A Tale For The Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

tale for the time beingThis is a brilliant story. A woman in the BC Gulf Islands (Ruth) finds a diary washed ashore, written by a 15 year-old (Nao) in Japan in which her relationship with her 104 year-old great-grandmother is described. Story is a mystery with some magical elements, with Zen philosophy and some quantum mechanics to describe time and place (a little like 1Q84). A fascinating question is asked: How does reading a story impact the ending?

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

wide sargasso seaThis is the back-story to Rochester’s mad wife in Jane Eyre, a woman trapped in England after a life in the Caribbean. Rochester is revealed as first immature, then manipulative, greedy and deceitful so that his wife Antoinette is driven into madness. The author Rhys’ story is also fascinating.

Museum Of Extraordinary Things – Alice Hoffman

museum-of-extraordinary-things-alice-hoffmanOne of the best features of this book is the setting: New York and more specifically Coney Island in Brooklyn in 1911. The “museum” is really an exhibit of freaks of nature, both living and dead, most faked/manipulated. The Professor character is wonderfully wicked, but love wins out. Part of the story is a mystery, to add to the flavour.

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night – Heather O’Neill

Wonderful storytelling of the remarkable relationship between two siblings, Nouschka and Nicolas, who have grown up without parental love: a physically absent mother and an emotionally absent father. O’Neill captures the francophone world on Montreal in 1995, leading up to the separation vote. The sibling relationship is amazingly close but they are moving in different directions: Nouschka is going forward and Nicolas is stuck in the present/past. Wonderful writing, especially the metaphors!