How do you make sense of something that’s always shifting?
Identity and self-definition are perpetually in flux — writer/reader, past/future, fiction/reality, linear/cyclical, maker/made are treated as dichotomies, but these writers illustrate that each is a porous bi-directional membrane where each side is continuously changing the other and being changed.
In Ruth Ozeki’s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel A Tale for the Time Being, described by the L.A. Times as “an exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once”, a writer (also named Ruth) finds a Japanese teen’s diary that washes up on Vancouver Island in a Hello Kitty lunchbox after the 2011 tsunami. 14th century Zen master Dogen appears throughout their interlocking narratives, bringing a Buddhist perspective to the journey through time all the characters are ensnared in.
Gish Jen’s Tiger Writing takes on the “narrative difference” between East and West and traces it to a basal difference in the perception of self. Jen considers her father’s autobiography, in which it takes him many pages to even appear as a character, and contrasts it with the novel, which she describes as an inherently Western mode of narrative, in that it privileges the individual’s experience. About Tiger Writing, Junot Diaz said “Gish Jen…delivers a profound meditation on the divergent roles that storytelling, artmaking, and selfhood take on across the East-West divide. Penetrating, inspired, and, yes, indispensable.”
Join these two renowned authors at the AAWW for a reading and conversation on the interdependent self and the interpenetration between the maker and the made.
For more information and to RSVP for the free event, visit our website.