Breasts & Eggs

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



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8 thoughts on “Breasts & Eggs

  1. This one has gotten a lot of attention and I have been almost completely uninterested in it but do like the image of November as a row of white boxes (I would make them gray).

    1. I must tell you that there are parts where the MC yells at her dead mother and grandmother for not visiting her. And her debut novel is described as being about dead people who don’t really die. Is that somewhat a necromancy theme?

  2. Thanks for the review. I have been dithering over buying the book, but after reading your review, I have crossed it off my Wanted List. Agree about the white boxes image …. one good thing to take away from the book.

    1. Oh no, can’t have you dithering! (great word) If you can possibly flip through a few pages or listen to a minute or so, maybe that would help. I never like to discourage a book that just didn’t hit me right – it may appeal but if I can also help you get faster to the best stuff, that is what makes this blogging fun.

      1. I don’t listen to audi9obooks at the moment, so it would have to be a buy and read for me . Book not in our library system, and no charity booksales available at the moment, due to lockdown. So its a definite No, from me.

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