For the rest of the year, we're counting down our top ten favorite books of 2013, one a day, as voted on by the Darien librarians! Coming in at number 9: A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki.
Ann posted about how much she loved it in You Are What You Read before she even finished it, saying: “I am not finished this book yet but it is wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. The novel alternates chapters told by sixteen year old Nao who lives in Japan and Ruth a middle aged woman who lives with her husband on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth has discovered Nao's diary which was carefully packaged and protected when it washes up on the beach. She doesn't realize the content of the bag until it is opened. From the opening line of the diary, to the other contents of the container, Ruth as well as the reader is mesmerized. Nao is a very unhappy person and Ruth is drawn to her and wants to find out if she survived the 2011 tsunami. As a reader you learn much about Nao's life, her torturous school days, her love of her father and her wonderful great grandmother who is a Buddist nun. With Ruth you learn about a woman who has made sacrifices and compromises in her life and is questioning her decisions. It's a wonderful read and I will be sad when I finish their story."
And when John read it, he submitted the following review: "I have been thoroughly engrossed in a fascinating book, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This parallel story begins when one of the central characters, Ruth, discovers among debris from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, washed up on the distant shores of British Columbia, a neatly wrapped plastic parcel containing a diary written by a thirteen-year-old Japanese girl who seems to be chronicling the days leading up to her suicide. The novel cuts back and forth between the diary entries and the story of Ruth's determination to find out more about the Japanese girl, Nao. Nao, it turns out, was a Japanese American who lived in California all of her life until the dot-com bust when she and her family had to return to Japan. Upon her return, Nao is teased mercilessly by her classmates while her mother and father fall deeper into despair. Amid this crisis, she connects with her anarchist, Buddhist nun grandmother while planning her own demise. This is an extraordinary novel from two very distinct voices. Nao's narrative is so crisp, clear and unapologetic. I live for writing that brings characters like her to life and because I'm only halfway through the novel, I worry for her and her fate. This is a must-read.”
(Did you miss Number 10 yesterday? Read about The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes here!)