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Diaries

A conversation across the Pacific in Ruth Ozeki’s A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING

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I’m not going to be coy here: I loved Ruth Ozeki’s newest book, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking, 2013). Ozeki writes herself into a complex and rich novel by imagining many what ifs: What if I found a 16-year-old girl’s diary washed up on the beach in British Columbia? What if Nao wrote the diary in Japan, her parent’s country, only she is horrifically bullied because she doesn’t fit in after growing up in Silicon Valley? What if her diary seemed to be her last words as both she and her father contemplate committing suicide? What if “Ruth” couldn’t find any trace of her on the Internet or corroborate her actual existence, but felt compelled to try to…

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