Otsuka’s third novel is a book of voices. A chorus, yes, but also a collective, beginning with a first-person-plural accounting of the swimmers at a community pool. It’s a vivid way to start a narrative, reminding us of not just our shared spaces but also our shared destinies. And yet, if the novel has anything to tell us, it’s that these destinies also belong to us alone. To explore these ramifications, Otsuka moves from plural to singular, from first to third person, and, ultimately, to direct address. The result is a novel that is deftly, subtly inclusive while also aware of the travails and obligations of living, which eventually come due for all of us.
AUTHOR JULIE OTSUKA IN CONVERSATION WITH JOHN FREEMAN
When: Friday, September 16, 2022, 5 p.m. Pacific time.
Format: Freeman will lead a free hour-long conversation with Otsuka, which will include a reading by her and questions from the audience. Produced by Alta Journal for streaming on Zoom. Joining them will be special guest Michael Cunningham is the author of many books, the best known of which is the novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1999, and was made into an Oscar-winning movie.