Thoughts on “A Tale For The Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki

The journal of a young Japanese girl named Nao ends up on the beach of a small island on the coast of Canada. The person who finds the diary is a woman named Ruth, who is experiencing a tough case of writer’s block with her latest book. In the journal, Nao talks about moving back to Japan after spending a big part of her childhood in California, and about her 104 year old great-grandmother Jiko.

This book makes me feel downright lonely. I usually love relatable characters, but it’s awful when the characters you find yourself feeling all these feelings for are depressed, suicidal, and lonely.

And I already knew, after reading the first couple of pages, that this was not going to be a happy sort of book. But then again, it’s good precisely because of that – I wouldn’t have been so sad if I didn’t love the characters. But I do love the characters, they have major flaws and depressed minds but they always mean well and are so desperate to be heard. It makes you want to jump in and hug them and cry a little, especially Nao, her dad, and Haruki #1, and tell them how amazing they are and how you worry about them.

And another aspect of this book is that it is deeply gentle. The characters are so kind and honorable and so helpless against other people’s cruelty that it breaks your heart. You are also reminded of the importance of family and of values and trying to do the right thing.

Zen philosophy and the concept of time beings were interesting to read about. In fact I’ve even tried sitting zazen like Haruki#1 and Nao frequently did – and blocking all the stress and cruelty out, thinking of nothing at all and just calmly breathing is soothing.

This book really clicked with me… Maybe it’s because I am also sad and lonely and slightly confused with life. This feeling is what I like to call a sort of Bukowski sadness, which just adds and multiplies when I read his poems.

I’ve left my introduction to the last part, and if you are still with me (if there is anyone out there reading, and I am not simply rambling to myself), then here is a quote from A Tale For The Time Being that I’d like to share with you:

“It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”

I am an avid reader, and I’d like to talk with you from time to time, if you don’t mind. I’m 18, and kind of confused about everything and not very sure with what I want to do with my life yet and while that sounds pretty pathetic, I don’t think I am. I like math and programming and things that make sense, and while people almost never make sense, I like them anyway. Most of the time, at least.

Take care, dear reader.

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts on “A Tale For The Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki

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