Bryan Highly Recommends
More than anything, an author's job tends to be making the reader form a relationship with their characters--getting you to fear for their safety, rejoice when they succeed, and become their “friend” over the course of chapters. Ruth Ozeki
, in her masterpiece A Tale for the Time Being, paints a world where you fall into love and fear for her main character Nao Yasutani.
I have read a lot of books, but it was not until this one that I truly realized what it was to fear, with good cause, for the end of the book. Presented as a two-sided narrative, the story follows Ruth, a middle-aged author living on a long forgotten Canadian island as she reads the diary of Nao, a suicidal teenager living in japan.
Typically I find myself loving characters more if I can relate to them. A Tale for the Time Being is the exception. The pure unadulterated pain Nao experiences on a daily basis, and her absolutely heartbreaking life where suicide could be just around the corner for her and her father give the reader no choice but to form an attachment to the characters.
One chapter, everything seems like it might work itself out and you are able to put the book down for a moment. The next chapter, everything will fall apart again and you have to keep reading in fear that the author will take the main character away from you.
All this is without mentioning possibly one of the coolest, most badass characters ever put into words. Nao’s great- grandmother Jiko is a self-proclaimed feminist, poet, writer, mother, nun and revolutionary, whose wisdom spans far beyond her 104 years on this earth. Guiding Nao through her troubling times and providing a crutch to lean on when she has nowhere else to go, Jiko quickly becomes a staple of the book, and a character who will remain with you.
All things considered, A Tale for the Time Being is a must read for anyone who is a connoisseur of good writing, or even just a casual reader. The story itself is worth the small time investment of reading it, but once you throw in the excellent characters, it becomes a time investment unmatched in value by most other books.
Animas High School Intern