Breasts and Eggs
Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett, David Boyd
‘Breathtaking’ – Haruki Murakami author of Norwegian Wood
A New York Times ‘Notable Book of 2020’ and one of Elena Ferrante’s ‘Top 40 Books by Female Authors’
On a hot summer’s day in a poor suburb of Tokyo we meet three women: thirty-year-old Natsuko, her older sister Makiko, and Makiko’s teenage daughter Midoriko. Makiko, an ageing hostess despairing the loss of her looks, has travelled to Tokyo in search of breast enhancement surgery. She’s accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently stopped speaking, finding herself unable to deal with her own changing body and her mother’s self-obsession. Her silence dominates Natsuko’s rundown apartment, providing a catalyst for each woman to grapple with their own anxieties and their relationships with one another.
Eight years later, we meet Natsuko again. She is now a writer and find herself on a journey back to her native city, returning to memories of that summer and her family’s past as she faces her own uncertain future.
In Breasts and Eggs Mieko Kawakami paints a radical and intimate portrait of contemporary working class womanhood in Japan, recounting the heartbreaking journeys of three women in a society where the odds are stacked against them. This is an unforgettable English language debut from a major new international talent.
‘Bold, modern and surprising’ – An Yu, author of Braised Pork
‘Incredible and propulsive’ – Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times
I can never forget the sense of pure astonishment I felt when I first read Mieko Kawakami's novella Breasts and Eggs . . . breathtaking . . . Mieko Kawakami is always ceaselessly growing and evolving -- Haruki Murakami Incredible -- Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police Breasts and Eggs, which caused a small sensation upon its publication in the UK and US last year, was a fierce yet thoughtful tale of working-class womanhood * New Statesman * Bold, modern, and surprising -- An Yu, author of Braised Pork It is Tokyo as it is lived in, not a film set * New York Times * If you like Sheila Heti, you'll love Mieko Kawakami * NPR * A dazzling intellectual thriller by a new Japanese literary star . . . stunning * Financial Times * Breasts and Eggs is stunning - its rage, wry humour and nihilism rendered with real care. It's compelling too, and yet nearly every page gave me reason to pause, realising that some tiny stitch in the fabric of everyday life as a woman had been unceremoniously unpicked -- Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy Incredible and propulsive -- Naoise Dolan Fierce and sweet and I would like the rest of Kawakami's work translated, please -- Sarah Moss, author of Summerwater, in The Times Mieko Kawakami is a writer of rare candour and brilliance -- Ronan Hession, author of Leonard and Hungry Paul Already a literary sensation . . . Kawakami writes with unsettling precision about the body - its discomforts, its appetites, its smells and secretions. And she is especially good at capturing its longings, those in this novel being at once obsessive and inchoate, and in one way or another about transformation . . . she regularly drops phrases that made me giddy with pleasure. -- Katie Kitamura * New York Times * An original and deeply moving novel-that is by turns hilarious, sexy, devastating, and always unforgettable. Breasts and Eggs crackles with provocative insights into the passage of time, friendship, money, and the pleasures and pains of living in a body. I found myself pausing regularly to marvel at Mieko Kawakami's gift for seeking out the caverns hidden deep within her characters and shining a light there. This book is a gift -- Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel One of Japan's brightest stars is set to explode across the global skies of literature . . . Kawakami is both a writer's writer and an entertainer, a thinker and constantly evolving stylist who manages to be highly readable and immensely popular. * Japan Times * Mieko Kawakami lobbed a literary grenade into the fusty, male-dominated world of Japanese fiction with 'Chichi to Ran'('Breasts and Eggs') * Economist * Kawakami is emerging as one of Japan's most prominent young literary voices, with thoughtfulness and eccentricity at the heart of her prose * Culture Trip * So finely crafted, every few lines could be a haiku, and you almost forget how difficult it must have been to create something so perfectly simple. And when you notice the clarity, meditativeness, eccentricity, quirk and wit in her writing, you immediately understand how Murakami could be inspired by a writer like this -- Praise for Ms Ice Cream Sandwich * Ladies Finger * The novel details the lives of three women: the 30-year-old unmarried narrator, her older sister Makiko, who's obsessed with getting breast implants and her daughter, Midoriko. With humour and compassion, Kawakami explores female oppression in Japan, reproduction rights and motherhood * Now Magazine * Originally published in Mieko Kawakami's native Japanese, the author's stellar 2008 novel Breast and Eggs is being translated to English for the first time ever this month, opening her bold writing up to a wider audience * Dazed and Confused *
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