The story of three women by a writer hailed by Haruki Murakami as Japan's most important contemporary novelist, WINNER OF THE AKUTAGAWA PRIZE.
"Breasts and Eggs took my breath away."--HARUKI MURAKAMI
A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2020
Vogue・Thrillist・The Millions・ Literary Hub・Now Toronto・Metropolis Japan
Challenging every preconception about storytelling and prose style, mixing wry humor and riveting emotional depth, Kawakami is today one of Japan's most important and best-selling writers. She exploded onto the cultural scene first as a musician, then as a poet and popular blogger, and is now an award-winning novelist.
Breasts and Eggs paints a portrait of contemporary womanhood in Japan and recounts the intimate journeys of three women as they confront oppressive mores and their own uncertainties on the road to finding peace and futures they can truly call their own.
It tells the story of three women: the thirty-year-old Natsu, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko's daughter, Midoriko. Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up. Her silence proves a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and frustrations.
On another hot summer's day ten years later, Natsu, on a journey back to her native city, struggles with her own indeterminate identity as she confronts anxieties about growing old alone and childless.
Kawakami's first novella My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, published in Japan in 2007, was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The following year, she published Breasts and Eggs as a short novella, and won praise from Yoko Ogawa and Haruki Murakami. The newly expanded Breasts and Eggs, already hailed as a "feminist masterwork" (Entertainment Weekly), is her first novel to be published in English.
"Mieko Kawakami's first full-scale novel to be translated from Japanese into English reveals what a Catherine Wheel of talent she is, how unplaceable and unique. How forceful. ...] The way she moves among her characters here will make clear why Breasts and Eggs is the Makioka Sisters of its time."--John Freeman in Literary Hub
"Mieko Kawakami lobbed a literary grenade into the fusty, male-dominated world of Japanese fiction with Breasts and Eggs."--The Economist
Born in Osaka prefecture in 1976, Mieko Kawakami began her career as a singer and songwriter before making her literary debut in 2006. Her first novella My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, was nominated for the Akutagawa Prize and awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The following year, Kawakami published Breasts and Eggs as a short novella. It won the Akutagawa Prize, Japan's most prestigious literary honor, and earned praise from the acclaimed writer Yoko Ogawa. Kawakami is also the author of the novels Heaven, The Night Belongs to Lovers, and the newly expanded Breasts and Eggs, her first novel to be published in English. She lives in Japan.
Wed, 05/27/2020 - 1:28pm
You find a similar manner of confessionalism in Mieko Kawakami’s “Breasts and Eggs” [as you do in Sweet Days of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy]. In addition to that tone, this novel highlights the raw, overwhelming emotion that plagues femininity; something untranslatable and suffocating. But the author diligently explores the numerous ways modern women might physically manifest their urges or desires. Hinted at by the title, “Breasts and Eggs” centers on the body, covering the mundane and awkward realities of girl and womanhood and making Kawakami’s characters all the more real. Part of that is their general situation: two women and one girl living together in modern-day Osaka, cash-strapped and constantly working. The rest of it is split between the writing (a delicately worked balance of earnestness and deadpan); and the physical anxieties each narrator distresses or obsesses over (such as a single woman fervently searching for all and any information on sperm banks, despite having no intention to find a partner).