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Breasts and Eggs

by Mieko Kawakami

Translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd

“Kawakami writes with unsettling precision about the body […]. And she is especially good at capturing its longings.”—Katie Kitamura, The New York Times Book Review

“Kawakami’s prose is bold, modern, and surprising. Breasts and Eggs is a moving story about womanhood and modern life told through the lens of a supremely confident writer.” —An Yu, author of Braised Pork


Breasts and Eggs tells the story of three working class women: the thirty-year-old Natsuko, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. In the book’s first part, Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently gone silent, paralyzed by her fear of puberty and unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up.

On another hot summer’s day ten years later, Natsuko struggles with her own indeterminate identity and is beset by an increasing anxiety about growing old alone. In episodes that are as wryly humorous as they are emotionally riveting and revealing, this remarkable novel explores, among other things, issues around reproductive rights, friendship, class, and the female body.

About the AUTHOR

Born in Osaka prefecture in Japan, Mieko Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006. Her first novella My Ego Ratio, My Teeth, and the World, published in 2007, was awarded the Tsubouchi Shoyo Prize for Young Emerging Writers. The following year, Kawakami published Breasts and Eggs as a novella, and won Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. In 2016, she was selected for Granta’s Best of Young Japanese Novelists. Kawakami is also the author of the novella Ms Ice Sandwich, published by Pushkin Press in 2017, the novels Heaven, The Night Belongs to Lovers, and the newly expanded Breasts and Eggs, her first novel to be published in English, out this year from Europa Editions. She lives in Tokyo.


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