Heaven: Book summary and reviews of Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

Heaven

by Mieko Kawakami

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami X
Heaven by Mieko Kawakami
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  • Publishes in USA 
    May 25, 2021
    192 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the bestselling author of Breasts and Eggs and international literary sensation Mieko Kawakami, 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 tormentors.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kawakami returns with a searing account of bullying and adolescent angst...Kawakami unflinchingly takes the reader through the abyss of depraved, dehumanizing behavior with keen psychological insight, brilliant sensitivity, and compassionate understanding. With this, the author's star continues to rise." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This novel from the author of Breasts and Eggs (2020) takes on another subject seldom tapped in literary fiction and blows it open with raw and eloquent intensity. Kawakami has a unique knack for burrowing into discomfort, and she does it in a startlingly graceful way. An unexpected classic." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Raw and vivid...[Kamakami's] sensitive, evocative storytelling sets her apart as an incredible literary talent." - Booklist (starred review)

"Kawakami is a writer who doesn't shy away from hard truths and painful experiences, so Heaven will not be an easy read, but it's guaranteed to be a rewarding one." - The Japan Times

"Mesmerizing...Kawakami is a master of the interior voice. There is something about her prose that is so immediate and pressing it blocks out the future almost as if it were a threatening force. We are forced to deal with her characters as they are living now: alone, vulnerable, and unprotected." - World Literature Today

This information about Heaven shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami is the author of the internationally best-selling novel, Breasts and Eggs, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of TIME's Best 10 Books of 2020. Born in Osaka, Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006, and published her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World, in 2007. Her writing is known for its poetic qualities and its insights into the female body, ethical questions, and the dilemmas of modern society. Her books have been translated into many languages and are available all over the world. She has received numerous prestigious literary awards in Japan, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. Kawakami lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Sam Bett studied Japanese at UMass Amherst and Kwansei Gakuin University. Awarded Grand Prize in the 2016 JLPP International Translation Competition, he has translated fiction by Yoko Ogawa, Yukio Mishima, and NisiOisin. He also co-hosts Us&Them, a Brooklyn-based reading series showcasing the work of writers who translate. His translation of Yukio Mishima's Star (New Directions, 2019) won the 2019 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Together with David Boyd, he is the translator of Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs.

David Boyd is Assistant Professor of Japanese at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has translated novels and stories by Hiroko Oyamada, Masatsugu Ono and Toh EnJoe, among others. His translation of Hideo Furukawa's Slow Boat (Pushkin Press, 2017) won the 2017/2018 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. Together with Sam Bett, he is the translator of Kawakami's Breasts and Eggs.

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