All Over Creation
by Ruth Ozeki
|Paperback: ||432 pages|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books (Mar 30, 2004)|
A warm and witty saga about agribusiness, environmental activism, and community—from the celebrated author of My Year of Meats and A Tale for the Time Being. . Yumi Fuller hasn’t set foot in her hometown of Liberty Falls, Idaho—heart of the potato-farming industry—since she ran away at age fifteen. Twenty-five years later, the prodigal daughter returns to confront her dying parents, her best friend, and her conflicted past, and finds herself caught up in an altogether new drama. The post-millennial farming community has been invaded by Agribusiness forces at war with a posse of activists, the Seeds of Resistance, who travel the country in a camping car, “The Spudnick,” biofueled by pilfered McDonald’s french-fry oil. Following her widely hailed, award-winning debut novel, My Year of Meats, Ruth Ozeki returns here to deliver a quirky cast of characters and a wickedly humorous appreciation of the foibles of corporate life, globalization, political resistance, youth culture, and aging baby boomers. All Over Creation tells a celebratory tale of the beauty of seeds, roots, and growth—and the capacity for renewal that resides within us all..
The three clans at once enabling and torturing each other in Ruth Ozeki's All Over Creation--the central Fuller family, the neighboring Quinns, and the rag-tag activist found-family known as the "Seeds"--lift a basic morality play about forgiveness to a higher level. But what really gives All Over Creation its steam and sends it off in unexpected directions is the supporting story of modern mankind's crucial but tenuous connection to nature, set in this case on a potato farm in sleepy Idaho. Lloyd Fuller and his war-bride wife Momoko struggle to make their massive farm thrive. Teenage daughter Yumi, on the other hand, has no trouble blooming. She's a wild child, but a series of bad decisions lead to a protracted estrangement from her puritanical father. When, years later, the adult Yumi reluctantly returns to the farm with her three children to care for her ailing parents, she must confront the wreckage she left behind (and the wreckage she's made of her own life), while forging an uneasy peace with childhood friend Cass Quinn. Before long, the Fullers and the Quinns must also confront the radical environmentalist Seeds, who are convinced that dying Lloyd and delusional Momoko hold the key to propagating plant life on earth--and sidetracking the schemes of evil corporations--through smart farming. And they may be right. The abundant children on hand reinforce this theme of proper husbandry; they are, like nature, both a tremendous gift and a daunting responsibility. And while not every character--Yumi in particular--is likable, Ozeki, whose first novel was the funny and polemical My Year of Meats, provokes empathy through plain old humanity. Indeed, her ability to make us care deeply about the fate of these strangers is the book's most abiding grace. The story's conclusion takes some convenient outs, but the ride to the end is touching and terrific, thanks to the author's spare but elegant prose and, especially, her kaleidoscopic cast. --Kim Hughes, Amazon.ca ....
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