Heaven - Mieko Kawakami - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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I loved Meiko Kawakami’s last novel, Breasts And Eggs, so I did an excited SQUEEE when Macmillan sent me a copy of her latest, Heaven, for review. As I’ve come to expect from Kawakami, it’s a little dark, a little weird, and very visceral.

Two bullied teenagers find connection and solace in each other. A lazy eye and a dirty shirt are enough to see them ostracised by their peers. They exchange letters, each dripping with the desperate emotional intimacy of kids who don’t have anyone else. Over the course of just 167 pages, their friendship devolves to a horrifying denoument.

Obviously, the content of Heaven warrants trigger warnings for bullying and depression/suicidality. This one will put you in a weird headspace. It’s quite a bummer, but still beautifully written and passionately felt.

It’s one I’m not sure I would “recommend”, it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s one that lingered with me for days.

Credit for the translation from Japanese goes to Sam Bett and David Boyd – don’t forget to #NameTheTranslator!