Ruth Ozeki Archive
Objects are characters in Ruth Ozeki’s latest novel. And as her masterful structure makes clear, we the readers, like the book’s protagonist, are hearing voices too: the Book has a mind of its own.
Poets, novelists, and artists of the Anthropocene are using their art to reveal the ties that bind us to that hazy concept of “nature,” and they often start with its most potent symbol, the tree—the embodiment of extreme strength and extreme vulnerability.
As Ozeki’s reflection shows, our conception of identity changes over time—whether due to personal maturity or changes in the social climate.
Literature, as a territory of creative speculation, appears especially attuned to tracking our ever-evolving relationship to death and its consequences on how we lead our lives, how we relate to others, and how we cultivate any sort of moral compass.
Contemporary literature has me thinking that the apocalypse isn’t about to happen to us. Instead, it’s been happening for a very, very long time. At least, this is what I read in Ruth Ozeki’s fiction.
There’s no easy way to actually quantify this, but it feels like more and more characters I see in books are historians of some kind – regardless of their status, amateur or professional, these are characters who do sleuthing work about the past, consciously or not.
In her most recent book, Dandarians (Milkweed, 2014), Lee Ann Roripaugh writes in the borderland between poetry and prose, blurring boundaries and finding the unfamiliar music in everyday language. She is also the author of three previous books of poetry, including Year of the Snake, which won the Association