Author: Ruth Ozeki, 2013.
Genre: Contemporary. Magical Realism. Japanese Culture. Zen. Ecology. Metafiction.
Other Details: ebook. 433 pages.
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace — and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artefacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunch box —possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. - synopsis from author's website.
I first read this book about eighteen months ago (2014 Book 9) and loved it. I suggested that it be added to the County Reading Group Collection and eventually it was and now chosen as June's selection. I welcomed the opportunity to read again.
I will not repeat what I wrote in my earlier review apart from saying that it held up well to a second encounter and revealed even more layers to the narrative.
It was very well received by members of the reading group and led to in-depth discussion on its themes including quantum physics and Zen Buddhism. A couple did not quite know how to approach those aspects linked to magical realism though this was mainly due to their not having encountered this genre before.