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Despite being prominent in Japan as an Akutagawa Prize-winning writer and singer-songwriter, “Ms Ice Sandwich” is Mieko Kawakami’s first book to be translated into English.

The novella follows an awkward and lonely young boy, and charts his obsession with the titular character, a woman who works in the sandwich concession of his local supermarket. She has an unusual appearance, the result, we are told, of cosmetic surgery. Her nickname derives from the color of the makeup she uses on her eyelids — a sharp blue reminiscent of a type of popsicle. During the holidays, the boy buys an egg sandwich from her everyday just so he can see her.

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