Ruth L. Ozeki
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About Ruth L. Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki (born March 12, 1956) is an American-Canadian novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. She worked in commercial television and media production for over a decade and made several independent films before turning to writing fiction.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Latrippi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Titles By Ruth L. Ozeki
“Inventive, vivid, and propelled by a sense of wonder.” —TIME
“If you’ve lost your way with fiction over the last year or two, let The Book of Form and Emptiness light your way home.” —David Mitchell, Booker Prize-finalist author of Cloud Atlas
Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction
A boy who hears the voices of objects all around him; a mother drowning in her possessions; and a Book that might hold the secret to saving them both—the brilliantly inventive new novel from the Booker Prize-finalist Ruth Ozeki
One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house—a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.
At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.
And he meets his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki—bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.
Finalist for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award
“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
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.
A revelatory short memoir from the bestselling author of A Tale for the Time Being and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki about how her face has shaped and been shaped by her life.
What did your face look like before your parents were born? In The Face: A Time Code, bestselling author and Zen Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki recounts, in moment-to-moment detail, a profound encounter with memory and the mirror. According to ancient Zen tradition, “your face before your parents were born” is your original face. Who are you? What is your true self? What is your identity before or beyond the dualistic distinctions, like father/mother and good/evil, that come to define us?
With these questions in mind, Ozeki challenges herself to spend three hours gazing into her own reflection, recording her thoughts, and noticing every possible detail. Those solitary hours open up a lifetime's worth of meditations on race, aging, family, death, the body, self doubt, and, finally, acceptance. In this lyrical short memoir, Ozeki calls on her experience of growing up in the wake of World War II as a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian American; of having a public face as an author; of studying the intricate art of the Japanese Noh mask; of being ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest; and of her own and her parents' aging, to paint a rich, intimate and utterly unique portrait of a life as told through a face.
Praise for Ruth Ozeki
“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
“Ozeki joins the constellation of such environmentally aware writers as Barbara Kingsolver, Annie Proulx, and Margaret Atwood.”
“A careful, considerate writer.”
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her first two novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into eleven languages and published in fourteen countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), won the LA Times book prize, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critic's Circle Award, and has been published in over thirty countries. Ruth's documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country.
A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth was ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City, and is currently the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.
FINALISTA AL WOMEN’S PRIZE 2022.
«Nessuno scrive come Ruth Ozeki. Nel Libro della forma e del vuoto offre una esplorazione singolare e filosofica in forma di storia, che è al tempo stesso indagine sui problemi di salute mentale e visione zen del mondo. Proprio come Benny trova ciò che conta davvero grazie all’aiuto di un libro, anche noi lo troviamo leggendo questo romanzo. Straziante e consolatorio, è un libro che non solo appassiona, ma che aiuta a pensare, amare e vivere. Un trionfo».
«Ozeki collega filosofia zen, crisi ambientale, critica al nostro stile di vita consumistico e sensibilità postmoderna all’interno di un romanzo che, nonostante la sua vasta inquietudine intellettuale, rimane radicato nella realtà emotiva dei suoi personaggi».
Mail on Sunday
«È difficile non amare il buonumore e l’arguzia pacati, asciutti e metodici di Ozeki, le sue relazioni amorose con la lingua, il jazz e l’assurdo, il suo cauto ottimismo, le sue gentili parodie».
Un anno dopo la morte del padre clarinettista jazz, il tredicenne Benny Oh inizia a sentire delle voci. Le voci appartengono alle cose intorno a lui – una scarpa, una decorazione natalizia rotta, una foglia di lattuga avvizzita. Anche se Benny non capisce esattamente che cosa dicano, riesce a percepire le loro emozioni: alcune sono piacevoli, un cinguettio o un gentile mormorio, altre sono malvagie, arrabbiate e piene di dolore. Quando l’ossessione per l’accumulo di sua madre inizia a peggiorare, le voci si fanno sempre più insistenti. In un primo momento Benny prova a ignorarle, ma presto lo seguono fuori casa, per strada e a scuola, spingendolo infine a cercare rifugio nel silenzio della grande Biblioteca Pubblica, dove gli oggetti sono beneducati e sanno parlare a bassa voce. Lì Benny scopre un mondo strano, completamente nuovo, in cui le cose “accadono”. Si innamora di un’irresistibile artista di strada, con il suo spocchioso furetto, che usa la biblioteca come spazio performativo. Incontra un filosofo-poeta senzatetto che lo incoraggia a farsi domande importanti e a trovare la propria voce in mezzo a tutte le altre. E incontra il suo vero e unico Libro – un oggetto parlante – che racconta la vita di Benny e gli insegna ad ascoltare le cose che contano davvero.
Il libro della forma e del vuoto unisce personaggi indimenticabili, una trama appassionante e un coinvolgimento profondo con la realtà nella sua interezza – dal jazz al cambiamento climatico, al nostro attaccamento alle cose materiali. Questa è Ruth Ozeki: audace, incredibilmente umana e mozzafiato.