Monday, May 11, 2015

Ozeki, Ruth (A Tale for the Time Being)

You can know your science and still produce a book that doesn't have anything to do with it. This is one example.

Ozeki did do her homework. If you want to know how tidal effects work, or what Japanese pop culture is like, or later on in the book, what quantum mechanics are all about, she gives you all that. Almost exactly as if she did do her homework. It's that dull and pedantic.

Her being pedantic is not my sole criticism. My bigger criticism is that the book takes a turn about 3/4 of the way through that came smack out of left field. It felt not at all in the same vein as the rest of the book - instead designed only to shock and startle you. Actually, there were two left field turns - one that startles, and the other that bewilders. (For those who've read the book, the bewildering one is more closely related to metaphysics.) Having one come right after the other threw me for a loop. If I hadn't thought she had no business writing a novel about what she was writing about before, that did the job for me.

I know that she at least has experience regarding Buddhist nuns, being one herself. The writing related to that subject seemed forced. Imagine how the rest of it seemed.

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