My Year of Meat Paperback – 7 May 1999
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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 STAFFThe 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.
FROM: Tokyo Office
DATE: January 5, 1991
RE: My American Wife!...
Here is list of IMPORTANT THINGS for My American Wife!.
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...
1. Physical imperfections
4. Second class peoples
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
aA smart and compelling novel about a world we donat realize we live in.a
"A smart and compelling novel about a world we don't realize we live in."
praise and="" em="" for="" ozeki="" ruth="">Praise for Ruth Ozeki and My Year of Meats "Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists . . . bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page."-Junot D az, 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 praise>
praise and="" em="" for="" ozeki="" ruth=""Praise for Ruth Ozeki and "My Year of Meats"
Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists . . . bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page.
Junot Diaz, 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.
"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.
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.
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"praise" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Like Time Being, My Year Of Meats, also published at one time as My Year Of Meat, is told in two voices, a hybrid American Japanese one, living in America, and a Japanese one, in Japan.
The Japanese voice is that of Akiko, a woman suffering hugely in a culture which is part way its own history, but also being bent and bending itself, into American obsession. The second voice is Jane, a version of Ozeki herself, a Westernised independent woman of Japanese American birth, born in the USA, who nevertheless is `hybrid' and therefore, whilst seeing herself as American, is viewed partly as outsider from both cultures, and indeed views both cultures from the outside.
Jane Tagaki-Little is a documentary film maker. The Beef Industry, keen to spread its markets more globally, is producing a series of real-life documentaries which are designed to sell more meat, and persuade Japanese people to `cook more American' exchanging a largely fish diet for one containing huge slabs of cow. The production company has to sell the product by selling the (artificial, air-brushed) corn-fed blonde view of the American family. The highlight of each programme in My American Wife involves cooking the slab of cow in some way, for example - in a tin of mushroom soup, rolled in dried onion soup after marinating in Coca-Cola (not Pepsi-Cola)
The programmes are car-crash rubberneckingly awful, and hysterically funny - Oprah confessional style, all at once.Read more ›
A friend of mine recommended this book to me as I have been, for the last 18 months or so, eating only organic food. I had been told about the hormones and antibiotics present in non-organic meat and dairy products, but didn't realise I knew so little about it until I read My Year of Meat. Having been a dedicated carnivore for most of my 32 years, I am now seriously considering turning totally vegetarian.
It's always hard to categorize Ozeki's books, since they contain so many themes, from hard-edge to soft-core. The multitude of themes is also one of the weaknesses of her novels, making them somewhat diffuse. Another disappointment is her penchant for rounding off stories; the pat conclusions and neat endings to so many tragic beginnings dilute the messages she strives so hard to communicate. The novel veers somewhat unnervingly from ghastly realism to rose-tinted romance.
But as always, her commitment to a cause shines through -- and in this novel, it is the abuses perpetrated on the public by the American meat industry through the hormones, antibiotics and other contaminants that have entered the food chain and the human population, with catastrophic consequences for all of us. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the characters in the novel wind up vegetarians! And all suffer from hormonal problems -- male hormones that produce aggression and violence, female hormones that should produce fertility, but veer hopelessly in unexpected directions. Visceral, often bloody, but always gripping, as hormones are wont to be.
The great strength of the book is that it's insanely readable, pulling you along from episode to episode. Ozeki is a fabulous communicator. I couldn't wait to get back to reading it, and I highly recommend it to everybody.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although the product was described as used and that there might be small defects in it, it came in perfect shape. Interesting book as well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Anything by Ruth Ozeki is worth reading. I read this years ago, and so was interested when I came across it again. Perhaps not as good as her more recent For the Time Being.Published 10 months ago by Evi
I lived and worked in Japan for two years. I visited plenty of Temples and travelled extensively when I could even up to the ice bound Hokkaido in winter to see the Cranes. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kenneth James Walker
I had to read this book as it was selected by a member of my book club. I was reluctant, and it took me a while to settle into it but eventually got to grips with it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by PJF
Discovered Ruth Ozeki and read all her books in a very short time. Love them allPublished 19 months ago by laurence