A cross-cultural tale of two women brought together by the intersections of television and industrial agriculture, fertility and motherhood, life and love—the breakout hit by the celebrated author of A Tale for the Time Being and The Book of Form and Emptiness
Ruth Ozeki’s mesmerizing debut novel has captivated readers and reviewers worldwide. When documentarian Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job producing a Japanese television show that just happens to be sponsored by an American meat-exporting business, she uncovers some unsavory truths about love, fertility, and a dangerous hormone called DES. Soon she will also cross paths with Akiko Ueno, a beleaguered Japanese housewife struggling to escape her overbearing husband. Hailed by USA Today as “rare and provocative” and awarded the Kirayama Prize for Literature of the Pacific Rim, My Year of Meats is a modern-day take on Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle for fans of Michael Pollan, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver.
Japanese-American documentary filmmaker Jane Takagi Little seems to have found the perfect job producing My American Wife, a program sponsored by American beef exporters that introduces Japanese housewives to "typical, wholesome" American wives, their families and their beef recipes. Jane and her crew travel around the U.S., filming wives and their families as they make beef dinners. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, shy Akiko has been driven to bulimia by her domineering and abusive husband, John, who works with the beef exporters on the show. John insists that Akiko watch the show, cook, gain weight and get pregnant. Over the course of the "year of meats," Jane begins to feel guilty about exploiting the wives, confused about her romantic life and disturbed by the sordid secrets she uncovers about meat production. Inspired by Jane's increasingly subversive episodes (particularly the segment on lesbian vegetarians), Akiko gradually realizes what she wants out of life and finds the courage to reach for it. Narrator Fields gives a sterling performance, vividly bringing to life the many disparate voices from Jane's sharp-tongued mother to the various housewives on the show. Ozeki's prior experience producing similar shows for beef lobbyists and obvious compassion for Jane, combined with Fields's empathetic performance, make this a worthwhile listen. Based on the Viking hardcover.
an eventful year
a wonderful first novel and a riveting read.