CW: Child abuse/sex abuse
A devastating follow up (not a sequel, just the same writer) to Convenience Store Woman, which I also reread and enjoyed more the second time. This story begins with the close narration of a young girl who believes she is a kind of outsider to the world, has a crush on her cousin, and finds weirdness and joy in different parts of her life. She is sexually abused by her teacher (and narrated in such sadness) and this causes her to collapse in on herself in many ways. We later jump to adult life where we find the consequences of the trauma on her and her family. She is closed off sexually from the world and has married a man with his own trauma as a way to hide along together. We also realize that the adults who did nothing to protect her when she was young are more open and sympathetic as she’s grown, but it’s too late. That’s the setup because the novel takes some very very unexpected turns in ways that would be impossible to hint at without giving away much. But the trauma in connection with the already feelings of outsiderness lead her to a complete sense of separation from humanity in some somewhat freeing, if unsustainable ways. The book does a lot more with its space than the previous novel, and that makes it very interesting. I am not 100% sure it’s a better novel though.