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A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

imagesA Tale for the Time Being is a wonderful cross-cultural, cross –generational work with a pinch of time bending tossed in.  Written by Ruth Ozeki, the novel has two main characters—Ruth, a middle aged writer living on one of British Columbia’s outer islands, and Nao,a Japanese teenager. Nao’s own story is cross-cultural given her childhood in California and her return to Japan after her father loses a high-tech job with the crash. Ruth discovers Nao through her diaries and other materials that wash up on the shore near Ruth’s home several years after the 2011 tsunami. The book explores the relationship between Ruth and her partner, Oliver, as well as the relationship among Nao, her father, and Nao’s great grandmother, a 104 year old Zen Buddhist nun. Like Ruth, I too want Yasutani Jiko, the nun and feminist to come to life! [Perhaps another novel?].  A Tale for the Time Being illustrates Japanese history from World War II to the present through the three Japanese characters, and it’s a fascinating family story. There’s a wonderful sub-plot featuring Nao’sgreat-uncle, Haruki, a kamikaze pilot and philosopher. The novel also plays with the relationship between writer and reader, adding some intriguing twists. Ozeki is an accomplished filmmaker and novelist who divides her time between British Columbia and New York City. TCPL owns her other two novels. I’ll be adding them to my list!

Amy P.

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