After Sayaka Murata’s first book to be translated in English, Convenience Store Woman, garnered a cult following with over a million copies sold worldwide, the writer is back with an even more shocking and strange novel, Earthlings. The book tells the story of a young girl who feels alienated by society until, one day, she confides in her best friend and plush hedgehog, Piyyut, who blesses her with magical powers. Together, the narrator and her similarly disenfranchised cousin (who thinks he’s an alien), make a pact to navigate the world together. While this may sound like a dreamy childhood story delivered through light prose, Murata’s novel remains dark and vivid—especially as the now-adult protagonist reckons with womanhood and the consequences of escaping a stifling world—from murder all the way down to cannibalism.