Jane, a struggling filmmaker in New York, is given her big break, a chance to travel through the United States to produce a Japanese television program sponsored by American meat exporters. Meanwhile, Akiko, a painfully thin Japanese woman struggling with bulimia, is being pressured by her child-craving husband to put some meat on her bones, literally.
How Jane's and Akiko's lives intersect in wacky crosscultural collisions provides romance, humor, intrigue, and even a muckraking message about questionable meat and the Wal-Martification of America.
Ruth Ozeki is an award-winning novelist and filmmaker. She is also the author of My Year of Meats and, most recently, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 for A Tale for the Time Being. Ozeki was born and raised in Connecticut, by an American father and Japanese mother. In June 2010 she was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest. She divides her time between British Columbia and New York.
©1998 Ruth Ozeki (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"A well-crafted, often comic story of the personal and political" (Observer)
"A nice blend of humour and strangely affecting optimism. Ozeki has written a book where dread and hope coexist. Neither is given short shrift or magicked away" (New York Times)
Will read anything within reason.
I'm not really sure what to make of this one. On one hand it is an unusual and inventive story of two women and two cultures. Jane is a thoroughly modern American woman with a Japanese mother. She is making a documentary series on American wives aimed for the Japanese market. The programme is sponsored by the meat industry and the objective is to promote the 'wholesomeness' of meat to Japanese women. Akiko lives in Japan and is married to one of the film company's executives. She is deeply depressed and suffering from an eating disorder, and after learning about her marriage it is easy to see why.
As the story progresses it begins to turn into a more factually based condemnation of the meat industry. As somebody who experienced the mad cow crisis I completely applaude the message but I did feel a bit uncomfortable with the presentation. This part of the book read more like something written by Michael Moore and the line between fact and fiction became blurry which I think weakened the message.
On the whole this is a good book and I would like to read more from this author. Some of the reviews mention that this is written with humour. Whilst this is true, there are some really harrowing scenes depicting sexual violence and animal slaughter.
There were lots of characters to like or dislike, some of the "American Wives" were developed so you could really like them.
The reader brought the two cultures (American and Japanese) to life really well, which added to the interest.
I think the story developed well as it went along and I became more involved with it. I had a lump in my throat a few times, particularly towards the end.
Give it a try.
This book rates among the few top audiobooks I've listened to so far. I especially liked the way Ruth Ozeki wove fact and fiction seamlessly into the story.
The scene in the slaughterhouse was well written both in content and description.
Anna Field reading Japanese with ease, and her ability to change her voice effortlessly to portray the characters, added so much to the story.
The book made me rethink my attitude towards buying and eating meat, and challenged my complacency with regard to the subject.
I think the book is a must read for everyone!
Touching, clever, inspiring...it has lifted my spirit and made me part of this journey. Wonderful characters populate this book spanning across two different and great cultures. The narrator is also excellent!
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