Originally published March 11th, 2014
Unexpectations: This book has footnotes. Written by the protagonist to clarify the writing the other protagonist is doing. So: you read a chapter written by Nao. It has footnotes at the bottom, written by Ruth-the-protagonist. Who hasn’t technically read the part you’re reading yet, since Nao is just writing it. And Ruth-the-author (Ozeki) is writing the footnotes that Ruth-the-protagonist is writing. Very zen. The more I try to clarify it, the more involved it seems to get.
One other thing that struck me:
In English the phrase “for the time being” refers to something to make due for an unspecified period of time, usually in the present. But the book (and Buddhism) use it as a way to describe the interconnectedness of all things, in a flexible manner that also makes “the time being” a title. Much more than just “a being in time;” almost an honorific. Although I expect a Buddhist would say that it is much more, and is not. After a while, I started reading the phrase both ways every time I saw it.
I can’t wait to read it again.