“Unsettlingly good, ” (The Sunday Times).
Novelist, playwright and theatre director Yukiko Motoya is one of Japan’s most fearless young writers. She has won numerous Japanese literary and dramatic awards, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Noma Literary New Face Prize, the Mishima Yukio Prize, the Kenzaburo Oe Prize, the Kishida Kunio Drama Award, and the Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award. Her work has been adapted multiple times for film.
In the stories in Picnic in the Storm, 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. 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.
Motoya’s wonderful writing is reminiscent of George Saunders and Joy Williams in showing how the surreal lies in the absurdities of daily life.