A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – Book Review

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Ruth is a writer living on a small island in Canada who comes across a Hello Kitty Lunchbox washed up on the shore. Inside are a series of items including a diary written by a fabulous yet struggling Japanese schoolgirl. In reading the diary, Ruth becomes entwined in this story and this life, and deeply invested in things she cannot change.

I started this book really loving it; I could put up with the frustrating Ruth and her arty husband and the various ways they deal with the diary because I just loved schoolgirl Nao and her stories in Japan – the good and the bad (oh, and the pain I went through with her). At the end, however, I felt unsatisfied with the manner in which various storylines were resolved; I was prepared to accept and even embrace some elements of the magical realism of the book (if that is what it would be called in this case) especially the crow.  Their lives were too messy for that, and I loved the messiness of their lives, and didn’t feel the need to have them tied up neatly.

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