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Merle

Merle

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

I don't want to discourage others from reading this, but 50-odd pages in, it was definitely not working for me. I am not a fan of books with alternating past/present timelines, where the present-day character uncovers the past character's story: this tends to result in two half-baked storylines, where the present-day one is almost always disposable. As it turns out, while the two threads here aren't separated by more than a decade or so, this is that kind of book. I didn't find Nao's voice quite convincing, and Ruth's story was a very self-conscious narrative of her reading experience with Nao's journal. I didn't need Ruth as a filter through which to read about Nao (or for that matter, Nao as a filter through which to read about Jiko), and felt that the most interesting elements of the story were getting lost behind all the meta discussion about the meaning of reading.