Looking for a good read for the height of summer? The Argo Bookshop, in conjunction with the JET Alumni Association of Quebec and Atlantic Canada, will be hosting its summer Japan Book Club on August 16.
We'll be discussing A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. In this book, "Ruth Ozeki" finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the beach on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Tucked inside is a collection of curious items, including the diary of a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl named Nao Yasutani. Ruth suspects that it is debris from Japan’s devastating 2011 tsunami. Once Ruth starts to read the diary, she quickly finds herself drawn into the mystery of the young girl’s fate. In a manga café in Tokyo’s Electric Town, Nao has decided there’s only one escape from the loneliness and pain of her life, as she’s uprooted from her U.S. home, bullied at school, and watching her parents spiral deeper into disaster. But before she ends it all, she wants to accomplish one thing: to recount the story of her great-grandmother, a 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun, in the pages of her diary. The diary, Nao’s only solace, is her cry for help to a reader she can only imagine. Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and insight, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
Come for a lively discussion of a thought-provoking and immensely fulfilling piece of contemporary Japanese literature, and enjoy some snacks and refreshments! You can read the book in English, French, or Japanese. You're also welcome to come if you haven't read the book, but there will likely be spoilers.