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Breasts and Eggs


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About the Author

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.


"A bracing, feminist exploration of daily life in Japan."--Entertainment Weekly

"Not just some elevated piece of literary chick-lit. [Breasts and Eggs is] a novel of humanity, a multifaceted consideration of the fundamental question: What does it mean to exist? [. . .] A street-smart, distinctly Osakan empathy reverberates throughout this perpetually surprising, cleverly spiraling novel."--The Japan Times

""Kawakami, in her first book to be published in English, considers the agency that women exert over their bodies and charts the emotional underpinnings of physical changes--both intentional and unbidden--with humor and empathy."--The New Yorker

"Kawakami's timely feminist themes; strange, surreal prose; and wonderful characters will transcend cultural barriers and enchant readers."--The New York Observer

"Kawakami's narrative is bracing and evocative, tender yet unflinching in depicting the relationship between the sisters and between mother and daughter."--Publishers Weekly

"Kawakami writes frankly about the mix of envy, admiration, scorn, and devotion that women feel towards each other."--Jennifer Schaffer, The Baffler

"Within an affecting portrait-of-an-artist-in-transition, Kawakami deftly, deeply questions the assumptions of womanhood and family--the bonds and abuses, expectations and betrayals, choices and denials."--Booklist

"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."--Katie Kitamura, The New York Times Book Review

"A unique, direct voice--almost every page contains sentences that stop me in my tracks."--Marta Bausells in Literary Hub

"[Breasts and Eggs] speaks to the stories of Lucia Berlin; there is the same sense of a dispassionate but honoring gaze cast on working-class women, dogged and unsentimental in their survival."--Hermione Hoby, 4 Columns

"Fearless in its demand for accountability, transcendent in its honesty, it breathes life into feminist literature."--PopMatters

"This powerful story is a testament to female relationships, the role that memories play in the now, forgiveness and the ability to grow, no matter how painful it can be"--Happy Mag

"Timeless and thoroughly contemporary, intimate and expansive, Natsuko and her companions encompass extremes in a singular and unforgettable fashion."--The Midwest Book Review

"Mieko Kawakami deftly captures the anxiety of performing gender, while asking tough questions about class and the expectations of women."--BuzzFeed News

"Kawakami's book is complex and multi-layered, asking us deep and profound questions about humanity, social rules, procreation, and femininity."--The Fountain

"Kawakami is known for her manipulation of language, and in Breasts and Eggs the body is just another given, with tenderness traded for candor."--Willamette Week

"Breasts and Eggs provides the possibility of transformation through self-acceptance and understanding. Regardless of their various ordeals, characters choose, despite everything, to live, forming relationships and families that are eccentric in structure but just as warm and welcoming."--Asymptote Journal

"I can never forget the sense of pure astonishment I felt when I first read Mieko Kawakami's novella Breasts and Eggs . . . Kawakami is always ceaselessly growing and evolving."--Haruki Murakami, author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

"Mieko Kawakami is Japan's Brightest New Literary Star."--The Economist

"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."--The Japan Times

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