I’m joining Jain at Food for Thought, where, pages from your book magically mix with the kitchen and your camera. Books, Food & Photos, my three favorite things all in one place!
All Over Creation ****.* by Ruth Ozeki
Audie Award Winner, Fiction (unabridged), 2004
“The story keeps exploding outward like a clump of cells becoming a complex plant but is never out of control; it never even strains credulity. Anna Fields’s reading is as accomplished as the storytelling; as audio experiences go, this is just about perfect.” (AudioFile)
This book is a fun read*, but I recommend you listen to it, for maximum enjoyment! (My rating is most definitely influenced by the audio performance.)
*Some may find the language in this book offensive at times.
My kind of book!… highly entertaining, clever, with lots of quirky characters. Central to the story is Yumi, daughter to Lloyd and Momoko Fuller, potato farmers. Yumi, who always felt like “a random fruit in a field of genetically identical potatoes”, runs away from home after a disastrous affair with her history teacher, at age 15. Considered a “bad seed”, Yumi tends to make poor decisions when it comes to men. Now living in Hawaii, she has three children, all with different fathers and is a tad too dependent on alcohol.
Lloyd, along with Momoko, his Japanese wife, once ran the largest potato farm in Power County, Idaho. Lloyd, in failing health, and Momoko, suffering from dementia, are still estranged from Yumi twenty-five years later. Cass Quinn, Yumi’s former childhood friend, and also the Fullers’ neighbor, intervenes on their behalf and convinces Yumi to return to Idaho.
Momoko has sustained a thriving seed business on her own during periods of Lloyd’s convalescence:
“She tended her plants, allowing them to ripen, to flower and die–only then did she down to business: shaking the seeds from their brittle pockets or teasing them wet from their flesh, drying them and sorting them, measuring and labeling them, and slipping them into envelopes for dissemination by the U.S. Postal Service to destinations around the world. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night . . . She was more reliable than the birds and the bees and with a far greater reach.”
“It was a well-known fact that squashes are among the most promiscuous of garden vegetables, and Momoko, confessed she was having a hell of a time keeping her Shanghai squash from cross-pollinating with her Mammoth Kings, and her Sweetbush from her Whangporoas. She had resorted to a fastidious regimen of hand pollination, which Lloyd learned about for the first time when he followed her into the garden at dusk to identify the flowers that would open the next morning.”
With trepidation Yumi returns, her children in tow. She introduces them…Phoenix -14, with his thin stick-brown legs, bushy black hair, sticking up in bristles; Ocean -6 1/2, a fair-haired girl with sea-blue eyes; and baby- Poo, liquid black eyes and skin the color of chocolate milk, to Lloyd:
Lloyd, (as he studies their hair, their complexions, comparing): “What kind of children have names like that?”
Ocean: “We’re Good children. That’s what kind.”