Breasts and Eggs, by Mieko Kawakami

Second paragraph of third chapter:

時計は四時を指しており、窓を見るとまだまだ強い日差しがびくともせ ずにガラスー面に張りついている。 The clock said four, but the window was a flume of sunshine.

This was one of my impulse purchases in Paris last summer, arising from the realisation that I haven't read a lot of non-genre fiction by Asian women, and seduced by the blurbs on the front cover.

It's a story in two parts, the first being a visit by the narrator's sister from Osaka to Tokyo for a breast reduction operation, the second about the difficulties of the narrator getting access to artificial insemination as a single woman who does not like sex. I understand that we lose a lot of context in the English translation because the narrator and her family speak with pronounced Osaka accents and inevitably stick out in stuck-up Tokyo.

Apart from that I found it a good slice-of-life piece of writing, well two slices I suppose, describing the situation of women in today's Japan, and the second part grabbed me more than the first (most reviews that I have seen found the opposite). You can get it here.

This was my top unread book by a non-white writer. Next on that list is Nine Lives: My time as the West's top spy inside al-Qaeda, by Aimen Dean.

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