Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel Paperback – December 31, 2013
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
*Starred Review* Ozeki has shown herself, in the novels My Year of Meats (1998) and All over Creation (2003), to be a careful, considerate writer who obviously insists on writing what she wants to write and in the fashion she prefers. That special care and concern are also detectable in her latest novel, an intriguing, even beautiful narrative remarkable for its unusual but attentively structured plot. Ruth—the character Ruth—is a writer living in a remote corner of the Pacific coast of British Columbia who is currently thwarted by writer’s block as she attempts to compose a memoir. One day she finds a collection of materials contained in a lunchbox that has washed up on the beach. As if she has unleashed a magical mist, the items she finds inside, namely a journal and a collection of letters, envelop her in the details—the dramas—of someone else’s life. The life she has stumbled into is that of a Japanese teenager, who, believing suicide is the only relief for her teenage angst, nevertheless is determined, before she commits that final act, to write down the story of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun. We go from one story line to the other, back and forth across the Pacific, but the reader never loses place or interest. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher is in love with this novel and will do everything from providing an author tour to presenting extensive radio and online publicity campaigns to bring its virtues to a wide reading audience. --Brad Hooper --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
“An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.”
—David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“As contemporary as a Japanese teenager’s slang but as ageless as a Zen koan, Ruth Ozeki’s new novel combines great storytelling with a probing investigation into the purpose of existence. . . . She plunges us into a tantalizing narration that brandishes mysteries to be solved and ideas to be explored. . . . 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
“A delightful yet sometimes harrowing novel . . . Many of the elements of Nao’s story—schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal ‘salarymen,’ kamikaze pilots—are among a Western reader’s most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao’s telling, refracted through Ruth’s musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful. Ozeki takes on big themes . . . all drawn into the stories of two ‘time beings,’ Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Nao Yasutani’s voice is the heart and soul of this very satisfying book. . . . The contemporary Japanese style and use of magical realism are reminiscent of author Haruki Murakami.”
“A terrific novel full of breakthroughs both personal and literary. . . . Ozeki revels in Tokyo teen culture—this goes far beyond Hello Kitty—and explores quantum physics, military applications of computer video games, Internet bullying, and Marcel Proust, all while creating a vulnerable and unique voice for the sixteen-year-old girl at its center. . . . Ozeki has produced a dazzling and humorous work of literary origami. . . . Nao’s voice—funny, profane and deep—is stirring and unforgettable as she ponders the meaning of her life.”
—The Seattle Times
“Beautifully written, intensely readable and richly layered . . . one of the best books of the year so far.”
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Masterfully woven . . . Entwining Japanese language with WWII history, pop culture with Proust, Zen with quantum mechanics, Ozeki alternates between the voices of two women to produce a spellbinding tale.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Forget the proverbial message in a bottle: This Tale fractures clichés as it affirms the lifesaving power of words. . . . As Ozeki explores the ties between reader and writer, she offers a lesson in redemption that reinforces the pricelessness of the here and now.”
“A powerful yarn of fate and parallel lives.”
“Ozeki weaves together Nao’s adolescent yearnings with Ruth’s contemplative digressions, adding bits of Zen wisdom, as well as questions about agency, creativity, life, death, and human connections along the way. A Tale for the Time Being is a dreamy, spiritual investigation of how to gracefully meet the waves of time, which, in the end, come for us all.”
—The Daily Beast
“As we read Nao’s story and the story of Ozeki’s reading of it, as we go back and forth between the text and the notes, time expands for us. It opens up onto something resembling narrative eternity . . . page after page, slowly unfolding. And what a beautiful effect that is for a novel to create.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered
“Superb . . . her best and most adventurous novel to date . . . likely to leave readers feeling its emotional impact for a long time to come.”
“Magnificent . . . brings together a Japanese girl’s diary and a transplanted American novelist to meditate on everything from bullying to the nature of conscience and the meaning of life. . . . The novel’s seamless web of language, metaphor, and meaning can’t be disentangled from its powerful emotional impact: These are characters we care for deeply, imparting vital life lessons through the magic of storytelling. A masterpiece, pure and simple.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An intriguing, even beautiful narrative remarkable for its unusual but attentively structured plot. . . . We go from one story line to the other, back and forth across the Pacific, but the reader never loses place or interest.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Ozeki’s absorbing novel is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time. . . . The characters’ lives are finely drawn, from Ruth’s rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani family’s straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, California, to Tokyo. Nao’s winsome voice contrasts with Ruth’s intellectual ponderings to make up a lyrical disquisition on writing’s power to transcend time and place. This tale from Ozeki, a Zen Buddhist priest, is sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigor.”
“An extraordinary novel about a courageous young woman, riven by loneliness, by time, and (ultimately) by tsunami. Nao is an inspired narrator and her quest to tell her great grandmother’s story, to connect with her past and with the larger world is both aching and true. Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists and here she is at her absolute best—bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of This Is How You Lose Her
“A beautifully interwoven novel about magic and loss and the incomprehensible threads that connect our lives. I loved it.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love
“A Tale for the Time Being is a timeless story. Ruth Ozeki beautifully renders not only the devastation of the collision between man and the natural world, but also its often miraculous results.”
—Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones
“Ingenious and touching. . . . I read it with great pleasure.”
—Philip Pullman, award-winning author of The Golden Compass
“One of the most deeply moving and thought-provoking novels I have read in a long time. In precise and luminous prose, Ozeki captures both the sweep and detail of our shared humanity. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring and true.”
—Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles
“A Tale for the Time Being is equal parts mystery and meditation. The mystery is a compulsive, gritty page-turner. The meditation—on time and memory, on the oceanic movement of history, on impermanence and uncertainty, but also resilience and bravery—is deep and gorgeous and wise. A completely satisfying, continually surprising, wholly remarkable achievement.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“A great achievement, and the work of a writer at the height of her powers. Ruth Ozeki has not only reinvigorated the novel itself, the form, but she’s given us the tried and true, deep and essential pleasure of characters we love and who matter.”
—Jane Hamilton, bestselling author of A Map of the World
“Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozeki’s novel proves that truly great stories—like this one—can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity.”
—Deborah Harkness, bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night
“I’ve long been an admirer of Ruth Ozeki’s work, and her exquisite, richly textured novel, A Tale for the Time Being, marks the stunning return of a writer at the height of her powers. Seamlessly weaving together tales of the past and present that are equally magical and heartbreaking, she transports us to the worlds of Nao and Jiko, in Japan, and Ruth, on a remote island in British Columbia, where their worlds collide as they reach across time to find the meaning of life and home. . . . A wise and wonderfully inventive story that will resonate through time.”
—Gail Tsukiyama, bestselling author of The Samurai’s Garden
Top customer reviews
I did thoroughly enjoy the tantalizing mixture of Eastern and Western thought of the main characters, in both Japan and on a wee, British Columbia island, where a struggling resident novelist finds a plastic packet that has washed ashore. She takes the find home and therein begins a journey to explain the meaning of the contents, which are a teenager's diary written in modern Japanese and several, earlier letters written in French. In the process of the plot development, the people's lives, on both sides of the Pacific, come in conflict and final resolution, as the story weaves a complex plot, over time and place. By reading and researching the flotsam's contents, the novelist comes to question and resolve her own existence.
The main character of the hand-written diary is a Japanese-American, teenage girl who has been snatched from her privileged, middle class, California upbringing and is stuck back into the lower strata of Tokyo society, all because her family is on brink of falling apart, due to sudden life changes. As the outsider in her new, Japanese school and neighborhood, the teenager is bullied and taunted into almost submission and degradation by her peers, until her 104 year old, great-grandmother, a secluded Zen Buddhist nun, rescues her. In this twist of fate, the girl learns to look below the surface of her changing world and family to realize her place is a valuable cog in the time machine of life.
Near the end of the novel, I was a bit miffed and confused by the seemingly sidetracked description of quantum physics, which seeks to engage the novelist character in ways to explain the bizarre connection of her life and the existence of the girl in Tokyo. After concluding the novel, I was struck that this explanation of the universe was the author's means to make sense for the reader, the storyline and character development, which is excellent.
This is not a book for those who like straight-forward plots or characters with neat endings. There is really no end to one's thoughts about this novel. Ms. Ozeki constructs her conclusion to be an open-ended question about life itself. Since I lived many years in the Far East, entrenched in a new philosophy that was not akin to my New England upbringing, I can appreciate the meanderings of Ms. Ozeki's novel. I still like to reflect on some this novel's quotes and conjure up how this tale could not have been different from what it was, since time is relative and it can still not be fully explained to suit one's perception of themselves and their worlds.
If you enjoy such Asian - North American novels, you would also like the works of Tan Twan Eng or Gail Tsukiyama, to name a few of today's excellent, modern writers about Eastern - Western philosophies.