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Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami

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.

All Mieko Kawakami's books

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Latest reviews

  • “A sharply observed and heartbreaking portrait of what it means to be a woman, in Japan and beyond.”
    — TIME Magazine, Nov 11 2020
  • “This novel by the bestselling Japanese author paints a striking portrait of contemporary working-class womanhood. Mieko Kawakami expertly juxtaposes the universal but rarely discussed mundanities of being a woman...with moments of unbearable tension.”
    — New Statesman, Sep 16 2020
  • “Your voice is intimate, musical, at times wry and powerfully observant to the inner lives of women and girls. Stylistically, your narrative structure is complex yet subtly woven throughout highly readable prose.”
    — ELLE Magazine, Sep 2 2020
  • Breasts and Eggs addresses the multifaceted nature of what it means to move through the world as a woman.”
    — Ploughshares, Aug 27 2020
  • “Quirky and, at times, suddenly and unexpectedly dark...The first-person narrative and high proportion of dialogue makes the pace snappy and the story easy to read.”
    — The Scotsman, Aug 24 2020
  • “A stunning work of iridescence, changing with the light. For good reason this promises to be one of the most talked-about novels of the year.”
    — Financial Times, Aug 17 2020
  • “The book is so much about the body. If you are craving a novel that really describes a woman’s body so well, just in terms of desire, in terms of longing, in terms of a sense of self, then this is a fantastic novel to read and I highly recommend it.”
    — NPR’s “Pop Culture Happy Hour” podcast, Jul 9 2020
  • “Something of a feminist icon, Kawakami punctuates her novel with humour, irony, and unexpected forays into tragi-comic farce.”
    — The Hindustan Times, Jul 7 2020
  • “[Breasts and Eggs is] not just some elevated piece of literary chick-lit. It’s a novel of humanity, a multifaceted consideration of the fundamental question: What does it mean to exist?”
    — The Japan Times, May 2 2020
  • “In supple and casual prose, this celebrated Japanese novelist follows sisters in Osaka who are considering breast augmentation and sperm donation, causing two generations of women to reckon with the realities of their physical bodies and the pressures put on them by society.”
    — The New York Times Book Review, Apr 30 2020
  • “Fearless in its demand for accountability, transcendent in its honesty, it breathes life into feminist literature.”
    — PopMatters, Apr 29 2020
  • “Complex and multi-layered asking us deep and profound questions about humanity, social rules, procreation, and femininity.”
    — The Fountain, Apr 23 2020
  • “Timeless and thoroughly contemporary, intimate and expansive, Natsuko and her companions encompass extremes in a singular and unforgettable fashion.”
    — The Midwest Book Review, Apr 20 2020
  • “Kawakami’s timely feminist themes; strange, surreal prose; and wonderful characters will transcend cultural barriers and enchant readers.”
    — The New York Observer, Apr 15 2020
  • Breasts and Eggs provides the possibility of transformation through self-acceptance and understanding.”
    — Asymptote Journal, Apr 13 2020
  • “[Kawakami’s] style is singular, intimate and specific portraits of the Japanese day-to-day...Her politics—subversive, pointed, and feminist—are embedded in deeply human stories.”
    — Entertainment Weekly, Apr 13 2020
  • “Kawakami writes with unsettling precision about the body...And she is especially good at capturing its longings.”
    — The New York Times Book Review, Apr 7 2020
  • “The novel 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.”
    — 4 Columns, Apr 3 2020
  • “A unique, direct voice—almost every page contains sentences that stop me in my tracks.”
    — Literary Hub, Apr 1 2020
  • “There are so many nuances to motherhood and womanhood to unpack; a book club could talk about Breasts and Eggs for hours.”
    — A Bookish Type, Mar 27 2020


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