Today’s post is from our patron Deepika, who submitted it online to PlanoReads:
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The difference between good fiction and great fiction, is that the story doesn’t end with the last page of the book. The characters of the story stay with you, their dilemma gnaws at your mind. It’s not the story printed out in black and white that fascinates you, but the grey areas within the story, which pick on your grey cells, that leave you enthralled. Ruth Ozeki is a great fiction writer.
The story is set in two different parts of the world, in two different times. In one setting, we see Ruth dealing with her life on an isolated island in Canada. In the other, we see a Nao, a teenager uprooted from her life in Sunnyvale, trying to blend in in her native country, Japan. Considered as an outsider, Nao is constantly harassed by her peers in school. Her life in Japan is a struggle, one that is not made any easier by repeated attempts by her father to commit suicide.
In the midst of all this tragedy, Nao is introduced to Jiko, her great-grandmother, who is a Buddhist nun. Old Jiko is an enigma, a character who truly comes alive and makes your burden lighter with her mere presence. When Nao can no longer take the torment at school, she decides to commit suicide, and keep all her memories in a journal for someone to find. With the 2011 tsunami in Japan, this journal is swept through the Pacific Ocean and into Canada, where it is discovered by Ruth. And this is how the two worlds collide.The west meets the east, the future meets the past. What ensues is a beautifully woven and heart-warming tale of two time beings. “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”.
How often do you come across a book that takes you on a journey into another person’s life, at the same time giving a peek into the beauty of zen and connecting zen with concepts of quantum physics? This book is a must-read for any time being who wishes to enjoy good fiction along with being intellectually stimulated.
On a scale of 1-5, this book received 5 stars from Deepika.