Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BOOK: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (14 h 43 min)

Read by the author;  Booker Prize Shortlist 2013

I like when the author reads the book. They emphasize what they feel is important and Ozeki was able to read the Japanese phrases.

I also like parallel stories. Ruth is a writer living on an island off Vancouver; Nao is a sad teenage girl living in Japan; Haruki #1 is getting ready for a WW2 kamikaze attack. Ruth discovers Nao's diary on the shore, washed up from Pacific Ocean currents. The stories continue as Ruth reads Nao's diary and gets more involved in Nao's story as it progresses. Nao is planning to commit suicide but wants to record the story of her great-grandmother's life first.

 “A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”  There are some big ideas with time, relating, quantum mechanics, and some magical realism. This quote from a review on Librarything explains the big ideas:

The author asks the reader to question our perceptions of reality and whether we are actually creating our reality and affecting the reality of others. She went a little heavy on quantum physics towards the end, but the book really wakes you up about living in the now (Nao, pronounced "now" is the name of the main Japanese character), and takes a look at the good and evil in all of us.

Some books are both readable and have layers of ideas that present themselves if you dig deeper. Not surprising that A Tale for the Time Being was nominated for several book prizes. I enjoyed listening to it, was concerned for the characters and interested in what happened next. After reading other people's  reviews at LT, I have an even better appreciation of what Ozeki was trying to accomplish. This would probably make a good book club read.