Breasts and Eggs

Mieko Kawakami

Translated by Sam Bett
Translated by David Boyd
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20 August 2020
9781509898206
432 pages
Synopsis

'Promises to be one of the most talked-about novels of the year.' Financial Times

'Breathtaking' Haruki Murakami, author of The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
'Radical' Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation
'Uncommon precision' Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police
'Bold, modern and surprising' An Yu, author of Braised Pork
'Incredible and propulsive' Naoise Dolan, author of Exciting Times

On a hot summer’s day in a poor suburb of Tokyo we meet three women: thirty-year-old Natsu, 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 Natsu’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 Natsu 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 full length English language debut from a major new international talent.

As if traced before our eyes, objects close at hand are rendered with uncommon precision. An incredible display of nonchalance backed by careful diction.

Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police

Kawakami's prose is bold, modern, and surprising. Breasts and Eggs is a moving story about womanhood and modern life told through the lens of a supremely confident writer.

An Yu, author of Braised Pork

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. Perhaps someday she will return to the nearly perfect, natural primal world of Breasts and Eggs.

Haruki Murakami, author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles