Writers of Color Book Club discussion

A Tale for the Time Being
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Book Discussions > A Tale for the Time Being: Discussion Part 2

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Elli (The Bibliophile) (thebibliophilebooks) | 53 comments This is the discussion for part 2 of the novel!

As usual, please indicate if your post includes spoilers!


Adira (introvertinterrupted) | 391 comments Mod
What do you all think about the footnotes? I'm starting to think that maybe this is actually a book within a book (if that makes sense). The footnotes throughout this part are reminiscent of a historian (I.e., Ruth) making notes about the things she finds.

For instance, on page 155, the first footnote talks about how someone tried to decipher the kanji for differ names to locate them on the maps. This was weird because it seems like Ruth work is being worked into the story two times. Likewise, in an earlier chapter, I saw a footnote about a comment on something that Oliver said that was reminiscent of a phrase Nao uses in her "diary" that Ruth seemed to annotate. This is all so weird...but in a good way.


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G (gingerrachelle) I actually wondered about this being a book within a book. Maybe Ruth is writing this and Nao doesn't actually exist. Or maybe she's turned it into a book? I'm not sure but those are just a couple things I've been rolling around in my brain.


Adira (introvertinterrupted) | 391 comments Mod
I find it odd that everything Ruth goes to look up is always missing when it comes to Jiko and Nao. I'm not sure if this is because of the tsunami in Japan destroying all the servers OR because the things don't exist to begin with....sigh...I'm so intrigued it's not even funny. I seriously just want to inhale this book because it's so good.


Louise (atrixa) I've read some other books with footnotes recently- The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I've found the footnotes in this book to be the least intrusive and distracting out of the three. I'm really enjoying the story so far and I'm excited for the ending!


Brianne Reeves (bree_reeves) G wrote: "I actually wondered about this being a book within a book. Maybe Ruth is writing this and Nao doesn't actually exist . Or maybe she's turned it into a book? I'm not sure but those are just a couple ..."

Doesn't Ruth the character talk about starting to annotate the diary as a way to process and better understand what's happened? She talks about that in the very beginning. She's not good at kanji and needs notes to understand. They balloon out from there. I don't know how much of the Ruth narrative is supposed to be Ruth writing about herself after reading.


Adira (introvertinterrupted) | 391 comments Mod
Brianne wrote: "G wrote: "I actually wondered about this being a book within a book. Maybe Ruth is writing this and Nao doesn't actually exist . Or maybe she's turned it into a book? I'm not sure but those are jus..."

You make an interesting point about the footnotes. I know that she takes notes, but I never thought of said notes being a window into HER trying to understand Nao's storyline or method of storytelling. I always thought the footnotes were solely for the reader and to help them to understand. I do however remember that there was one footnote that paired something Oliver said with what Nao writes as Ruth, the character is reading. That footnote is what made me realize that maybe the Ruth in the book could be an extension of Ruth Ozeki.


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