Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (2013)

I am quite behind on my posting, partially due to an equipment failure now fixed.  My very short post on this wonderful book should not be construed negatively.  

A "Time Being" is something that exists in transient time.  It is an expression based on Buddist metaphysical theories.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki has two narrators.  One is a sixteen year old Japanese American girl whose had to move with her parents to Tokyo when her father lost his high paying Silicon Valley job.  She keeps a diary reflecting her difficulties in adjustment, her dealings with her now suicidal father, her own readings of the diary of an ancestor that died as a Kaminski pilot in World War Two, and her teachage angst amplified by transitioning from Silicon Valley to  Tokyo.  The other narrator is a Japanese American woman, a writer, living on an island off the coast of British Columbia.  She finds the girl's diary and assumes it was swept across the Pacific  in a tusami.

The plot  it takes us into a very wide range of issues, from Buddist theories on time to a brutal school attack, to teenage prostitution in Japan, to the nature of death and Japan during WWII.  This is a fascinating, challenging and complex work of sublime art.  

I have on hand Face, a reflective treatise by the author and hope to read it one day.  

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