Riveting, bizarre as can be, and like nothing else I’ve ever read.
—Kamil Ahsan, NPR

A mind-expanding, cheerfully dystopian new novel by Yoko Tawada, winner of the National Book Award

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Scattered All Over the Earth

Fiction by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

In Scattered All Over the Earth, the mind-expanding, cheerfully dystopian new novel by Yoko Tawada, the world’s climate disaster and its attendant refugee crises is viewed through the loving twin lenses of friendship and linguistic ingenuity.

Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, a former citizen and a climate refugee, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian): “homemade language. no country to stay in. three countries I experienced. insufficient space in brain. so made new language. homemade language.”

As she searches for anyone who can still speak her mother tongue, Hiruko soon makes new friends. Her troupe travels to France and Stockholm, and in a series of mesmerizing scenes encounters an umami cooking competition, a dead whale, an ultranationalist, Kakuzo robots, and much more—each scene more vivid than the last.

With its intrepid band of companions, Scattered All Over the Earth (the first novel of a trilogy) may bring to mind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or a surreal Wind in the Willows, but really it’s just another sui generis Yoko Tawada masterwork.

Editions: Paperback

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Paperback (published March 1, 2022)

ISBN
9780811229289
Price US
16.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
256

Ebook (published March 1, 2022)

ISBN
9780811229296

Yoko Tawada

Contemporary Japanese-German prose writer

Riveting, bizarre as can be, and like nothing else I’ve ever read.
—Kamil Ahsan, NPR
As she encounters people from all over the globe, Tawada’s carefully built story probes the concept of homeland and the meaning of language.
—Mahita Gajanan, Time “100 must-read books of 2022”
Tawada is immune to the seduction of ideal worlds. Even when speculative, her fiction still manages to operate in the world that we actually inhabit: one characterized by slippages, ambiguity, and a history of territorial entanglements that began long before twentieth-century globalism—entanglements that, in fact, go back so far that they might be one of the few things coterminous with being human.
—Reed McConnell, The Baffler
With Japan obliterated from the map in a postapocalyptic near future, a refugee builds a new life in Denmark, where her interest in languages draws her into a ragtag group of linguists. It turns into a wondrously complex story of cultures colliding, languages morphing, and hidden narratives. Once opened, it’s hard to pull away from.
Publishers Weekly (“Best Books 2022”)
The world is close to our own, suggesting that soon our boundaries will radically change. Tawada reminds us that we, too, might become refugees from lands that no longer exist—obliterated by nuclear mishaps, rising water levels, or arbitrary lines drawn in history textbooks.
—Emma Heath, Cleveland Review
Reading Tawada you feel her subtle authorial presence, simultaneously guiding the reader ashore and casting us out to sea; paradoxically, both lead to a single destination. Where do we — along with Hiruko, Knut, Akash, Tenzo, Nora and Susanoo — end up? It can only be described as somewhere soft and strange and new.
Financial Times
This dystopian novel is riveting, bizarre as can be, and like nothing else I’ve ever read. I’m terrified not enough people will read it.
—Kamil Ahsan, NPR
Tawada’s strange, exquisite book toys with ideas of language, identity, and what it means to own someone else’s story or one’s own.
The New Yorker
Tawada slyly interrogates shifting (disappearing) borders and populations, native (invented) identities, assumptions, and adaptations. Her most frequent translator, Mitsutani, brilliantly ciphers Tawada’s magnificently inventive wordplay.
Booklist
Tawada expands upon the themes of language, immigration, globalization, and authenticity which underpin this slyly humorous first installment of a planned trilogy.
Kirkus Starred Review
Threats abound—a changing climate, terrorism, and hostile political structures create danger and uncertainty—but these characters carry within themselves the seeds of a possible new world. Yoko Tawada’s Scattered All Over the Earth is a cheerful dystopian novel that celebrates inventiveness, possibilities, and human connections.
Foreword Reviews
Tawada’s strange, exquisite book toys with ideas of language, identity, and what it means to own someone else’s story or one’s own.
The New Yorker
Magnificently strange.
—Rivka Galchen, New York Times Magazine
Wonderful—what is truly affecting is Tawada’s language, which jumps off the page and practically sings.
—Juan Vidal, NPR