A Tale for the Time Being
is an original and powerful story that blurs the lines of reality as it alternates between the diary of sixteen-year-old Nao, a Japanese girl who is heavily bullied and planning to commit suicide, and a struggling novelist, Ruth, living on a remote island in British Columbia who finds the diary when it washes ashore. At first the novel feels impossible, but these are exactly the dimensions that Ozeki toys with as the story dissolves further into metafiction. The reader cannot know where Ruth the character ends and Ozeki begins. Many storylines tangle together, but by the end they manage to tie up in an emotionally satisfying and thought-provoking way. Ozeki’s style is eloquent and inventive, a paradox that plays with reader, questioning the concepts of both time and reality, and resulting in a profound novel that only barely skims the surface.