Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Tidal debris deposits a baggie containing a heck of a story, right at the feet of a beach-combing stymied writer.

The bag's contents include artifacts and journals: an early-2000's Japanese schoolgirl's troubles, her 104-year-old great-grandmother's zen teachings, her depressed father's woe, and a dramatic WWII kamikazi story told two ways. Those many, many stories are layered and twisted into the threads of the novelist's life and longing in a small Canadian outlier island as she explores her find.

Many times while I was listening to this book, I suspected I'm not deep enough to really get all that was going on in subtext and philosophy. But none-the-less, I enjoyed the story immensely.

This audiobook is read by the author - and there's an interesting note at the end. Ozeki explains that the book includes graphs, footnotes and other marginalia that doesn't translate well to the audio format, so you may wish to find a copy of the book to see what you missed. Additionally, though, she explains that audio listeners get a richer, deeper portrayal of the book's characters as she gets to add inflection, tone, and characterization through her dramatic reading. Much like the book itself, many different interpretations of the same text. Up is down - down is up.

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