A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

a tale for the time beingThis far-reaching and philosophical novel, set in Tokyo and British Columbia, touches upon Buddhist teaching, Marcel Proust, quantum mechanics, World War II’s kamikaze pilots, and the recent tsunami in Japan.

Ruth, a middle-aged Canadian writer living with her husband in a remote island home, finds a freezer bag containing a lunchbox washed up on the shore. Inside is a pack of letters written in French, an antique wrist watch, and a diary written by a 16-year-old Japanese girl named Nao.

Nao has lived most of her life in California, but when her dad loses his job there the family moves back to Tokyo where Nao is bullied and isolated by her schoolmates. She seeks solace in writing a diary addressed to an unknown reader, and she plans to write the story of her beloved 104-year-old great grandmother, a Buddhist nun living in a mountain temple.

We are all time beings, and the novel explores the deepening relationships between these three women, each at a different stage of life.

Reviewed by Hopalong

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