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Japan

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

  • “[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
  • “Mieko Kawakami, whose work deals with what is expected of women in patriarchal society, is one of Japan’s most acclaimed contemporary novelists. Breasts and Eggs won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize.“
    — The New York Times, Mar 25 2020
  • “This is perfect for readers who enjoy other cultures, and women’s issues too.”
    — BookStalker, Feb 17 2020
  • “Centered around three women -- two sisters and one's daughter -- and affordable breast enhancement procedures, Kawakami wrestles with the expectations of femininity and womanhood society places on women of any age.”
    — Thrillist, Jan 29 2020
  • “Mieko Kawakami’s first full-scale novel to be translated from Japanese into English reveals what a Catherine Wheel of talent she is, how unplaceable and unique. How forceful.”
    — Literary Hub, Jan 14 2020
  • “BREASTS AND EGGS opens a discussion on reproductive rights within Japan, and the social struggles associated with one woman making her choice.”
    — Metropolis Japan, Jan 8 2020
  • “Haruki Murakami has called Kawakami his favorite new writer—which was enough to pique my interest!”
    — The Millions, Jan 8 2020
  • “With humour and compassion, Kawakami explores female oppression in Japan, reproduction rights and motherhood.”
    — NOW Toronto, Jan 6 2020
  • “This first full-length novel from the winner of the 2007 Akutagawa Prize chronicles the life of a teenage girl who communicates with her mother solely through writing.”
    — VOGUE, Dec 17 2019

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