A Tale for the Time Being is a novel by Ruth Ozeki which was selected for my March book club. I will say that this was a book that I would never have selected for myself like most of the books I have read for by book club. I would have walked right past the book and gone onto a romance that I wanted.
So the idea of this book was that a sixteen year Japanese girl, Nao, who grew up in California had to move back to Japan at 15 years old because her father was laid off. Once they move back the family goes through a crisis but they all deal with it on their own. Mainly it is suicide that is happening. The father has tried and going to try again and Nao is telling us that by the end of her story she will take the plunge as well. We know what is going on through Nao diary that she is writing. The interesting part is that we know about the diary as it is washed up along the shore of Canada and this woman Ruth picks it up and starts to read.
First off this was a very good book and I am happy to have read it. Now saying all that there are things that disturbed me which were all that was happening to Nao. She was tortured by these bullies in her school and I mean every single person. I don’t know how she didn’t flee from school after a week of that torment. It is unbelievable how the whole school attacked her and even the substitute teacher. You wanted all those people to be punished but if the adults are in on it who do you turn too? Her mother was no real help and her father was too far gone to really do anything. I will say that the father did try to help at one point but even then it wasn’t enough.
Then there is the character of Ruth, our author, who reads the diary and feels that she needs to save Nao even though rationally we know that these things in the diary have happened but then there are the dreams. My favorite is when Ruth will meet and Nao’s father in her dream and change what he was going to do and Nao’s path. This will lead them to have a chance to live.
Another amazing part of the book was the character Jiko, the great grandmother, who was a feminist nun and a Buddhist whose words were inspiring. When she spent time with her great granddaughter it made all the difference. There were still those bullies for Nao but she was a little stronger to a point. There are so many other parts to the book that I haven’t even mentioned as it is a story that can keep you discussing parts to the book over and over as new things will keep popping up.
Now from how the ending happened you are still left in the dark of what happened to Nao and her family. There is a letter from Nao’s father that tells the read what has happened and they are all good things, so I figured that is what I am going to believe as I want this family to have a happy ending.
A Tale for the Time Being was worth reading.