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Publisher's Summary

The story of three women by a writer hailed by Haruki Murakami as Japan’s most important contemporary novelist.

Challenging every preconception about storytelling and prose style, mixing wry humor and riveting emotional depth, Kawakami is today one of Japan’s most important and best-selling writers. She exploded onto the cultural scene first as a musician, then as a poet and popular blogger, and is now an award-winning novelist. 

Breasts & Eggs paints a portrait of contemporary womanhood in Japan and recounts the intimate journeys of three women as they confront oppressive mores and their own uncertainties on the road to finding peace and futures they can truly call their own. 

It tells the story of three women: the 30-year-old Natsu, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up. Her silence proves a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and frustrations.

On another hot summer’s day 10 years later, Natsu, on a journey back to her native city, struggles with her own indeterminate identity as she confronts anxieties about growing old alone and childless.

©2020 Mieko Kawakami (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Breasts and Eggs

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterful Writing and Performance

The story stands on its own as an exploration of what it means to be a fully formed woman, but the performance was unlike anything else I’ve heard on audible. The dialogue was brought to life with very different, but not cartoonish, voices for each male and female character.

8 people found this helpful

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Sisters, Daughters, Friends, Women's Bodies

Although Haruki Murakami is a fan of Mieko Kawakami, fans of his shouldn't pick this up thinking they will get a Murakami-style novel. No semi-supernatural moments here. Instead there's some gritty realism. Although I've read several novels that take place in Japan, I don't remember reading one before that was this explicit about poverty and money troubles and being a woman trying to make it alone in the world. Or, if not alone, without the help of men. We mostly see the relationships among women: mothers and daughters, friends, and colleagues. The first half focuses on one woman's desire to get breast implants while the second half focuses on her sister's desire to have a baby. I didn't feel like the two halves perfectly gelled but overall I really enjoyed this.

8 people found this helpful

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New points of view

I haven’t read a contemporary novel in a long time but keep track of reviews from the New York Times and decided to try this after reading several music biographies In prep for writing my own. I wanted to listen to a novelist’s voice and someone who uses words artistically as opposed to just getting the point across. She definitely has her own voice and writes beautifully. She writes about several things and with a point of view I’ve never encountered before which is a really good reason to read this book. That said the book seems a bit deliberate and like the product of somebody who studied writing as an academic subject, Iike a talented grad school student. There’s always a sense of the tremendous amount of hours that went into crafting this and covering the territory in a way meant to be unique and stand out in the crowd. That’s a shame because it’s something you should never think about when reading a great novel. I will be interested to read a few more well reviewed modern novels and see if I have the same observation.

5 people found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea

Tried very hard to enjoy it. Listened to it all. Cannot understand why this was rated as a book of the year candidate. Oh well.

4 people found this helpful

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Mixed bag

Book1 is exquisite storytelling with vibrant characters and fascinating, dark and funny, nonconventional story line. Book 2, although it touches far more sensitive and important topic, should have been three times shorter. I still recommend the book and urge you to make your own conclusion.

4 people found this helpful

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What a beautiful, singular piece of literature!

This book is a thoughtful, insightful and thoroughly cohesive story about one woman's interior journey. I look forward to reading more books about the human experience by Kawakami.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story — very fresh; no rose colored glasses

I loved how the book started with the theme of windows not being a thing you think about when you’re poor. (Yes I listened to the whole book!) Overall wonderful and the narrator was great but I struggled with everything sounding like it was foreshadowing doom., like in a noir film, almost to the point of absurdity. There is a lot of harsh reality in this story. To the point where I had to take breaks. But there is hope, too. And bravo for non-traditional lifestyles!! There is no single formula for happiness and positivity contributing to the world!

3 people found this helpful

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Completely Human

Devastatingly honest, completely raw and totally human. The performance was incredible. I could practically see the images of ever word. But the story. The only real words I have are thank you to Mieko Kawakami for giving this gift to us.

3 people found this helpful

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so good

this was a fantastic listen and definitely worth the investment. the voice is incredible and rare.

2 people found this helpful

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almost analysis more than story

an exhaustive examination of all the different points of view and perspectives on the decision of having a child, particularly as a single mother. also a rare asexual protagonist, well portrayed

2 people found this helpful