Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Tale for the Time Being

OK so it’s not an indie book, but I remembered another that I read this summer and neglected to write up immediately. A Tale for the Time Being is a gem.

The novel has many qualities of a dream. The story moves across time and oceans and there are moments when you’re not sure what’s real, and many where you’re not sure which voice is the author and which is the character who has many qualities of the author—as they’re both writers named Ruth who live in the Pacific Northwest. Which makes it sound like a bad literary novel when in actuality it’s a fabulous story with voices—especially that of the girl Nao—which are vivid and strong and utterly intriguing.

The world of the book explores much of Zen Buddhism, physics, and other areas of philosophical thought that you can delve into or ignore as little or much as you like. They don’t interrupt the flow of the story (except perhaps a little at the end, but that’s a quibble) and they give it a timeless quality that makes an interesting juxtaposition to the urgent day-to-day actions and anxieties of Ruth and Nao.

I won’t say any more except that Michael and I both loved this book as something refreshing and unique. And we both fell in love with Nao’s grandmother, the 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun named Jiko.

Go meet her.