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: 0670026638
Characteristics: 422 pages ;,24 cm


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Feb 26, 2015
  • WCLSDemingLibrary rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I am so excited that Tale for the Time Being was just selected as our 2016 Whatcom Reads book and Ruth is coming! While I won't say that this is necessarily her best book, it is a very worthwhile read crammed with fascinating topics from Fukushima to permaculture to kamikazes, and also a tinge of magical realism and enticing characters that make for an intriguing experience.

Feb 07, 2015
  • misswindsor rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book covers a lot of ground. It's a little different from anything else I've ever read and I was pulled right into the story. Although it was generally good, I thought there were a few parts that were excellent. In particular, the part of the book that deals with her uncle left quite an impression on me.

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.

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!

Aug 15, 2014

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.

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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Oct 22, 2014

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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