A Tale For The Time Being

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki -432 pages
ARC from Viking Penquin
Book Blurb:
“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and everyone of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

My Review: 4 stars
This book is a wonderfully executed novel with dual storylines that are equally absorbing. This book is definitely a reader’s read. It’s not a pedestrian novel and it’s a book that takes awhile to read because there is so much thinking involved. I usually read 1-2 books a week, yet this book took me a full 2 weeks to get through. I still, another week later, am thinking about the characters, the words used to get the messages across and about meeting the author one day. This book tackles suicide, bullying, quantum physics, religion, philosophy, mysteries, magical realism, crazy and reclusiveness. I contacted the author to ask if there was any truth to the story as she uses her, her husband’s and her cat’s actual names in the book. Additionally, the author has very much in common with the main character Ruth. Her answers were just as puzzling as the book at times, giving me no clear answers.
If you’re looking for a heavy, deeply engaging and thought provoking book, this is the one for you!
Quotes I liked:
- “The important thing was that we were being polite and not saying all the things that were making us unhappy, which was the only way we knew how to love each other.”

- “Time interacts with attention in funny ways. At one extreme, when Ruth was gripped by the compulsive mania hyperfocus of an Internet search, the hours seemed to aggregate and swell like a wave, swallowing huge chunks of her day. At the other extreme, when her attention was disengaged and fractured, she experienced time at its most granular, wherein moments hung around like particles, diffused and suspended in standing water.”

-”But in the time it takes to nay now, now is already over. It’s already then. Then is the opposite of now. So saying now obliterates its meaning, turning it into exactly what it isn’t. It’s like the word is committing suicide or something.”

- “My whole life is a nap, I need to wake up.”

- “Sometimes when she told stories about the past her eyes would get teary from all the memories she had, but they weren’t tears. She wasn’t crying. They were just the memories leaking out.”

- “The reader confronting the blank page. It’s like writer’s block, only in reverse.” “...You mean, as her reader, I’m blocked, and so her words disappear? I don’t like that. Besides, it doesn’t make any sense.”

- “It’s true, she’s already dead, but her stories are still alive in my head at least for now, so I have to hurry up and write them down before I forget. I have a pretty good memory, but memories are time beings, too, like cherry blossoms or ginkgo leaves; for a while they are beautiful, and then they fade and die.”
Tags: 2013, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Japan,

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