign up

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    Lists with This Book Oooh Shiny November 2018 21 books 5 voters New Horror November 2018 5 books 2 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 Rating details Sort Default Filter Oct 08, 2018 Kazen rated it really liked it Shelves arc 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 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 women in Japanese society Even so than in the W 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 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 women in Japanese society Even so than in the West, Japanese women are expected to be wives and mothers first, putting husbands and children before themselves These women are the protagonists and navigate their way through a world where many things don t go as planned.The centerpiece, and one of my favorite stories, is the novella An Exotic Marriage A wife realizes that she and her husband look similar as time goes on At first she thinks it s learned mannerisms or maybe sharing a taste in clothes, but one day she looks in the mirror and sees that her features have slipped slightly out of place, closer to those of her husband As soon as she notices they jump back into position, like kids caught doing something they shouldn t, and the story spins on from there.I was worried the longer length would mean absurdities would pile up to the point of being unbearable, but instead they re nuanced and layered The page count is a strength, giving Motoya room to develop characters and sub plots and draw us into the world An Exotic Marriage won the Akutagawa Prize, arguably the highest literary honor in Japan, and it s easy to see why.Yoneda is an accomplished translator and her skill is well applied here I am in the unusual position of being able to read in both the source and target languages, but I never felt the Japanese poke through nor the need to back translate The reader is in good hands.All in all I immensely enjoyed The Lonesome Bodybuilder It s perfect for when you want to read something delightfully different.Thanks to Soft Skull Press and Edelweiss for providing a review copy flag 22 likesLike see review Jan 09, 2019 Robin Bonne rated it really liked it Shelves anthology and short stories, fairy tales and fantasy, feminism, favorites 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 Fitting Room 5 5 A mysterious customer is in the 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 Fitting Room 5 5 A mysterious customer is in the dressing room at a retail shop I loved the ending Typhoon 5 5 A little bit of everyday umbrella magic.I Called You by Name 5 5 This story made me consider how loneliness manifests An Exotic Marriage 4 5 This story of marriage reminds me of traditional Japanese fairy tales There is a lot to think about with this one and I will be thinking about it for awhile My only issue was it felt like the beginning of a novel that was reworked into a short story.Paprika Jiro 2 5 Interesting, but I didn t fully understand what was happening in this story How to Burden the Girl 4 5 A man meets a woman who is seemingly a superhero She turns out to be a Freudian nightmare The Women 5 5 A story with a lot to unpack Women become an extreme gender stereotype of themselves and challenge their male partners to a duel I m not sure how I felt about the ending QA 5 5 This story is a QA from an aging supermodel that helped me unpack the gender and social meanings from the previous story, The Women This is pretty f cking brilliant Now I know how I feel about the ending of the previous story The Dogs 4 5 An uncanny story involving a woman who lives in a secluded cabin with her dogs The Straw Husband 2 5 This story wasn t nearly as good as the rest Not the best ending for the collection flag 19 likesLike see review Jul 21, 2018 Uriel Perez rated it really liked it 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 flag 14 likesLike see review Nov 11, 2018 Jerrie redwritinghood rated it really liked it review of another edition 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 flag 9 likesLike see review Dec 06, 2018 Resh The Book Satchel rated it really liked it 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 than the others Here are my favs Favourites 5 stars The Lonesome body builder A favour 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 than the others Here are my favs Favourites 5 stars The Lonesome body builder A favourite I loved the woman who enrols for body building sessions and her relationship with her husband The husband does not notice the muscles of his wife and this is a testament to their relationship Definitely one that I want to re read Fitting room This one was so good It was the second story and once I finished it, I really thought the collection would be a five star read A sales woman tries to get the perfect dress for an unknown customer who would not leave the fitting room The Dogs I had read this story previously before reading this collection I loved it then and I loved it now too Though it has small pricks of bizarre, it is the writing that drew me to this one I have already read this story three times Read an online version here exotic marriage I didn t love it but the story was pretty good and it was one that kept me thinking A newly wed woman feels like she is beginning to look like her husband The ending made my heart stop So in a way I loved it Also LOTS OF FOOD The story reminded me of Murakami The Straw Husband about a marriage and a wife realising her husband may not be who he thought he was How to Burden a girl This was a good story and creepy but personally I was disturbed because a girl has kids with her father Not my kind, but a good oneSO, women have a centre place in most of the stories which was really refreshing to read Definitely interested in reading from the author She is wonderful flag 6 likesLike see review Nov 08, 2018 Audra ouijaodleads rated it it was amazing Shelves whack, short stories 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 a very realistic situation, like a married couple 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 a very realistic situation, like a married couple losing touch with each other, and turning it on its head, introducing a completely absurd component that shifts the story into the realm of heightened realism, or even all the way to magical realism.I loved every story.There is something really special about the way Motoya focuses on the women in her stories Mostly, her protagonists are women who are stuck in some type of situation unhappy in their marriage, with their life, with who they are becoming, with how the past is affecting them They very clearly see how the problems are rooted deep in the threads of their daily lives, but it is shaking the issues that prove difficult.How do you get back to a relationship with you husband when he doesn t notice that you ve become a bodybuilder, insane muscles rippling over your body How do you stay independent and keep your life separate from your life as a couple when you notice that day by day your face is beginning to look and like your husband s What about if as a boyfriend, you only wanted to spice up your relationship and instead your girlfriend challenges you to a duel These are the types of stories where you just have to let the weird wash over you I love becoming immersed in these other worlds where at any moment, the strangest things might happen people can fly away using umbrellas, turn into flowers, cry blood.My favorite three stories in the collection for me were The Lonesome Bodybuilder, An Exotic Marriage, and The Women, though I really loved them all I would adore to read a novel from Motoya My huge thanks to Soft Skull Press for sending me this one to read and review, and I also want to thank them for their continued commitment as a company to publishing unique and brilliant voices flag 6 likesLike see review Jul 25, 2018 Lauren rated it it was amazing Shelves poetry short stories essays 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 translation The writing is succinct and sharp no fl 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 translation The writing is succinct and sharp no flowery detail or unnecessarily long sentences Just the sort of diction I gravitate to flag 6 likesLike see review Nov 08, 2018 Katie rated it really liked it Shelves arc reviews 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 oblivious A saleswoman gives superb customer servic 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 oblivious A saleswoman gives superb customer service to a guest who refuses to leave the fitting room Is the customer simply shy Or is she some unknown creature A new wife notices that her and her husband s faces are slowly shifting to look like each other Is it her imagination Or is it a symptom of losing her autonomy Motoya s stories directly challenge the expectations we have for women s bodies She celebrates women who refuse to submit to their partner s or society s will I ve always been a sucker for a unique, experimental story, so I loved this collection It reminded me of The Vegetarian or Her Body and Other Parties, although the writing is less lyrical and direct.These stories are easy to read, fun, feminist, and joyfully unique Pick The Lonely Bodybuilder up if you are looking for a some variety in your reading life flag 5 likesLike see review Dec 01, 2018 Lauren rated it liked it Shelves translated works, short stories, women in translation, japan, ebook, hoopla rentals Delightfully weird short stories My favorites in the collection were the title story The Lonesome Bodybuilder and the sprawling An Exotic Marriage flag 5 likesLike see review Sep 05, 2018 Rebecca Marie rated it liked it Across eleven stories narrated by women 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 men glide off buildings with the help of umbrellas rendered useless in typhoon rains I loved this collection, how sure each story was of what it wanted to be Equal parts Aesop and Kaf Across eleven stories narrated by women 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 men glide off buildings with the help of umbrellas rendered useless in typhoon rains I loved this collection, how sure each story was of what it wanted to be Equal parts Aesop and Kafka but as if written by Lydia Davis, The Lonesome Bodybuilder is pure delight flag 4 likesLike see review View 1 comment Sep 13, 2018 Chris rated it liked it Shelves japanese fiction 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 , 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 The Lonesome Bodybuilder, Typhoon, Paprika Jiro, and 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 , 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 The Lonesome Bodybuilder, Typhoon, Paprika Jiro, and The Straw Husband, are interesting on the surface because they are conventionally told stories with somewhat bizarre subject matter Others, like The Dogs and An Exotic Marriage, create interest primarily through the implications of what is happening in the plot and the characters psychology.There s no doubt that Motoya is a talented writer with interesting ideas Sometimes I wish the ideas were executed clearly and thoroughly other times I m pleasantly surprised I don t know how much of that has to do with translation choices or that the version I received is not the retail version There were some obvious errors in the text of one of the stories in the version I received Either way, if you re into writers like Ogawa, Kawakami, and Wataya, you ll probably enjoy this collection It ll be out November 6, 2018.I also put this review on my blog flag 3 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Oct 03, 2018 Madeline Partner rated it really liked it 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 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 relies on magical realism, creating bizarre, unexpecte 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 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 relies on magical realism, creating bizarre, unexpected relationships and events to explain the nuances of our lives I thought this collection was well put together all the stories are well developed and revolve around similar themes while maintaining some individuality from each other I am very interested in reading from this author as of her work is translated into English flag 3 likesLike see review Nov 01, 2018 Natalie CuriousReader added it Shelves read to get I was introduced to Yukiko Motoya through her short story The Dogs published in Granta magazine a few years back and have been eagerly anticipating of her work making it over to the English book market Motoya s first book to be published in English, The Lonesome Bodybuilder, is a Pandora s box of weird and magical stories This collection as a whole starts of with stories of real tenderness but with a twist, they go in unexpected directions and it s pure delight to experience them Full I was introduced to Yukiko Motoya through her short story The Dogs published in Granta magazine a few years back and have been eagerly anticipating of her work making it over to the English book market Motoya s first book to be published in English, The Lonesome Bodybuilder, is a Pandora s box of weird and magical stories This collection as a whole starts of with stories of real tenderness but with a twist, they go in unexpected directions and it s pure delight to experience them Full Review flag 2 likesLike see review Jan 21, 2019 Sara Klem rated it really liked it 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 was totally lost on me, but the rhetorical creativit 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 was totally lost on me, but the rhetorical creativity and subversive plot structure made all the stories, at very least, entertaining Stories like the eponymous, QA, and An Exotic Marriage will stick with me flag 2 likesLike see review Jan 06, 2019 Zac Smith rated it liked it Shelves early career adulthood 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 absurdismo is a of course Murakami Banana esque mysteriousness that grips you for some page turning resolution that of course never really c 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 absurdismo is a of course Murakami Banana esque mysteriousness that grips you for some page turning resolution that of course never really comes there are cats, traditional japanese meals, magical stones, mysterious people and places and animals and an emphasis on the magically real people telling relevant folktales and rumors, for example and, oh my god, of course, the classic i felt like a stone on the bottom of a deep lake similes that have become a hallmark punchline in my book when i read murakami these are all present in spades but they are all still good, inviting, comforting in their own ways such, i felt like this was a strange collection, as an object, trying to consolidate these two very different conceits into one book there are definite themes about love romance with a biting, feminist bent the one about the duel is very obvious in its message but had a ryu murakami s Popular Hits esque comedy to it which i loved , but stylistically or executionally, it feels inconsistent in its vibe is it mysterious, magic realism is it all a joke , metafictionally poking fun at popular tropes in japanese culture to deliver its message is it coy or serious is it designed this way to make me ask that, and delight in its ability to be both i have no idea, maybe i m just unequipped to appreciate it as a reader.i also felt that the endings and resolutions are pretty abrupt and sometimes disappointing i don t expect an explanation or anything but there is often a feeling of well the interesting scenes are all done so ok bye which is a disservice to her emphasis on the psychological aspect of each story there s something to be said about short fiction s tendency to present an interesting idea but emphasize the non interesting internal aspect of it, but these stories seem to structurally break down when all the strange scenes events are done, leaving little room for this re emphasizing the mundane.i was most enthralled with the longest basically a novella story which happens 3 stories in, but this too suffered from a similarly rushed resolution and i also think it s weirdly placed, from a programming perspective, which gives the collection a lopsided feeling it is also, as a collection, pretty short, and most of the stories are 2 4 pages so this, combined with my above feelings of rushed endings, made me frustrated, wanting which i guess is in itself a good endorsement of the writing i definitely liked it, it just felt a bit like a small series of let downs after every story, i kept wondering what i was missing, because it is very highly reviewed by people whose opinions i respect i love soft skull, obviously, and had high expectations maybe because of this flag 2 likesLike see review Jan 18, 2019 Lindy rated it really liked it Shelves 21st century, fiction, short stories 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 thematic and emotional maturity and Yukiko Motoya 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 thematic and emotional maturity and Yukiko Motoya s sense of humor Volume highlights The Lonesome Bodybuilder, I Called You By Name, and An Exotic Marriage flag 2 likesLike see review Nov 29, 2018 Tessy Consentino rated it really liked it Really bizarre, inventive short stories Just how I like them flag 2 likesLike see review Dec 03, 2018 Kurt Kemmerer rated it really liked it I m not going to pretend to have understood every story in this wonderfully surreal collection, but I loved every minute I spent with this book Oh, and the story An Exotic Marriage is absolutely brilliant It has to be among a pantheon of the world s greatest short works, because I might like hyperbole, but it s that good, anyway flag 2 likesLike see review Dec 13, 2018 Lex Poot rated it liked it Shelves japanese literature Wildly uneven set of short stories While there are 8 brilliant ones 3 did not meet my expectations despite the positive review of Oe himself though that may have been for a shorter collection that was published in Japan flag 2 likesLike see review Dec 15, 2018 Tonstant Weader rated it it was amazing The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories is a collection of eleven short stories by Yukiko Motoya that center around the idea of identity, of being oneself and how hard selfhood can be to define and maintain, particularly in relationships with others The title story, The Lonesome Bodybuilder is perhaps one of the most conventional, a woman whose self confidence has been eroded by her husband s criticism takes up body building and learns about herself and her husband.Perhaps the most hilarious s The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories is a collection of eleven short stories by Yukiko Motoya that center around the idea of identity, of being oneself and how hard selfhood can be to define and maintain, particularly in relationships with others The title story, The Lonesome Bodybuilder is perhaps one of the most conventional, a woman whose self confidence has been eroded by her husband s criticism takes up body building and learns about herself and her husband.Perhaps the most hilarious story is Fitting Room where an over accommodating clerk is determined to find the right outfit for a client who won t come out of the fitting room In Typhoon a young boy mocks people opening their umbrellas in the impossible winds until he learns it is because they can fly I Called You By Name is hallucinogenic with uncertainty Is there someone hiding behind the curtain or is she losing her grip An Exotic Marriage is disturbing and seems to capture so many of the themes in this book A woman notices her husband appearance is changing, but then so is hers A neighbor tells her of how a woman was changing to look like her husband until she put a rock between them A close friend explains how to her marriage is like an ouroboros, each partner consuming the other Paprika Jiro and How to Burden the Girl are both fantastical stories with great battles and high body counts of cartoonish like evildoers, the latter though is a disturbing new examination of the Oedipal Complex The Women and Q A reconsiders the objectification of women, the later is hilarious The Dogs is almost Lovecraftian weird, though the narrator is perhaps the most self possessed Is it because she is all alone The Straw Husband is another look at marriage A woman marries a straw husband who when he is angry, musical instruments fly out his mouth depleting his life force It s really strange to try to explain, but like all the stories makes total sense while you re in the midst of them.I love the discipline and pure craft of a good short story With few words, Motoya creates a new world in each story, one that has an internal logic even though it is a world never imagined before This is magical realism at its best The mundane becomes surreal and reveals who and what we are.The stories in The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories are like nothing you will have read before That s what makes them so exiciting.I received an e galley of The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories from the publisher through Edelweiss.The Lonesome Bodybuilder Stories at Soft Skull PressYukiko Motoya on official website is in Japanesehttps tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre flag 1 likeLike see review Dec 23, 2018 Stefani rated it liked it Shelves disturbing, fiction, japanese, mystical, short stories, weird, surreal In my mind, there s a fine line between the charmingly off kilter and the manifestation of a bizarro underworld of repressed human emotion in Yukiko Motoya s novel, it often resides in the same place This is perhaps representative of the contrasts of Japanese culture itself, with its quirky yet endearingly appealing cat cafes, Kawaii, and the comically outlandish packaging of many snack foods, as well as its graphic anime porn, clubs catering to subway groping fantasies, and several of the toys In my mind, there s a fine line between the charmingly off kilter and the manifestation of a bizarro underworld of repressed human emotion in Yukiko Motoya s novel, it often resides in the same place This is perhaps representative of the contrasts of Japanese culture itself, with its quirky yet endearingly appealing cat cafes, Kawaii, and the comically outlandish packaging of many snack foods, as well as its graphic anime porn, clubs catering to subway groping fantasies, and several of the toys on this list things which leave me feeling unsettled in a way that makes me want to scrape the offending images from my brain with a large scouring brush In a way, the stories in Lonesome Bodybuilder seem to toe a similarly wobbly line between the normal and the horrific, a revelation of the strange and unseemly in seemingly mundane, domestic situations In this way, I see these stories as being quintessentially Japanese told from a female perspective, they focus on the inner turmoil that comes along with sublimating one s own desires to that of being a wife and mother, and the need to suppress these feelings for fear of being shunned by society This collection is anchored by the novella length story called The Exotic Marriage about a couple who, after several years of marriage, start to closely resemble each other There s an apt metaphor about marriage in the story called the snake ball about two snakes that eat each other until there s nothing left however cynical it may be, there is some truth to the idea that relationships do sometimes require a sacrifice of self in order to be harmonious Whenever I d gotten close to someone in the past, I d had the feeling that little by little I was being replaced The other person s ideas, interests, and habits would gradually take the place of my own Every time I noticed myself acting as though that was who I d been all along, a chill went up my spine.While I would recommend this collection to anyone with an interest in the bizarre and or surreal, there s really not much beyond the shock value of these elements to make the stories particularly compelling or memorable flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 26, 2019 D rated it really liked it Shelves anthologies 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 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 solid I tend to like clear cut stories too, but Motoya does such 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 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 solid I tend to like clear cut stories too, but Motoya does such a good job balancing out the absurd with the very real and very humdrum emotions that we feel in our day to day lives For example, a woman who married a straw man in The Straw Husband gets into a fight with him over her carelessness about banging his newly bought car up Tiny instruments fall out of her husband s body as they fight, until there s nothing left of her husband but a dry pile of straw She considers setting it all on fire, but returns the instruments inside his body any way He starts looking normal again and apologises They go out for a run and she is happy again, but the story ends with The leaves overhead were as beautiful as burning fire.A strange story, with absurd details that seems to be a Motoya staple, but at the very core is grounded by the mundane feelings of a newlywed wife seeing her husband in a new light after a fight And I think that s what makes the stories work the idea of marrying a straw man is laughable as is so many other details in the other stories , but the emotions the characters feel are very much real and are ones we can easily empathise with I also like how female centric most of the stories are There are a number of stories about women having to deal with the men in their lives which is shown in a fresh way, making us consider tired adages men objectifying women etc in a different light.Quite a refreshing read for me Hopefully we see of her work translated into English in the future flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 16, 2019 Anna Lumpkin rated it really liked it Shelves 2019, giveaways, own, she wrote it, short stories Every time I got together with someone new, I got replanted, and the nutrients from the old soil disappeared without a trace As if to prove it, I could hardly recall the men I d been with before Strangely, too, the men I d been with had wanted me to grow in them Eventually, I d start to feel in danger of root rot, and would hurriedly break the pot and uproot myself My husband the snake opened his mouth and swallowed me headfirst, and I desperately resisted his sticky, moist membranes, but Every time I got together with someone new, I got replanted, and the nutrients from the old soil disappeared without a trace As if to prove it, I could hardly recall the men I d been with before Strangely, too, the men I d been with had wanted me to grow in them Eventually, I d start to feel in danger of root rot, and would hurriedly break the pot and uproot myself My husband the snake opened his mouth and swallowed me headfirst, and I desperately resisted his sticky, moist membranes, but soon the inside of his body became a pleasurable place to be Although I loved all of the short stories, An Exotic Marriage was my favorite quotes above Fitting Room and The Women were also fantastic This book deals with difficult romantic relationships, women s expected roles in the western world, lust, and weird husbands Realllllyyyyy weird husbands I jumped into each story with such excitement and have realized maybe I now like short stories Night Shift by Stephen King was the last book I read with short stories and I also really loved it I didn t expect to love this book as much as I did, but all of the stories were so strange yet so familiar and beautifully written I m so thankful to Soft Skull for sending me a free copy in the mail it truly brightened my day flag 1 likeLike see review Nov 18, 2018 Zachary Houle rated it liked it I m a sucker for Japanese fiction, and generally speaking surreal Japanese fiction is my bag Some of Haruki Murakami s work has really resonated with me though he can be a touch weird for weirdness sake , so when a new Japanese author came out with a short story collection that s very peculiar, I jumped at it And Yukiko Motoya s debut English translated short story collection is very peculiar These are stories that you ve never really read before, making Motoya something of a Japanese J I m a sucker for Japanese fiction, and generally speaking surreal Japanese fiction is my bag Some of Haruki Murakami s work has really resonated with me though he can be a touch weird for weirdness sake , so when a new Japanese author came out with a short story collection that s very peculiar, I jumped at it And Yukiko Motoya s debut English translated short story collection is very peculiar These are stories that you ve never really read before, making Motoya something of a Japanese Jonathan Lethem It s an apt comparison because many of the characters who populate the worlds of The Lonesome Bodybuilder are a touch misanthropic, and the weird really does get weird For example, the very last story in the collection features a husband and wife who have an argument about a seatbelt nicking the door of the husband s new BMW, except the husband is entirely made of straw and, during the course of the argument, begins leaking musical instruments for no apparent reason.Yeah, I m not making this up.So that s all to say that The Lonesome Bodybuilder is a very different book, and how much you enjoy it will depend on how much of the weird, the abstract and the completely alien you can take Me I liked the book enough though, just like every short story collection on the planet, there are stories that work and stories that fall flat on their face and you get the lion s share of the latter as these stories are largely so out there that they fail to follow narrative conventions Having said that, though, I admire Motoya because she s a very brave writer and she s willing to try new things and put forth new ideas that haven t really been heard from before.Read the rest here flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 30, 2019 Molly rated it really liked it Shelves adult fiction For fans of Convenience Store Woman flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 26, 2019 Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves 2019 challenge books, kindle reads, fantasy, fiction historical These are definitely not perfect stories, but they are stories I m going to reread and I ve been thinking about since I finished this It was just the perfect amount of surrealism for me flag 1 likeLike see review Dec 04, 2018 Matthew Martens rated it liked it Oe is right that these stories are often less slight than they seem Perhaps not quite often enough On the other hand, some of them could stand to be slighter, or at least slimmer In any case, notional images as concentrated and delightful as the peony in An Exotic Marriage occur just often enough to keep a reader humming along flag 1 likeLike see review Oct 26, 2018 Colin rated it it was amazing Shelves 2018 I loved this book flag 1 likeLike see review Jan 04, 2019 Courtney Maum rated it it was amazing LOVED Wouldn t recommend for newlyweds as many of the stories are how miserable marriage makes you, but I think the topic s FUN flag 1 likeLike see review Dec 23, 2018 Shou Sen rated it liked it review of another edition Another reminder that Japanese women are deeper than what appears at the surface Eclectic stories, primarily with strong women protagonists unpredictable, strange Good mix of very short and decent length short stories Leaves you with a little bit of what the heck did I just read flag 1 likeLike see review previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book There are no discussion topics on this book yet Be the first to start one Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers Also Enjoyed

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      384 Yukiko Motoya
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    805 thoughts on “The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories”

    1. 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 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 women in Japanese society Even so than in the W These surrea [...]


    2. 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 Fitting Room 5 5 A mysterious customer is in the 4.19 St [...]


    3. 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


    4. 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.


    5. 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 than the others Here are my favs Favourites 5 stars The Lonesome body builder A favour A mixed bag of st [...]


    6. 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 a very realistic situation, like a married couple [...]


    7. 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 translation The writing is succinct and sharp no fl I was [...]


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