Breasts and Eggs

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by Mieko Kawakami | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1509898220 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingMmeClintonwing of South Berwick, Maine USA on 8/19/2022
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Journal Entry 1 by wingMmeClintonwing from South Berwick, Maine USA on Friday, August 19, 2022
Review: Breasts and Eggs (Mieko Kawakami) This is one of this quarter's Tailored Book Recommendations, and it was well-chosen, although really difficult to summarize effectively. Given the title, it seemed obvious that this book focused on women. Our narrator is Natsuko, born in Osaka but currently living in Tokyo, an aspiring writer with little family (an older sister and niece, living along back in Osaka), barely managing financially, caught in all the conflicts facing a working-class woman in contemporary Japan. There are two sections in the book. The first details a visit from her sister Makiko (who works as a hostess in a bar) and her then 12 year-old niece Midoriko who has decided not to speak anymore...she carries two notebooks, one for writing what she wants to say, the other as a diary. Her mom has come to Tokyo with the intention of having breast implants. There are all kinds of questions this brings to the reader... and this is only the beginning of the reality of facing being a female in the world. Midoriko cannot have fights with her mom if she doesn't speak. Why is her mom, also barely scraping by as a single mom, wanting to drastically change her body? I know the novel is an expanded version of a novella which won awards, and I wonder if this first (shorter) section was the original? Anyway, some of those questions are resolved, some are not, but at least one has an introduction to characters that will reappear in the longer second half, focusing on Natsuko trying to navigate her own way to understanding her wants and her place in the world, which is full of both pain and joy. Being alone and not particularly wanting to change that status, but also longing for a child, she is the axis around which all kinds of emotional realities are exposed and examined, with a host of other characters to flesh out the story. There is only one living male character in the book, Aizawa, whom she meets at a gathering of "children of donors", that is, children whose fathers were sperm donors. It was something Natsuko was considering, given that she has no partner and zero interest in sex. The different opinions on conception, parenthood, choices, financial responsibilities, whether life is even worth living, all swarms relentlessly through her story. It is a long exploration of the inner lives of women, in a certain time and place, leaving open lots of doors and accepting of the impossibility of a one-size-fits-all moral attitude in this great experiment of life which no one opted for. Yet, in my view, it ends with hope and a certain sense of acceptance of the wonder of simply being alive.

Journal Entry 2 by wingMmeClintonwing at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA on Friday, August 19, 2022

Released 1 mo ago (8/19/2022 UTC) at When Pigs Fly Company Store And Pizzeria in Kittery, Maine USA

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