The Rain Heron by Arnott
What a unique book! You could call it an eco-fable, as I have encountered many reviews that do so.
There IS a mythical rain heron (and some pretty unique squids!) but otherwise, the book is certainly not mythical or a fantasy book. The reality it depicts is completely possible – greed, corruption, and power most certainly affect the environment. Naturally, consequences follow.
Everything is cleverly told, in such a way that holds you tight until you reach the end.
So don’t try to read too much about the book before you begin it!
I found the strong women, who are the pivotal forces of the plot, to be fascinating.
A Tale for the Time Being by Ozeki
This book took hold of me and wouldn’t let go of me until I had reached the end.
Even when I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue reading.
The book has many things going on – some parts are fascinating, some uplifting, some heartwrenching, and some parts totally mystical. Oh, and there’s quantum physics too!
The characters are so real and “alive” that I was extremely disturbed by the parts depicting the bullying at the Japanese school that teenage Nao went through. As a teacher, I was even more horrified at the school’s role in the situation.
Note that my gut reaction just shows how powerful the writing is – you feel you know the author and her husband (who live on a remote little island) personally. You become part of their growing involvement in the lives of Nao, her extended family, and her grandmother/Buddhist nun. Zen is certainly an element of the story. The past is just as alive, in the form of an uncle/kamikaze pilot…
There is a lot going on. More than I mentioned.
First and foremost, it’s a good story and I enjoyed it.