Translation: David Boyd, Sam Bett


After the well-received Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami’s English-published novel, Heaven addresses the topic of school violence. She does not spare us drastic descriptions of harassment, humiliation and brutality of young people, and between these scenes, asks, through the lips of her characters: why me? Why is this happening to me? Does it make any sense?

The novel begins when the narrator – a middle school student, nicknamed Eyes, a victim of class violence due to his lazy eye, finds a note in a pencil case. The sender is an equally alienated and bullied classmate. Kojima offers him friendship. A special bond is created between them – they talk very openly and honestly about their situation, bluntly asking extremely mature questions about why they were the target of cruel games of their classmates. Their life philosophies, however, seem to be getting more and more distant over time – for Eyes, it seems to be a good thing…

When I was reading Heaven, the feeling of discomfort did not leave me, and I kept thinking: trigger warning. Keep that in mind when picking up this title. This is not a book for everyone – it can evoke unpleasant memories, it can also simply shock, shake, and sadden. When writing about a subject as heavy as child abuse, you can do it the way Kawakami does it – mercilessly, and thus hellishly effectively. You can also do it differently – like Mizuki Tsujimura in Lonely Castle in the Mirror. Both ways are valid, and books like these two are important. It is worth reaching for the one that is closer to our sensibility.

"When you say you want to have a child," Aizawa said, "what is it you're after? Do you mean you want to raise a child? Give birth? Get pregnant?"
"I've asked myself that same thing." I admitted. "I've given it a lot of thought. I guess it's all of the above. The best way I can put it is I want to know them, this child, whoever they are..."

Czas oczekiwania: 4-5 weeks





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