Ozeki, Ruth L My Year of Meats

ISBN 13: 9780140280463

My Year of Meats

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9780140280463: My Year of Meats
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Jane Takagi-Little, by trade a documentary filmmaker, by nature a truth seeker, is "racially half, " Japanese and American, and, as she tells us, "neither here nor there..." Jane is sharp-edged, desperate for a job, and determined not to fall in love again. Akiko Ueno, a young Japanese housewife, lives with her husband in a bleak high-rise apartment complex in a suburb of Tokyo. Akiko is so thin her bones hurt, and her husband, an ad agency salaryman who wants her to get pregnant, is insisting that she put some meat on them - literally. Ruth L. Ozeki's novel opens with two women on opposite sides of the globe, whose lives cannot be further apart. But when Jane gets a job, coordinating a television series whose mission is to bring the American heartland, and American meat, into the homes of Japan, she makes some wrenching discoveries - about love, meat, honor, and a hormone called DES. When Jane and Akiko's lives converge, what is revealed taps the deepest concerns of our time - how the past informs the present and how we live and love in this "blessed, ever-shrinking world."

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Review:

At first glance, a novel that promises to expose the unethical practices of the American meat industry may not be at the top of your reading list, but Ruth Ozeki's debut, My Year of Meatsis well worth a second look. Like the author, the novel's protagonist, Jane Takagi-Little, is a Japanese-American documentary filmmaker; like Ozeki, who was once commissioned by a beef lobbying group to make television shows for the Japanese market, Jane is invited to work on a Japanese television show meant to encourage beef consumption via the not-so-subliminal suggestion that prime rib equals a perfect family:

TO: AMERICAN RESEARCH STAFF
FROM: Tokyo Office
DATE: January 5, 1991
RE: My American Wife!...
Here is list of IMPORTANT THINGS for My American Wife!.
DESIRABLE THINGS:
1. Attractiveness, wholesomeness, warm personality
2. Delicious meat recipe (NOTE: Pork and other meats is second class meats, so please remember this easy motto: "Pork is Possible, but Beef is Best!")
3. Attractive, docile husband
4. Attractive, obedient children
5. Attractive, wholesome lifestyle
6. Attractive, clean house...
UNDESIRABLE THINGS:
1. Physical imperfections
2. Obesity
3. Squalor
4. Second class peoples
The series, My American Wife!, initially seems like a dream come true for Jane as she criss-crosses the United States filming a different American family each week for her Japanese audience. Naturally, the emphasis is on meat, and Ozeki has fun with bizarre recipes such as rump roast in coke and beef fudge; but as Jane becomes more familiar with her subject, she becomes increasingly aware of the beef industry's widespread practice of using synthetic oestrogens on their cattle and determines to sabotage the programme.

Cut to Tokyo where Akiko Ueno struggles through the dull misery of life with her brutish husband, who happens to be in charge of the show's advertising. After seeing one of Jane's subversive episodes about a vegetarian lesbian couple, Akiko gets in touch and the two women plot to expose the meat industry's hazardous practices. Romance, humour, intrigue, and even a message--My Year of Meats has it all. This is a book that even a vegetarian would love.

Review:

"Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists . . . bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page."
--Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of This Is How You Lose Her

"In precise and luminous prose, Ozeki captures both the sweep and detail of our shared humanity. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring and true."
--Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles

"Wonderfully wild and bracing . . . A feast that leaves you hungry for whatever Ozeki cooks up next."
--Newsweek

"My Year of Meats pulsates with passion. . . . Ozeki's first novel detonates an attack on the meat industry that would make Upton Sinclair sit up and smile . . . yet all this energy doesn't obscure the novel's quirky charm."
--USA Today

"Ruth Ozeki masks a deeper purpose with a light tone . . . A comical-satirical-farcical-epical-tragical-romantical novel."
--Jane Smiley, Chicago Tribune

"An amazingly assured debut, My Year of Meats is a wonderfully irreverent novel, with wacky cross-cultural collisions and hilarious characters . . . a joy to read."
--Elle

"Ozeki offers a remarkably fresh view of the rocky road many women travel to love and motherhood . . . one of the heartiest, and, yes, meatiest debuts in years."
--Glamour

"Romance, agri-business, self-discovery, cross-cultural misunderstanding--it takes a talent like Ruth Ozeki's to blend all these ingredients beautifully together. My Year of Meats is a sensitive and compelling portrait of two modern women."
--Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha

"Canny, cunning, muckraking, and lusty, weaving hormones and corporate threats, fertility and independence."
--The Village Voice

"A likeably odd and inventively imagined tale . . . Ozeki writes with the same over-the-top verve as fellow hyper-realist David Foster Wallace."
--Detroit Free Press

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781782111146: My Year of Meats

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ISBN 10: 178211114X ISBN 13: 9781782111146
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd, 2013
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9780670879045: My Year of Meats

Viking, 1998
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9780330370066: My Year of Meat

Picador, 1998
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9780330368452: My Year of Meat

Pan Books, 1999
Softcover

9780330490443: My Year of Meat

Picador, 2003
Softcover

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