The tale for the time being by Ruth Ozeki
[The introduction of story]
The protagonist, Ruth found an eerie diary in the shore near her house. That diary belonged to a Japanese girl. The environment around that girl was written in the diary. Financial crisis of household, suicide attempts of her father, bullying, prostitution... She lived in a terrible environment. Ruth was fascinated by a content of diary and wanted to protect her, though Ruth and the writer of the diary does not have any connections in real life. This is a story of the Japanese girl from the perspective of Ruth.
I can say this is a great book. Especially if you are Japanese, reading this book gives you the opportunity to consider the change of Japanese culture since the previous World War. This book does not give you pleasures. Though it is truth, too many gloomy situations in Japan were described in this book.
* Japanese girl's father attempted to suicide because he couldn't get a job.
* She was bullies by her classmates and teacher, and was seemed to be raped.
* Her underpants was auctioned by the classmates, and perverts make a bid for it...
While reading this book, I sometimes felt Japan is a pitiful country, but at the same time, this book became a material to ponder Japan and Japanese. Although they say Japan has been westernized, I was assured that some aspects inherited from our ancestors remains within our heart for good or ill : Exclusivism in a socially where weak people tend to be scapegoats for alleviating the negative feelings of the community, the ambivalence of the cruelty such as forcing insects to fight for nothing and the gentleness for feeling sympathy when seeing these scenes, and so on. When you read this book, you should be somewhat prepared for feeling these bitter emotions.
The one of main theme of this story is a diary written by one of kamikaze-pilot in the previous World War, who had studied Philosophy. He is a uncle of the Japanese girl's father. As you might expect, he had to endure too harsh environment in the army. She sympathize with him and desire to know about him enthusiastically. The existence of him gives her the will to live strongly or die beautifully, that is, I think, she found the meaning of life inside his diary.
Many characters in the story are exposed to the challenging situations. Some cannot help but escape from these situations, some tried to accept these calmly. There is no solutions like a silver bullet for those who have to endure in despair, and I think the end of this story is somewhat opportunism. However, it is true that many our ancestors attempted to conquer or accept their harsh situation and tried their best to live with all their heart until they decease. This novel reminds me of this truth again and impressively.
If I don't write something in English, I cannot make progress in this term.
This is surely one of my fighting in my life.