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, and the highly-acclaimed Heaven, her second novel to be translated and published in English, which Oprah Daily described as written with jagged, visceral beauty. Born in Osaka, Japan, Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006, and in 2007 published her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World. Known for their poetic qualities, their insights into the female body, and their preoccupation with ethics and modern society, her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Kawakami's literary awards include the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. She lives in Tokyo, Japan.
Taking two outcast teens as its unhappy protagonists, it is an expertly told, deeply unsettling tale of adolescent violence that will, no doubt, only grow the author's fan base * Vogue * Heaven is told with astonishing frankness and economy. It will cut through all your defences down to every layer of fear, isolation, hope and need you've ever felt. The central pair of fourteen year old outcasts reckon with pain, belonging and the search for meaning in a way that's heartbreaking and compelling. Mieko Kawakami is a genius -- Naoise Dolan Simple and profound, Heaven is an undeniable masterpiece -- Mitsuyoshi Numano 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 * A poignant odyssey into the haunted caverns of adolescence . . . Kawakami writes with jagged, visceral beauty about those early antagonists we carry around in our heads, scars we bear into adulthood, 'caught in the undertow' of hormones and sorrow * Oprah Daily * Mieko Kawakami has spun a poignant tale on the theme of bullying . . . Heaven is a tour de force * Tokyo Shimbun * Heaven covers new terrain, masterfully broadening the literary landscape * Yomiuri Shimbun * Kawakami has a unique knack for burrowing into discomfort, and she does it in a startlingly graceful way. Like her last novel-an unsparing treatise on the pressures of being a woman in male-dominated Japan-this book isn't for the fainthearted. Told from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy in present-day Japan, Kawakami's tale follows the volatile lives of two teenagers relentlessly bullied by their peers . . . An unexpected classic * Kirkus * Rises above the philosophical questions at its depths and delivers the reader to a devastating conclusion * Elle Japan * Mieko Kawakami pulls from the all too familiar places we learn to accept as normal in our youth and gives them to us to reflect on as adults in a painful yet necessary way. Even if we could never learn the absolute truths behind humans' capacity for violence as well as empathy, we are certainly closer now with Heaven -- An Yu, author of <i>Braised Pork</i> Kawakami's powerful and unassuming novel explores horrific accounts of bullying in a Japanese school . . . Her sensitive, evocative storytelling sets her apart as an incredible literary talent * BookList * 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 * It is difficult to write young voices well: easy to forget how smart teenagers are, or to portray them in terms of what adults might wish for them. Mieko Kawakami, however, is adept at understanding their perspective and capturing the despair and intractability of those difficult years . . . As with Kawakami's previously translated work, Breasts and Eggs, this is an adroit novel of real feeling and insight from a writer who wants her readers to think for themselves -- Ronan Hession * Irish 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 * 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 * Paperback Paris * Moving and intelligent. Kawakami gives us characters who speak to the heart and illustrate in one form or another the dilemma facing everyone in adolescence. Hopeful yet chilling in equal measures * American Booksellers Association * Heaven takes on the issue of bullying, and why a victim might choose not to fight back. Two teenagers bond over their torment, and their passive response reveals many kinds of societal injustice * Washington Post * This sharp new novel from Mieko Kawakami [is] a sucker-punch of a story that implores you to question even your own morality * Cosmopolitan * With grace and clarity, Kawakami explores destructive nature of adolescent violence, and the power of empathetic friendships * The Millions * How can a relationship really last when its foundation is built on shared experiences of humiliation? The author moves toward an answer in this quietly devastating tale of middle school drama * TIME * If you enjoyed Mieko Kawakami's brilliant Breasts and Eggs, you're certain to be astonished by her latest novel exploring violence and bullying with fierce, feminist and damning candor * Ms. Magazine * While Kawakami refuses to give us answers, the elegance and care with which she describes her characters' lives invite the reader to ask such questions of themselves. This is not a cruel story, but rather one that understands hurt and pain for what it is: universal, unjust and material for new life * BookPage *