Time to Go Home – Contemporary Fiction
Time to Go Home (KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home) is the story of Meryl, a Vietnam War widow. This contemporary fiction story is rooted in historical war-time. Time to Go Home is remarkable in various ways, the least of which is that it is contemporary fiction, mixed with cultural fiction, and historical fiction as well.
The author, B. Jeanne Shibahara, takes her time introducing the characters of Time to Go Home. The story is narrated in the third person. As I began to read this lyrically written story, I found the cast of characters were meticulously developed by the author. This turned out to be a bit of serendipity for me. Had I not taken the requisite time to become acquainted with the characters, (some curious, some remarkable, and some rather fascinating), I would have missed out on this sparkling gem of a story.
Author, Jeanne Shibahara, provided a fine introduction of KA-E-RO-U Time to Go Home, so it seems appropriate to include it here:
“In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.”
Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love “in the simplest things.”
I enjoyed taking a transformative journey with Meryl. Time to Go Home reminded me that there is never a time when we must give up on change. In fact, without the acceptance that change is inevitable, we might be sadly content to become stagnant. Of course, change can be scary. However, if we consider the alternative of becoming immobile, we must make the essential decision to rescue ourselves. But, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean we want, or need, to be alone. Maybe we just need to do some soul searching to figure out what makes us happy and maybe, more importantly, what causes us to feel unhappy.
Sometimes one of the hardest things to learn is, it’s not always just about us. And so, we realize A Time to Go Home is not just about Meryl. Rather, we find it is the fulfilling story of the characters Meryl comes to know, and how knowing each other affects change for all.