A Tale for the Time Being

Nao lives in Tokyo. She is sixteen, and has decided to write a diary before she kills herself. She has plenty of material — school bullies, depressed parents — but she particularly wants to chronicle the life of her great-grandmother, Jiko, a Buddhist nun. And eventually, Nao thinks, her diary will find its reader.

Ruth lives with her husband on the Pacific coast of Canada. A few months after the 2010 tsunami she finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore. It contains a diary…

This is the simple story of a girl, her great-grandmother and the novelist who becomes enthralled with their tale. But this simple story draws from the deep currents of our times, from quantum physics, Japanese ghost tales, suicide trends, first-person accounts of kamikaze fighters during World War II, thirteenth-century Buddhist texts and recent pop culture.

It is a meditation on impermanence, and the intimate relationship between past and present, fact and fiction, and time and text.

ISBN: 9781925498950 | Published: 30 October 2017 (first published 2013) | Paperback | 432 pages

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