Facing Three Hours

Review of The Face: A Time Code” by Ruth Ozeki.

a9989-the2bface2ba2btime2bcodeIn this short non-fiction piece, Ozeki takes on the Zen exercise of staring at her face for three hours.

The book starts with her time clock set at 00:00:00, which ticks off the seconds and minutes as she writes whatever comes into her head while looking at her face. Between these are short essays about herself, her life and her ancestry to punctuate her time clock observances.

What is most fascinating here is that through these exercises, we seem to learn about Ozeki almost as much as she learns about herself. Although there are times when both Ozeki and we seem to find the process somewhat futile, she does get through it. This is mostly because the intermittent essays add an extra dimension to the work, making it even more intriguing.

This is certainly a very different type of autobiography, and a welcome one at that. (From the publisher’s website, I see that this is one of a series of books on this theme.) Written in Ozeki’s inimitably calming and charming style, there is nothing more to say except that this little book is a delight from start to finish. If you’ve ever read and loved any of Ozeki’s works, you won’t want to miss getting to know her better. I’m giving it five out of five stars.


“The Face: A Time Code” by Ruth Ozeki published by Restless Books, is available (via these affiliate links) from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping), new or used from Alibris, used from Better World Books (promoting libraries and world literacy) or from an IndieBound store near you.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.