Thoughts by Mieko Kawakami, 2020, 488 pages, 15 hours 21 minutes
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller and Jeena Yi. Translated from Japanese to English by Sam Bett and David Boyd.Challenge: TOB Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, Fem Lit Type/Source: Audiobook & ebook / Audible and Libby/Library Why I read this now: Up next in availability.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: A single woman pushing 40 years old considers if she wants to be a mother without an involved partner.
THOUGHTS: I found this review (link at the end of the post) that titled the review of this as “Intense, surprising tale of one woman’s angst” and I would agree. The feature starts off with what might be considered a joke? I laughed, anyway. And again, I agree!
What do you get if you cross a minimalist style with a maximalist length? That isn’t a joke, by the way; I really don’t know the answer, except to say that Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami’s first full novel to be translated into English, comes pretty close.
It was kind of a slog. It suggests to be a bit meta, too. Especially when her writer friend encourages her to write a book about her journey to parenthood. I don’t know nor care if the author herself asked these questions of herself, friends and family. But this book asks a ton of questions and offers interesting varied viewpoints.
I am struck with some amazement, as always, on a book that impresses for language and imagery in a translated work. For example, isn’t this a great thought?
Like a row of white boxes, all lined up, the same shape and the same weight, the days of November came and went.
And, this sentence delighted me – could be I like the word “truckle”. Plus, it references literature.
… this classic lineup was a shameful, even mortifying symbol of my willingness to truckle to the received wisdom of the canon, a stance that undeniably marked me as an amateur.
RATING: Three slices of pie. Two pie mentions; compliment and style, no flavor.
Link to Irish Times Review