Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki


This counts as the first line of the book. It sets tone, though is misleading. Is this the beginning of a coloring book with Mr. Tip? Next line:

My name is Nao, and I am a time being.

This works. Time being. Sounds interesting. I read on.

Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.

This sentence sounds like something someone on Sesame Street would say. The second assumes the readers are stupid and don't know. Very patronizing. Do you know what that means? Let me show you. Next paragraph.

A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and everyone of us who is, or was, or ever will be.

Ha-ha, good one. Roll eyes. Basically, she says time beings are people. What a letdown. Buddhist wit fail. It reminds me of Austin Powers:

Powers: "Hey, there you are."
Man: "Do I know you?"
Powers: "No, but there you are!"

What follows is a conversation the narrator is having to her/himself about you (me), the reader. Not sure for what effect the writer was going for, breaking the fourth wall like that. It really does read like a picture book. Perhaps that was the plan. Though it's not for little kids; that's obvious when the narrator starts wondering about the reader's sex life. It's all so confusing and complicated - it's hard to know what is intended.

Verdict: Fail.

Rudy Globird

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