Diary of a writing, reading, animal loving, travelling Penguin and his mate who love collecting Penguin books, taking photographs and talking to people about Tasmania, Australia
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Ruth Ozeki- A Tale for the Time Being
There are two stories as Oliver and Ruth in Canada find the articles and Nao who is a 17 year old student in Japan wrote it.
Chapters alternate between the lives of Nao and her family as well as Ruth and Oliver.
I must say I enjoyed the parts of the book that were about Nao. I really enjoyed her as a character because she was a complex girl dealing with many difficult issues in her life. I felt like I was there with her as she tried to sort everything out.
She also had a 104 year old grandmother who was a Buddhist nun and the parts of the book that dealt with her and her relationship with Nao were interesting.
Nao's relationship to her father was a book in itself.
When it came to the Canadian side though I had less satisfaction. I felt the author was being a bit too clever for my liking and I found Ruth and Oliver frustrating especially in the beginning. I did think they developed more as the story progressed.
I thought a lot could have been tightened up in the editing with the length being a problem. (422 pages). I also thought some information could have been cut with them as well as some information pumped up a little bit. When people describe a book as being "uneven" I can now understand what they mean.
I think this is a book that will divide people and I think many people will really get into it. However I will certainly remember these characters and the geographic locales were described brilliantly. I did feel as though I was visiting both parts of Japan and western Canada and all the light and darkness they contained. I really enjoyed that.
I would definitely recommend this book but I am looking forward to our book club meeting the first week of March when we get a chance to discuss it. There are many things to think about and my head is still trying to come to terms with everything in it. There are many threads to this story and it will depend upon the reader whether they are wrapped up at the end or not.
I would love to know what other people who have read this book think about it. I really had days I would read it and be kept in suspense and then something clever would be introduced and I'd want to throw it across the room but one thing was for sure......I could not put it away and HAD to finish it.
Let me know if you've read it.
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The book is on my shelf. Your review has made me curious, but I'm still not dying to pick it up. I've listened to two of her previous novels and think the audio production added to my enjoyment. We'll see about this one....ReplyDelete
Audio books can do that if the reader is good. I imagine you'll know after 100 pages if this is the book for you or not. Thanks for the comment.ReplyDelete
I have this book in queue on my nook; somehow I haven't gotten to it. Perhaps because of the conflicting reviews? I've read few that the reader was enthralled with the novel. Eventually I'll get to it, I'm sure, as I have a passion for Japanese literature. Still, I'm not in any great hurry.ReplyDelete
I can see why people just adore it. I can also see why they don't. It's an interesting book in that respect. I could read it again and probably love it more.Certainly an interesting book. Maybe it's b/c it is so long. The more pages you attach the more feelings it invokes. HahaDelete
I haven't read anything by Ozeki yet. But I applaud your saying exactly what worked for you and what didn't and why. I wish more bloggers would feel free to critique a bit. I think the blogging world would be better for it.
Thanks Judith. I can only report my thoughts. I'm not great at straight book reviews and I don't want to tell the whole story b/c it puts me off. There is usually something you like in a book to balance out things you don't like .Delete
I have her My year of meats - at least I think that's hers isn't it? - on my TBR pile. It had good reviews at the time I think and I'm keen to read it. I'm intrigued by anything with a Japanese element, having visited there three times and thinking of going again.ReplyDelete
Another friend of mine mentioned the "Meats" book. So it must be by her. I don't know her work at all except this book but saw several in the bookshop the other day. I've been all over the world but not yet to Japan. It's starting to fascinate me a bit but I know there are many, many people! A bit intimidating. Though once you visit a place you lose that a bit.Delete
I was intimidated about Japan for a long time. Luckily the first time we went we were met by our son and spent ten days with him before branching out on are own. We found it very easy and haven't looked back. the second time we went we met him again for the first ten days - before heading off on our own. The third time he wasn't there and we did the whole on our won. It is very English friendly in the big cities. Small places are not always so good with English but we had some wonderful experiences in those places, though it was a challenge at times.Delete