My Year of Meats

‘Meat is the Message. Each weekly half-hour episode of My American Wife! must culminate in the celebration of a featured meat, climaxing in its glorious consumption. It’s the meat (not the Mrs.) who’s the star of our show!…’

I sat back and read it with some satisfaction. It was a pitch for Kato’s new program, a more or less faithful translation of the Japanese text that he had dictated to me over the phone.

A cross-cultural tale of two women brought together by the intersections of television and industrial agriculture, fertility and motherhood, life and love — the breakout hit by the celebrated author of A Tale for the Time Being.

Ruth Ozeki’s mesmerizing debut novel has captivated readers and reviewers worldwide. When documentarian Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job producing a Japanese television show that just happens to be sponsored by an American meat-exporting business, she uncovers some unsavory truths about love, fertility, and a dangerous hormone called DES.

Soon she will also cross paths with Akiko Ueno, a beleaguered Japanese housewife struggling to escape her overbearing husband.

Hailed by USA Today as “rare and provocative” and awarded the Kirayama Prize for Literature of the Pacific Rim, My Year of Meats is a modern-day take on Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle for fans of Michael Pollan, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver.

2018 Reprint Edition

2018 Reprint Edition


  • Imus/Barnes & Noble American Book Award, 1998

  • Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, 1998

  • World Cookbook Association Special Jury Prize, 1998

Ozeki masks a deeper purpose with a light tone....A comical-satirical-farcical-epical-tragical-romantical novel.
— Jane Smiley, Chicago Tribune Book Review
A tale both heartwarming and horrific....Character gems and exquisite plotting make this a treasure to read.
This is a very cool book, satirical but never mean, funny, peopled by fully inhabited characters who are both blind and self-aware. Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats reassures us that media and culture, though bound inextricably, will never become one.
— John Sayles, Director of Matewan, Men with Guns, and Sunshine; former member, Amalgamated Meat Packers and Butcher Workers of North America

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At local bookstores and online retailers as an audiobook, ebook, hardcover, and paperback, too.