But in the time it takes to say now, now is already over. It’s already then.
Then is the opposite of now. So saying now obliterates its meaning, turning it into exactly what it isn’t.”
~ Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
This book is so good. Down-right engrossing, thought-provoking, meditative good. It is rare that a book hits such a perfect pitch, balanced throughout with two voices that paint a ceaselessly complex, vibrant and intriguing picture.
Ozeki perfectly intertwines the tales of Nao, a teenage Japanese girl, and the story of Ruth, a Japanese-American writer living on an island off British Columbia. Heavy in subject matter without being drudging, sensationalistic, or righteous, Ozeki presents a tale that is not only a great read, but inspires deep introspection.
The matriarch of this story is Old Jiko, a Buddhist nun who is also Nao’s great-grandmother. Through a series of quasi-mystical events, Ozeki opens both these women’s lives to the mystery and possibility of life (and death) – as she so memorably says through Jiko, to discover their SUPAPAWA!
Ozeki is obviously drawing on her own wealth of knowledge as she weaves very personal reflections on literature, quantum physics, Great Western Minds of Philosophy and Buddhist thought into her characters.
As Jiko would say, read and not read. Not same, not different either. Yet in this case, definitely read.
Dispatch this week to Ms. Willie, with a bonus to my Mom – it’s Mother’s Day, y’all!