Mieko Kawakami is the reigning queen of contemporary Japanese literature for good reason.

Her fiction grapples with essential questions of humanity, while grounding her characters in a muddy reality populated by broken families, absent fathers and children struggling to find meaning in a hostile world. In “Heaven,” newly translated into English by Sam Bett and David Boyd, the writer melds philosophy and truth into a lacerating examination of power, ultimately asking: Who wields it, and why?

Heaven, by Mieko KawakamiTranslated by Sam Bett and David Boyd192 pagesEUROPA EDITIONS