A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Cannongate paperback, £9.99)

Recently I have been selling this book to people about to start a course in Japanese literature. It was first published in 2013 and I remember our book group having a marvellous discussion about it.

The book world is a fickle one though and a novel from five years ago can easily be overlooked. So I thought this would be an opportunity to bring it back into the light.

The story flips between Nao, a young girl in contemporary Japan, and Ruth, a middle aged woman living on Vancouver Island, Canada. It reminds us how global and intertwined all our lives have become, when Ruth finds a diary on the beach that has come all the way from Nao in Japan.

This book has a big ecological message and we hear a lot about the massive gyres of plastic that are floating out in the Pacific Ocean.

Nao’s story is chillingly recognisable. She is bullied at school and the footage of the extreme bullying is then posted on the internet so she has no escape from it. Following a breakdown of sorts, she finds refuge and help from her grandmother Jiko who is a Buddhist monk.

I found these chapters particularly fascinating and very appealing. We also learn something of Jiko’s journey, including the story of her son who became a Kamikaze pilot. Then there is Nao’s father who is on the verge of suicide and involved in the dot.com bubble.

Yes, it is a book that packs a lot in and you have to allow it to carry you along, but believe me, it is worth the ride.

Reviewed by Philippa Morris, Little Apple bookshop