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The Waste/d Spaces of Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being

Adams, BF The Waste/d Spaces of Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being. Ex-Centric Narratives: Journal of Anglophone Literature, Culture and Media. ISSN 2585-3538 (Accepted)

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Abstract

"How do you deal with a reality that is so overwhelming and so devastating with the tool of fiction?" asked Ruth Ozeki of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan on and after March 11, 2011. A Tale for the Time Being offers a response to this question by dramatizing how the spatialized figure of the container that informs dominant views of the disaster, the human subject and the literary object has been undermined. Paradoxically perhaps, Ozeki’s tale deploys a container in the form of a plastic lunchbox to testify to the impossibility of containment. This particular piece of disaster debris has made its way across the ocean to the Pacific Northwest, to the obvious dismay of many of her Canadian characters when it washes up on their local beach. On seeing the disaster debris from Japan near her own Canadian island home, Ozeki says it represents "such a visual and material enactment—evidence that the planet is really small, and we are all radically interconnected" by human, plastic and nuclear waste that is a whole lot livelier than the containers for which it was intended. A Tale for the Time Being exposes this liveliness, or, in new materialist terms, "vital materiality" for the purposes of critique and care.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: waste, disaster, Fukushima, March 11, 2011, new materialism, ecofeminism
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: The Hellenic Association for American Studies HELAAS
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2019 08:45
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2019 08:45
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11610

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