In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace — and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox —possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.
About The Author
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest.
Her first two novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and will be published in over thirty countries. Ruth's documentary and dramatic independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country.
A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ruth ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City.
“An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.” — David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“Ozeki takes on big themes . . . drawn into the stories of two ‘time beings,’ Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Ozeki’s profound affection for her characters makes A Tale for the Time Being as emotionally engaging as it is intellectually provocative.” — The Washington Post
“As Ozeki explores the ties between reader and writer, she offers a lesson in redemption that reinforces the pricelessness of the here and now.” — Elle