Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Zen and the Art of Quantum Mechanics, 21 Feb. 2014
This review is from: A Tale for the Time Being (Paperback)
A readable tale of culture clash, particularly memorable for the character of Nao, the schoolgirl displaced from California to a deprived life in Japan. Her character is teenage, acerbic and observant, her softest spot being reserved for her great-grandmother, a new woman turned Buddhist nun. Other members of the family include a kamikaze pilot and a professional person falling into depression as his work prospects disappear.

The counterpart is a Japanese-American writer living in rural Canada. Where the wheels come off for me is where the supernatural enters the plot in the guise of Zen Buddhism and quantum mechanics. In the 70s and 80s, relativity was applied to everyday life, as the truth was seen as an infinitely malleable entity. In the use of quantum theory, the realm of the very small, as opposed to the very large of relativity, the possibility of multiple truths exists and reality becomes the creation of the reader. Personally, I prefer the reality of the path of events which has happened; what might have been is a matter for conversation. Newtonian mechanics still rule in the world of human beings.

There are a lot of fine things about this book, including a consideration of the nature of bravery, both at war and in everyday life. However, I wish the author had kept it at that - a fine book already - without the need for a prod from the supernatural and the world of esoteric physics.
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Location: London

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