Friday 28 December 2018

Review of A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book for my bookclub, and had initially been dubious that it was a book for me. It is more literary than I would normally choose, and I don't have a particular interest in Japanese culture. But what unfolded was an emotional journey through sensitive topics like bullying and suicide.

The book flicks between two worlds: Nao's and Ruth's. Ruth finds Nao's diary washed up on the beach of the remote island she lives on in British Columbia, Canada and starts to read and translate it. Nao's diary talks about her life in Japan, since moving there from America with her Japanese born parents. Ruth believes the diary has been washed up in the 2011 tsunami and attempts to track down Nao and her family.

It's difficult to talk about this book without giving away the story. It is a slow intense read that reveals various elements of Japanese culture. It tells the story of a teenage girl, Nao, who was raised in America and has been thrust into Japanese life and the difficulties she experiences, as well as the difficulties her parents experience. It is also tells the story of her great grandmother, who is a Buddhist nun, and her great Uncle who was a Kamikaze pilot. And it tells the story of Ruth and her husband, and their life on a remote island.

The tales are interwoven, and no more is given than absolutely necessary. The reader is left to feel their own emotions about the things that are uncovered; the author doesn't provide the reader with a judgement either way, although we do see Ruth and her husband's reaction to some of it, if only to explain more fully what is being described in Nao's stories.

I loved the depth of this book, of the characters and stories and their lives. I also loved other topics which are touched on, like Buddhism and Quantum Physics, and the appendices in the back that give more detailed information on these topics.

View all my reviews

No comments :

Post a Comment