A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – book review


This has opened my eyes to numerous things; from ocean currents to Zen Buddhism to Quantum Mechanics, it has brought together random yet interesting (it doesn’t sound interesting, but it is. trust me.) stuff. Everything was thoroughly explained and well-thought-out.

This novel revolves around a writer, Ruth, and a sixteen-year-old Japanese American girl, Nao Yasutani, who are both on different sides of the world. Their lives are bound to each other by Nao’s diary. One day a lunchbox containing a nifty watch, a few letters, and Nao’s diary washes up on the shore–nearby the place Ruth and her husband, Oliver, resides in and she ends up keeping it.

Around the beginning of the story, I was impatient for Nao to narrate the life of her great-grandmother just like she said she would but instead, she goes on and on about her life. However, after a few pages, I was as intrigued as Ruth was to know more about Nao.

The characters were quirky but relatable and each had distinctive voices. Personally, I liked that everyone’s history–including minor characters–were briefly explained; it gave the story substance and life, and I was able to connect to the characters more. Also, the character development was really moving.

This is a book about time, although, it’s surprisingly fast-paced, it urges you to take your time. It describes a lot of the Japanese culture as well as a handful of beautiful French translations. I highly recommend to anyone looking for an odd yet thought-provoking read.


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