Saturday, 22 July 2017

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Nao is at the beginning of her life and she has lost hope, is aimless.  Ruth has passed most of her life and she is adrift.  Both are writers, Nao at her first story and Ruth at possibly her final.

When Ruth first realizes she has found a diary, she is curious about it's writer.  As she continues to read, she gets pulled into the writer, Nao's life.  Soon the time line becomes blurred and Ruth begins doubting herself and her memory.

This is a story full of choices and their consequences.  (ripple effect).  Time is a also a frequent topic for both Nao and Ruth.  The first has chosen to limit her remaining time while the later ponders how much she has remaining.  Nao's great-grandmother has had the most time of them all, 104 years, which she had learned to use to the benefit of mankind.  She was my favourite character in the book . She seemed so wise and knew the best approach to use with Nao.

At various times while I was listening to this audio book, I experienced widely ranging emotions. I felt compassion for Nao and her trials at school.  I was annoyed with Ruth for her dithering over her writing.  Often I was confused, wondering how the author could possibly tie together the two women's very different stories.

This would be a good book club selection as there are a number of areas I am unclear about that could benefit from discussion.

One of the things that intrigues me about this book, is that the author, Ruth Ozeki,  is a character in the story.  That adds more to my pondering of the time and place of this tale.

I listened to the unabridged audio book as read by the author.  She did a wonderful job voicing the characters, particularly old Jiko, the great-grandmother.  Blackstone Audio 14 hours 43 minutes.

The author's end notes in the audio version indicate that the printed version contains additional supplementary materials.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada


1 comment:

Mystica said...

The author being part of the story must add interest.