A TALE OF TIME BEING – Ruth Ozeki | Book Review by Akshay Kumar

“Ikiru shika nai!” he said, half to himself, and then he looked up and repeated it, urgently, in English this time, as if to make absolutely sure I understood. “We must live, Naoko! We have no choice. We must soldier on!” ….The words brands the heart and stays forever like a souvenir. The whole novella is centered around this exchange between Nao and her father if looked precisely but sadly the inundating critics and journals praising author Ruth Ozeki’s work over the hardbound and paperbacks, there was hardly room for this veiled discourse.. ‘We must soldier on’.

a tale of time being

That’s the thing about books, they leave little souvenirs to remember them by. A Tale Of Time Being is a book talking to the reader, a phantasm that will grip you to your time and takes you into this little girl’s world through a talking diary. The author is herself as a protagonist of the novel who happens by chance to find this little girl’s diary who journeys back Ruth and reader as well into Nao’s world. Nao is syllogism for Now, the moment. Each day is a new life and each moment has six billion opportunities to wake up says her 105 year old anarchist Zen Buddhist grandmother Junko.

The genre of the book is pure fiction. The setting occupies in remote island of British Columbia where the author and biographer Ruth Ozeki lives a secluded life with her husband. She unveils the world of Nao and her depressingly menacing life of existence where she is bullied by her sadistic schoolmates and tramped. Her online knicker auction and near-rape culminates the plea for her as if she was one of our own, and make us see and feel through her eyes. Her mother’s unsteady lifestyle and ebb and flow of earning day wages while her father’s frequent suicide attempts mingled with Nao’s life and makes A Tale Of Time Being a barnburner of Man Booker Prize 2013.

The determination to live and seek identity is fared and taught by Nao’s old Junko where she goes for a peaceful stayover on the remote mountains. There the little girl unveils the scarlet letters of her kamikaze war pilot uncle and his abstinence to kill, who was spiraling into a Catch-22.  Junko is her savior. She tells Nao that what she[Nao] needs is a superpower and this is what she gives her through Zen magic. More stories unroll the scroll and the kamikaze son is visited to Nao in her dreams. He haunts her and Nao finds his secret through his mother and her very own Junko.

Astounding. Riveting. Emotional and Emphatical- A Tale Of Time Being will give reason to live and soldier on. It will punch the reader right through and wake them up. Ruth Ozeki’s work has shown tremendous passion to live.

Ambition to persevere and get rewarded in the end. Each day is a new life and with its end a new death. The book encircles Time of Nao and the author who herself expedites Nao’s world that came washed ashore in barnacles inside a plastic bag after a tsunami. The hello kitty box with scarlet letters and the diary itself are unfolding of narration. It is a magnificent journey through time that the reader will surely miss in the end and crave for more.

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