Friday, June 28, 2019

Domenica Ruta

Domenica Ruta is a fiction writer and memoirist from Massachusetts. A scholarship kid at Phillips Academy Andover and Oberlin College, she has worked as a videographer and editor, a book store clerk, a waitress, a bartender, an English-as-a-Foreign-Language teacher, a nanny, a nursing home caregiver, a domestic violence hotline advocate and a house cleaner. She received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, Austin.

Her first book, the memoir With or Without You, was a New York Times Bestseller and named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the top three nonfiction books of the year 2013. The Boston Globe, Macleans, NPR, Slate, Elle, Bust, and USA Today all loved it.

Ruta's newly released first novel is Last Day.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Right now I'm reading In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. It's about this Tibetan Buddhist monk living in India, a man who essentially grew up as royalty. He's from a long lineage of esteemed teachers and monks and has led a very sheltered life full of meditation and study but not much dish washing or laundry or even walking alone. One night he leaves his monastery, telling no one, to spend a few years in poverty and anonymity begging for food on the streets. Of course the narrative is interspersed with bits of spiritual wisdom and practical techniques for dealing with the noisy chaos of regular life, but these two threads - the story and the lessons - are so beautifully woven that at no point does this book feel like a "how-to." My favorite part so far (I'm not finished) is Yongey's account of a more common childhood experience for Tibetan Buddhists: when a toy breaks or an older sibling elbows a kid in the side or some little thing like that happens, the typical parental response to the crying child is to say, "impermanence and death!" I've been trying that on my four-year-old at home and I don't think it's working but it cracks me up every time.
Visit Domenica Ruta's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Day.

--Marshal Zeringue