Life Ceremony: Stories Audiobook, by Sayaka Murata Play Audiobook Sample

Life Ceremony: Stories Audiobook

Life Ceremony: Stories Audiobook, by Sayaka Murata Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Emily Woo Zeller, Nancy Wu, Eunice Wong, various narrators, Natalie Naudus, Jeena Yi, Pun Bandhu Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 4.00 hours at 1.5x Speed 3.00 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: July 2022 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9798212188326

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

60:43 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

04:11 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

29:35 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Sayaka Murata: > View All...

Publisher Description

The long-awaited first short story-collection by the author of the cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, tales of weird love, heartfelt friendships, and the unsettling nature of human existence

With Life Ceremony, the incomparable Sayaka Murata is back with her first collection of short stories ever to be translated into English. In Japan, Murata is particularly admired for her short stories, which are sometimes sweet, sometimes shocking, and always imbued with an otherworldly imagination and uncanniness.

In these twelve stories, Murata mixes an unusual cocktail of humor and horror to portray both the loners and outcasts as well as turning the norms and traditions of society on their head to better question them. Whether the stories take place in modern-day Japan, the future, or an alternate reality is left to the reader’s interpretation, as the characters often seem strange in their normality in a frighteningly abnormal world.

In “A First-Rate Material,” Nana and Naoki are happily engaged, but Naoki can’t stand the conventional use of deceased people’s bodies for clothing, accessories, and furniture, and a disagreement around this threatens to derail their perfect wedding day.

“Lovers on the Breeze” is told from the perspective of a curtain in a child’s bedroom that jealously watches the young girl Naoko as she has her first kiss with a boy from her class and does its best to stop her.

“Eating the City” explores the strange norms around food and foraging, while “Hatchling” closes the collection with an extraordinary depiction of the fractured personality of someone who tries too hard to fit in.

In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks above all what it means to be a human in our world and offers answers that surprise and linger.

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“A close focus on characters, nearly always women, who do not conform to social expectations…makes the stories strangely believable, easy to read, and hard to forget.”

— The Guardian (London) 


  • “Cast members read these tales in distinct and absorbing voices that make the author’s eerily astute social observation real for all of us.”

    — New York Times (audio review)
  • “Twelve engrossing entries that probe intimacy and individuality while turning norms upside down.”

    — Time
  • “[A] first-rate team of storytellers…This is what a masterful audio collection of short stories should be and one that experienced listeners will relish.”

    — AudioFile
  • “These macabre stories are suffused with a tender compassion for the foibles of their characters.”

    — Japan Times
  • “Murata confronts unspeakable topics with quotidian calm, shockingly convincing logic, and creepy humor in a dozen genre-defying stories.”

    — Booklist (starred review)
  • “Murata’s writing…expertly captur[es] the fragility of social norms and calling into question what remains of human nature once they’re stripped away.”

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


  • A New York Times Pick of 6 Audiobooks to Listen to Now
  • An Indie Next List Selection
  • A Time Magazine Pick of Books to Read This Summer

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About Sayaka Murata

Sayaka Murata is one of Japan’s most exciting contemporary writers. She herself still works part time in a convenience store, which was the inspiration to write Convenience Store Woman, her English-language debut and winner of one of Japan’s most prestigious literary prizes, the Akutagawa Prize. Her work has appeared in Freeman’s, Granta, and elsewhere.

About the Narrators

Emily Woo Zeller is an artist, actor, dancer, choreographer, and voice artist who has won Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration in 2018. She began her voice-over career by voicing animation in Asia. AudioFile magazine named her one of the Best Voices of 2013 for her work in Gulp. Other awards include the 2009 Tristen Award for Best Actress as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and the 2006 Roselyn E. Schneider Prize for Creative Achievement.

Nancy Wu has narrated audiobooks since 2004, winning three AudioFile Earphones Awards. A New York theater, television, and film actor, she has recorded in studios all over the world—from Italy to Switzerland to Thailand. Her credits include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Hope & Faith, All My Children, Made for Each Other, and the Oscar-nominated film Frozen River.

Eunice Wong is a classically trained actor who works extensively in professional theaters across the United States and in New York City, as well as having appeared on HBO, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, and in various independent films. Eunice is a graduate of the Juilliard School Drama Division Actor Training Program and has also studied piano and singing at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto. A first-generation Chinese Canadian, born in Toronto to Eric and Eleanor Wong, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, Eunice grew up with her brother Eugene in Toronto and thanks her family for their constant love and support.

Robin Eller is a narrator, actress, singer, and dance educator. She has appeared on stage, in films, and on such television programs as The Bernie Mac Show, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless, and General Hospital, as well as numerous commercials. As a dancer, she has traveled the world with the legendary James Brown.

Natalie Naudus is one of the most beloved audiobook narrators working today and now author of her debut novel, Gay the Pray Away.

Laura Copland combines her classical training as an actor with her rigorous training as an attorney to approach each manuscript with intelligence, creativity, and honesty. She has appeared on Broadway and in regional theaters, as well as in myriad commercials.

Pun Bandhu is an award-winning actor who has worked on Broadway, off Broadway, in TV, and in film. He is the recipient of the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Award for Best Supporting Actor and New Dramatists’ Bowden Award for his distinguished collaboration on new works.