Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is Ru Freeman reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Ru Freeman, author of the newly released debut novel, A Disobedient Girl.

Her entry begins:
I usually read several books at the same time as most writers do, but rarely are they as different from each other as the three I am reading now.

The first one is Preeta Samarasan's Evening Is the Whole Day, a novel set in Malaysia which has received a great deal of critical acclaim particularly in the sphere of international awards for fiction. I bought the book because Preeta is a friend, and friends don't let friends' work languish on shelves. I looked forward to reading it because of what I knew about her, but I love this book for what she has done with her material as a writer. One of the things that is most difficult for a writer composing in English to accomplish, is the business of communicating the cultural inflections and specificities of a foreign language without letting that task - which, in the end, is usually secondary to the fiction - overwhelm the story. I have never read a book by a writer from South/SouthEast Asia in which this has been done with the degree of success that Preeta achieves in her novel. Not only am I immersed deeply and variously in the interior and exterior realities of her characters, I am equally seamlessly engaged in looking at the world through their very specific linguistic expression of their lives. There are moments in the book where Preeta's lyricism interferes with this otherwise beautifully rendered novel, where I find myself dwelling on the beauty of a line of prose and remembering its author, but it is forgivable in a writer whose command...[read on]
Ru Freeman has worked in the field of American and international humanitarian assistance and workers’ rights. Her political writing has appeared in English and in translation. Her creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, Story Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, WriteCorner Press, Kaduwa and elsewhere and has been nominated for the Best New American Voices anthologies in 2006 and 2008.

Read an excerpt from A Disobedient Girl, and learn more about the book and author at Ru Freeman's website and blog.

Among the praise for A Disobedient Girl:
“Evocative and moving. Ru Freeman is a marvelous storyteller who sees deeply into the complex layers of compassion and love, of sorrow and betrayal. An amazing first novel.”
—Ursula Hegi, author of Stones From The River and The Worst Thing I Have Done

A Disobedient Girl is a vivid and captivating story of three lives at once joined and separated by class. An excellent debut.”
—Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son and Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Writers Read: Ru Freeman.

--Marshal Zeringue