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Hevunの表紙画像

FICTION

Hevun

[Heaven]

By Kawakami Mieko

Kōdansha (Kōdansha Bunko), 2012. 320 pp. ¥552. ISBN 978-4- 06-277246-4. (Originally published in Gunzō, Aug. 2009.)

Also published in: French and Korean

This book by rising star Kawakami came a year and a half after she won the Akutagawa Prize in 2008. Whereas her other works are intricately woven and challenging to read, her first full-length novel features surprising simplicity and clarity and was hailed as a foray into new literary territory. The story, whose central theme is violent bullying in junior high schools, is told through the eyes of a 14-year-old male student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of putting up resistance, the boy chooses to suffer in complete resignation. His single kindred spirit is a female classmate suffering a similar treatment for being “dirty.” Eventually the two are tricked into coming to a park where they are made to suffer torment so appalling as to make readers cringe.

    These raw and realistic portrayals of bullying are counterbalanced with a near-complete presentation of the range of philosophical and religious debates surrounding violence committed against the weak. As well as addressing some of the social problems now facing Japan, Kawakami’s simple yet profound new work stands as a dazzling testament to her literary talent. There can be little doubt that it has cemented her reputation as one of the most important young authors working to expand the boundaries of contemporary Japanese literature. (NM)
Hevunの表紙画像

By Kawakami Mieko

Kawakami Mieko

Born in 1976. Debuted with the 2007 novel Watakushiritsu in hā, mata wa sekai [The World According to Tooth]. Won the Akutagawa Prize in 2008 for Chichi to ran [Breasts and Egg]. Also awarded the Nakahara Chūya Prize in 2009 for the poetry collection Sentan de sasu wa sasareru wa sora ee wa [In the Forefront, Pointing and Being Pointed At, and That’s Just Fine]. In 2010, Hevun won the Minister of Education Encouragement Prize for New Artists. In 2013, Ai no yume to ka [Dreams of Love, Etc.] received the Tanizaki Jun’ichirō Prize.

Translation rights inquiries

Kōdansha Ltd.
(attn. Kitaoka Morio, International Rights Dept.)
2-12-21 Otowa, Bunkyō-ku, Tokyo
112-8001
Tel.: +81-3-5395-4112
Fax: +81-3-3942-7204
Email: m-kitaoka@kodansha.co.jp
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