Ruth Ozeki's novel A Tale for the Time Being is an autofiction—a novel whose protagonist is a characterized version of its author and thereby straddles the line between memoir and fiction. In an American literary context, autofiction is a genre dominated by white male authors. This article argues that Ozeki's approach to autofiction is vastly different from that of most of her white, male counterparts in that the author‐character “Ruth” does not lay sole claim to authorial authority, but rather works collaboratively with other characters to share creative power and the responsibility that comes with it. This innovative tactic helps chart a potential course for autofiction by women writers and writers of color.
“We'll Make Magic”: Zen Writers and Autofictional Readers in A Tale for the Time Being
Marjorie Worthington is a professor of English and coordinator of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Eastern Illinois University whose work focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American fiction. Her book The Story of “Me”: Contemporary American Autofiction was published in 2018. She has also published in journals such as Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, PLL: Papers on Language and Literature, LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory, and Genders.
Marjorie Worthington; “We'll Make Magic”: Zen Writers and Autofictional Readers in A Tale for the Time Being. Genre 1 April 2021; 54 (1): 89–109. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-8911524
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