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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Breasts and Eggs and international literary sensation Mieko Kawakami comes a sharp and illuminating novel about the impact of violence and the power of solidarity in our contemporary societies.

Hailed as a bold foray into new literary territory, Kawakami’s novel is told in the voice of a 14-year-old student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy chooses to suffer in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormenters.

These raw and realistic portrayals of bullying are counterbalanced by textured exposition of the philosophical and religious debates concerning violence to which the weak are subjected.

Kawakami’s simple yet profound new work stands as a dazzling testament to her literary talent. There can be little doubt that it has cemented her reputation as one of the most important young authors working to expand the boundaries of contemporary Japanese literature.

©2009 Mieko Kawakami. Translation © 2021 by Mieko Kawakami (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

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What listeners say about Heaven

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Great listen

Wish I spoke Japanese because I know some parts were lost in translation. I speak two languages and have noticed the different instances of this before.
A profound story on bullying but way different take then I’ve heard before. I’ll have to give it more thought to really understand just exactly what the meaning of this gifted author intended. I’m familiar with bullying having led a life time of activism against it and other forms of discrimination and violent treatment but to me at this moment the sad sad part came through in the female character.
Feels like I know what might have happen to her even as the male character gets a new lease on life so to speak.
Disturbing actually. Like I said, I wish I could have either read it in Japanese or at least be more familiar with their customs. Maybe then that part I feel language missed would help the conversations in this book where “Momosai(?)” tried to explain why he & his friends who did the bullying…did the bullying. That left something lacking!

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating true narrative about preteen bullying.

A young boy and his girlfriend philosophise about being bullied. Also with his same-age tormentor.

1 person found this helpful

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A great book

A wonderful book that I found to be developmental and maturative for a young man coming of age such as myself. I found this book relatable and generally well written. I further highly recommend this book.

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Heaven?

Why is this book called HEAVEN? It doesn’t have any correlation and Heaven could not possibly be as boring. Yawning

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  • JB
  • 12-27-21

Painful

Not sure why I felt compelled to finish this story. It describes bullying in us most sadistic form. The passivity and helplessness of its two victims is very disturbing. Not sure what the moral to the story was. Suffering can be endured endlessly? The narrator was excellent. If violence upsets you, skip this one.

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Disturbing topic but glad to have listened

It is disturbing to find the complete lack of empathy and callousness of some of the characters, who are young children, in this book. Given the ability to change his circumstance to prevent future bullying and torture, I am glad the main character made the possible life changing decision to move forward with the change. I am equally disturbed by his supposed friend, Kojima, for attempting to guilt him into not making this change just so he could continued to be bullied as she had. Translation and performance for this book are very good but do not listen if you are sensitive to this topic.