“I’m a very good runner-up, but I don’t win things,” Ruth Ozeki joked, in a video shared to Twitter, when she took home the 2022 Women’s Prize For Fiction. The 66-year-old American-Canadian writer and director has published four novels since her debut in 1998, and is best known as the first Zen Buddhist priest to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013.
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Literature alongside the likes of British-Turkish novelist Elif Shafak, American author and poet Louise Erdrich and Trinidadian journalist and author Lisa Allen Agustini, Ozeki returned home this year for her latest novel, 2021. The Book of Shape and Space. According to a statement from the jury chairwoman, Marie-Ann Siegart, her book “is distinguished by its sparkling writing, warmth, wit, sense of humor, and tenderness.”
Previous winners of the Women’s Awards include Zadie Smith (White Teeth, Swinging Time) Ali Smith (How You Are Alike, the episodic) Emyr McBride (The Girl is a Half-Forged Thing) and Naomi Alderman (The Strength) – so if you’re on the hunt for holiday readings To hang on to it, it’s a great place to start. And if you love the sound of fun philosophical writing that disrupts heavy topics such as science, politics, race and religion through the lens of the story of the age of adulthood, there is a strong opportunity to be able to dig Oziki.
fascinated by? Here is where to dive.
year of meat (Vikings PressAnd the 1998)
After endless job hunting, unemployed Japanese directors Jin Takagi Little delighted when she landed her first job producing Japanese set My American Wife! – but soon discovers a series of unwelcome facts as she scours the United States in search of “Healthy American Wives” to feature on the show, sponsored by an American meat exporter. Meanwhile, Akiko Ueno, the wife of the executive responsible for cooking the coordination in the first place, is caught by the program across the ocean in Japan, and when the two women finally cross, she won’t be able to stop reading year of meat.
throughout creation (Penguin, 2003)
Like her first novel, throughout creation It also addresses the dark side of the agricultural industry, humanity’s desire to control and change nature itself. This time, it’s explored through the eyes of Yumi Fuller – the Japanese-American daughter of an Idaho potato farmer who long ago left her hometown. When she returns to take care of her elderly parents, Yumi finds a conflict brewing with the Seeds of Resistance organization. An activist group supplies their truck with stolen McDonald’s chips. These events serve as a watchdog for Yomi in calculating her difficult past, as the protagonist admits that as a child she felt like “a random fruit in a field of genetically identical potatoes”.
A tale for the present (Viking Press, 2013)
Man Booker was nominated in the wake of the devastating 2011 Tohoku tsunami A tale for the present He stops at the discovery of a Hello Kitty lunchbox washing ashore in British Columbia. Packed in plastic bags, it contains the diary of 16-year-old Nao–a Japanese-American teen who’s over-breded in California–and when she is discovered by the aptly named novelist Roth, she’s pulled from the story of Nao, who saw her return through her family tree all the way to the war Second World. When Ruth finally sets out to track down the missing author in the diary, their lives end up converging in surprising and poignant ways.
Face: time symbol (Reagan Arts, 2016)
For something a little different, Ozeki’s autobiography The Face: A Code—a piece of self-reflection rooted in her Zen Buddhist belief—is well worth a read. If you’re a fan of any of her novels, The Face: A Time Code has plenty of highlights to highlight the themes the writer returns often — the lasting scars of World War II and the complexity of Japanese-American identity, for example — as well as Ozeki’s musings on the writing process itself. .
The book of shape and space (Canongate Books, 2021)
After the untimely death of Benny Oh’s father of fourteen, she surprises him as things about his house full of loss, from moldy yogurt to broken Christmas ornaments, begin to speak to him in languages he cannot understand. Desperate to escape the hustle and bustle of sounds, he hides in the bustling local library, where he meets an eccentric artist, a riverwoman, and a philosopher-bitch turned among the whispering books. With the help of this strange new gang, Oh begins tuning in to really important sounds, learning more about himself in the process. Not surprisingly, the book Shape and Space won the Ozeki Women’s Prize for Fiction.