A Tale for the Time Being

Ozeki, Ruth L.

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Tale for the Time Being
""A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be." 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"--
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2013.
ISBN: 9780670026630
Characteristics: 422 pages ;,24 cm


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Jan 17, 2015
  • desku rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A book which was a delight in every aspect. More than just a fiction, it leads you into a different culture, its traditions and its philosophy. Too much to imbibe, learn yet it was just a story. Well researched, well written and simple.

Jan 11, 2015
  • NicLaBor rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What an engaging, complex, intricate and insightful story written with exquisitely beautiful language, meaningful structured, never once pretentious. My favorite read in a very long time.

Dec 29, 2014
  • harepilot rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A total unexpected journey with the author, full of surprises that brought me both sorrow and relief.

Nov 21, 2014
  • algt rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book I've read in a long time. Lots to think about.

Oct 01, 2014
  • MariePat rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a book I wouldn't normally pick up and it was only at the suggestion of a colleague that I did. I very glad I picked up this book, because I loved it! It was a mishmash of ideas and themes and at times you were wondering what it all meant. I persisted through this novel and found my own kernels of truth throughout the novel.

Sep 28, 2014
  • gvlee rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Save yourself! Do not read this book, unless you like long rambling text that has no plot movement!

A strong and poignant book that bridges both sides and histories and cultures of the Pacific!

Aug 08, 2014
  • bukwormii rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read this last year, and just bought myself a copy to read again. This book is so dazzling in every way. The back and forth between the past in future is wonderfully written, and it left me feeling so hopeful. My favorite book to date, and will be a favorite for some time.

This is a truly awesome novel from the fantastic imagination of a truly awesome writer. The story hovers somewhere between the ordinary and science-fiction, with a strong dose of fantasy that gives it the spice of timelessness. Whaletown is a tiny hamlet on the south-western shore of Cortes Island, two ferry rides and two hours east of Campbell River, British Columbia, but only 12 miles and a few minutes by air. It is sheltered by the mass of Vancouver Island. That being the case, how is it possible that a diary wrapped in a plastic bag could find its way to this remote, protected place, even if it came to these shores as a result of the 2011 tsunami caused by a Japanese earthquake? It had to float for years across the vast Pacific, then somehow twist its way between closely-fitting islands to Cortes Island and Whaletown. Ruth Ozeki’s fertile imagination and descriptive writing are enough to suspend our disbelief that this could happen. Readers are pleasantly transferred back and forth from the Japan of World War Two and an anti-war kamikaze pilot to the present of two Whaletown residents: Ruth, who is of Japanese descent, and her husband, Oliver, both in middle-age. Ruth is a novelist (like Ozeki); Oliver is a computer programmer-cum-scientist who is always “between jobs.” The diary is by Nao, a young Japanese-American teenager whose writing is surprisingly mature. The novel revolves around Ruth’s attempts to understand the meaning of Nao’s story and that of her father, also a programmer who is shocked that the company he worked for would use his invention for war purposes. His protestations eventually result in his firing. This is a complex novel whose easy-to-follow characters is well worth reading.

Jul 28, 2014
  • jenoteacher rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

My first read of Ruth Ozeki, and I liked it so much I plan to go back and read some of her older work. This book is plenty plot-driven, with it’s intertwined narratives of Nao and her extended family and Ruth and her life on the sparsely populated Cortes Island in B.C. But I was equally carried along by the thematic eddies that swirl through the book without resolution: suicide, bullying, hopelessness, moral considerations of war and the internet, the Pacific gyre. I learned about Buddhism, contemporary Japanese culture and terminology without feeling “schooled” (the parts about quantum theory were more forced). One gets the sense that everything in this writer’s life is worthy of examination, and she allows the mundane and magical to mix freely.

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Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader's eye. Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals it's meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin.

Jun 26, 2014
  • bixby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

From Le temps retrouve (Time Regained) by Marcel Proust, as quoted in A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki:
"In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument, which he offers to the reader to permit him to discern what, without the book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. The reader's recognition in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its truth."


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Jun 26, 2014
  • bixby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A Canadian writer finds a freezer bag containing a young Japanese girl's diary which might have washed across the Pacific after the tsunami. The chapters go back and forth between the writer and the diary pages, keeping you enthralled and wondering if you will ever know what became of her. Fascinating!


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