“Reading Mieko Kawakami’s novel Breasts and Eggs, one experiences the pain of women coming to terms with what they do and don’t want, almost too acutely. The book’s narrator rejects the conventional desires a woman is supposed to have, yet she cannot or will not say what she might want in their stead—a refusal that suggests not just ennui but something more provocative. This protagonist, Natsuko Natsume, belongs to a new cohort of ambivalent heroines, or perhaps antiheroines, that has emerged in recent novels, including Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Olivia Laing’s Crudo, and Ling Ma’s Severance (all from 2018). These novels are narrated by women who are, to put it simply, over desire. They are finished both with trying to be desired and with the struggle of articulating their own desires in a society that will never fully acknowledge or fulfill them.”
Read the full review in the New York Review of Books.