A very different narrative

I just completed reading “A tale for the time being” written by Ruth Ozeki. While the style of writing in first person as she experienced it all, is not very novel, the connection to the Tsunami and other recent events and the constant back and forth between the old and new, is very fascinating. I learnt some new words and this is probably the first book by a half-Japanese author I have read … Fascinating peep into a young girl’s life in Japan. I have always wondered about regular life in Japan and hope to visit the country sometime.

The backdrop of Jiko, the 104 year old great-grandmother turned nun provides the right canvas to play out the protagonist’s life. Some great insights that I underlined …

Nao wonders .. Does the half-life of information correlate with the decay of our attention ? It certainly seems to be, given the culture of 24 hour news…
Jiko stating “Information is a lot like water, it’s hard to hold onto or keep it from leaking away”. Just beautiful like a Zen Koan. One can meditate over this statement. Not just information, time is hard to hold onto and can’t be kept from leaking away !!

Then Montaigne’s statement “death itself is nothing. It’s the fear of death that makes death seem important”. So true. Our fears make mountains out of molehills and fearing death, we never live fully.

Jiko’s statement right at the end when she comes to Ruth in her dreams .. “Everything in the universe is constantly changing, and nothing stays the same, and we must understand how quickly time flows by if we are to wake up and truly live our lives. That’s what it means to be a time being …” Almost another Koan.

Ruth Ozeki has written a beautiful book. Worth reading.

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