Synopses & Reviews
A BEST BOOK OF 2020
TIME Magazine・Book Riot・Electric Literature・The New York Times (Notable Book of the Year)
The story of three women by a writer hailed by Haruki Murakami as Japan's most important contemporary novelist, WINNER OF THE AKUTAGAWA PRIZE.
On a sweltering summer day, Makiko travels from Osaka to Tokyo, where her sister Natsu lives. She is in the company of her daughter, Midoriko, who has lately grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with adolescence. The story of these three women reunited in a working-class neighborhood of Tokyo is told through the gaze of Natsu — thirty years old, an aspiring writer, haunted by hardships endured in her youth. Over the course of their few days together in the capital, Midoriko's silence will prove a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and family secrets.
On yet another blistering summer's day eight years later, Natsu, during a journey back to her native city, struggles with her own indeterminate identity as she confronts anxieties about growing old alone and childless.
One of Japan's most important and best-selling writers, Mieko Kawakami mixes stylistic inventiveness, wry humor, and riveting emotional depth to tell a story of contemporary womanhood in Japan. Breasts and Eggs recounts the intimate journeys of three women on the path to finding peace and futures they can call their own.
"Original and deeply moving...This book is a gift." Laura van den Berg
"A sharply observed and heartbreaking portrait of what it means to be a woman, in Japan and beyond." TIME, The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2020
"Fantastic." Kat Chow, NPR
"Stunning." Financial Times
"Raw, funny, mundane, heartbreaking." Jane Yong Kim, The Atlantic, Best Books of 2020
"Kawakami writes with unsettling precision about the body...she is especially good at capturing its longings." Katie Kitamura, The New York Times
"I can never forget the sense of pure astonishment I felt when I first read Mieko Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs." Haruki Murakami
"A unique, direct voice — almost every page contains sentences that stop me in my tracks." Marta Bausells, LitHub
About the Author
Mieko Kawakami is the author of the internationally best-selling novel, Breasts and Eggs, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of TIME's Best 10 Books of 2020. Born in Osaka, Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006, and published her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, in 2007. Her writing is known for its poetic qualities and its insights into the female body, ethical questions, and the dilemmas of modern society. Her books have been translated into many languages and are available all over the world. She has received numerous prestigious literary awards in Japan, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. Kawakami lives in Tokyo, Japan.
Sam Bett studied Japanese at UMass-Amherst and Kwansei Gakuin University. Awarded Grand Prize in the 2016 JLPP International Translation Competition, he has translated fiction by Yoko Ogawa, Yukio Mishima, and NISIOISIN. He also co-hosts Us&Them, a Brooklyn-based reading series showcasing the work of writers who translate. His translation of Yukio Mishima's Star won the 2019 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature.
David Boyd is Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has translated novels and stories by Hiroko Oyamada, Masatsugu Ono, and Toh EnJoe, among others. His translation of Hideo Furukawa's Slow Boat (Pushkin Press, 2017) won the 2017/2018 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature.