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Mieko Kawakami Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Heaven (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
All the Lovers in the Night (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Ms Ice Sandwich (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Breasts and Eggs (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Freeman's. Amore(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mieko Kawakami
Mieko Kawakami was born on August 29, 1976 in Osaka, Japan and is a writer and singer, having released three singles and three albums as a singer. She is the author of “Breasts and Eggs”, one of TIME’s Best 10 Books of 2020 and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Mieko’s writing is known for its insight into the female body, the dilemmas on modern society, ethical questions, as well as for its poetic qualities. Her novels have been translated into many languages and are available all around the world.

She has received many prestigious literary awards in Japan, which includes the Murasaki Shikibu, the Akutagawa Prize, and the Tanizaki Prize.

“Breasts and Eggs” is the first stand alone novella and was released in 2016. In a poor suburb of Tokyo, on some hot day during the summer, we meet three different women, Natsu (age thirty), Makiko (Natsu’s older sister), and Midoriko (Makiko’s teen daughter).

Makiko, who is an aging hostess that despairs the loss of her looks, has gone to Tokyo in order to look further into breast enhancement surgery. She is accompanied by her daughter, who’s stopped speaking recently, finding she’s unable to deal with the changes that her own body’s making and her mom’s self-obsession. Her silence dominates Natsu’s rundown apartment, which provides a catalyst for each of these women to wrestle with their relationships with each other and their own anxieties.

We meet Natsu once again, a decade later. She’s now a writer and finds she’s on a journey going back to her native city, taking her back to memories of that summer and her family’s past while facing an uncertain future.

In “Breasts and Eggs”, Mieko paints an intimate and radical portrait of contemporary working class womanhood in Japan, recounting three women’s heartbreaking journeys in a society where all the odds are stacked up against each one of them.

Readers were absorbed, disturbed, and entranced by this book. It illustrates the corrosive effects of misogyny and poverty on the female spirit and body, and it is so intimately told. And it’s filled with female happenings: like the feeling of being unsatisfied with one’s own nipples, breasts, or skin, or even some other flaw, the way a sanitary napkin feels between one’s legs, the surprise of menstrual blood on a day it’s not expected. It filled readers with that wonderful feeling only great storytelling is able to provide: the author presents certain truths about being a woman that male readers hadn’t ever bothered to notice in their life.

“Ms. Ice Sandwich” is the second stand alone novella and was released in 2017. A funny and quixotic story about first love. Ms. Ice Sandwich is completely unfriendly. When customers come up and stand in front of the glass case and stare at the sandwiches and other stuff inside it, she never once bothers to ask if she can help them or even hello.

Ms. Ice Sandwich appears to lack all social graces, yet our young narrator appears to be completely smitten with her. He’s in total awe of her aloofness, her ability to slip the sandwiches into bags, and, the most electric of all, her ice-blue eyelids. Each and every day he is drawn to the supermarket in order to just watch her in action.

However life has got a way of interfering. There’s his grandma, who is silently dying, who listens to his heart. Tutti, who is his classmate and isn’t any stranger to pain, and likes to share her private thrilling world with our narrator, Then there’s his mom, who is forever distracted and is able to tell women’s fortunes.

“Ms. Ice Sandwich”, tender and warm without being at all sentimental, is a tale all about parents that have departed, new starts, and the importance of saying goodbye.

“Heaven” is the first stand alone novel and was released in 2021. A novel about a fourteen year old boy that is subjected to a relentless amount of bullying.

A fourteen year old boy is tormented because he’s got a lazy eye. He decides to suffer in silence, rather than resist. The one person that understands exactly what he’s going through is Kojima, a female classmate, who suffers similar treatment by her bullies.

Giving one another immeasurable consolation at a time in their lives when they really need it the most, these two grow closer than ever before. However what, ultimately is the nature of a friendship when terror is your shared bond?

This novel is told with an astonishing amount of economy and frankness. It is sure to cut through every single one of your defenses down to every layer of hope, fear, isolation, and need that you have ever felt. The main pair of fourteen year old outcasts reckon with things such as belonging, pain, and the quest to find meaning in such a way that is compelling and heartbreaking. The novel is expertly told, and is a deeply unsettling account of adolescent violence.

“All the Lovers in the Night” is the second stand alone novel and was released in 2022. Fuyuko Irie is in her mid-thirties and works as a freelance copy editor. Living and working alone in a city where it’s not all that easy to form new relationships, she’s got little regular contact with few people besides Hijiri, her editor and a woman of the same age yet with a rather different disposition.

Fuyuko stops on a Tokyo street one day and notices her own reflection in a storefront window, all that she sees is a spiritless, drab, and awkward woman that has lacked the strength to change her life and decides that is high time she do something about it.

While the long overdue change happens, though, some painful episodes from her past rise up to the surface and her behavior slips increasingly beyond the pale.

This novel is insightful and acute, engaging and entertaining; that is sure to make the reader cry, make them laugh, too, and is a novel that reminds the reader, in that way as the best books do, sometimes the pain is worth it.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mieko Kawakami

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