Wednesday, October 14, 2020

|Podcast| Gaijin - Sarah Z. Sleeper


Photo Content from Sarah Z. Sleeper

Sarah Z. Sleeper is an ex-journalist with an MFA in creative writing. Gaijin is her first novel. Her short story, “A Few Innocuous Lines,” won an award from Writer’s Digest. Her non-fiction essay, “On Getting Vivian,” was published in The Shanghai Literary Review. Her poetry was published in A Year in Ink, San Diego Poetry Annual and Painters & Poets, and exhibited at the Bellarmine Museum. In the recent past she was an editor at New Rivers Press, and editor-in-chief of the literary journal Mason’s Road. She completed her MFA at Fairfield University in 2012. Prior to that she had a twenty-five-year career as a business writer and technology reporter and won three journalism awards and a fellowship at the National Press Foundation.


JEANBOOKNERD PODCAST 2020: SEASON 2 EPISODE 29
GUEST: SARAH Z. SLEEPER 
JOURNALIST: ANGIE AMEZCUA
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TEN QUOTES FROM GAIJIN
  • 1. “Love, tea and flowers. Impermanent, transcendent.”
  • 2. “A person or a memory can sit inside you and you might have no choice about it.”
  • 3. “He etched himself into the side of my neck and he took root in the pit of my stomach.”
  • 4. “And as I ventured further, in my quest to discover Owen’s fate, I realized I might not be able to find him before Japan chased me out, like the gaijin I was, a foreigner, unwelcomed by my adopted country.”
  • 5. “Divorce Rock. Suicide Forest. None of this had been in any history book I’d read.”
  • 6. “Rose texted me. ‘Perverts on trains? LOL! Amused at the drama of my reaction to Owen, she strained not to let out a guffaw.”
  • 7. “His vanishing could be undone, he could come back, or I could go there, not like my father who was nowhere or somewhere I couldn’t access.”
  • 8. “Shadows and fuzzy shapes shifted in and out of focus and from this vantage point, outside looking in, I swear I heard the trees hiss dire warnings.”
  • 9. “As I reached toward the door handle, Midori Ishikori appeared in front of me. Her image was plastered on the side of the Okinawa Week building, the words “F--- Off Americans!’ scrawled across the bottom.”
  • 10. “I pondered the question for a moment, inhaled a noseful of tangy white wine and said, “To be honest, there’s nowhere I’ve been in a month that doesn’t seem like another planet.”

The Japanese word gaijin means "unwelcome foreigner." It's not profanity, but is sometimes a slur directed at non-Japanese people in Japan. My novel is called Gaijin...

Lucy is a budding journalist at Northwestern University and she's obsessed with an exotic new student, Owen Ota, who becomes her lover and her sensei. When he disappears without explanation, she's devastated and sets out to find him. On her three-month quest across Japan she finds only snippets of the elegant culture Owen had described. Instead she faces anti-U.S. protests, menacing street thugs and sexist treatment, and she winds up at the base of Mt. Fuji, in the terrifying Suicide Forest. Will she ever find Owen? Will she be driven back to the U.S.? Gaijin is a coming-of-age story about a woman who solves a heartbreaking mystery that alters the trajectory of her life.


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1 comment:

  1. Hi Angie! This was such a fun conversation! Thank you so much. :-)

    ReplyDelete