Ruth Ozeki’s ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ was full of coincidences. I am not sure if coincidence is the word. It has a cat called Pesto, the protagonist lives in Whaletown and there are plenty of references to whales, there are wolves, there are secret diaries, a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and the author herself is a Zen Buddhist priest, zazen, and a young girl Nao.

The book reminds me of Dhobi Ghat where an artist moves into a new apartment and finds video tapes through which he enters the mind and the life of a young Muslim wife. He laughs and cries and despairs with her and for her.

In ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ a Hello Kitty lunch box is washed up on the shores of a Canadian island soon after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan where it is discovered by a novelist, Ruth. There is a diary bound within Marcel Proust’s ‘À la recherche du temps perdu’, letters in Japanese and a book with French notes. In these pages, Ruth meets Nao who takes her through the past, present and future.

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