Winner of the UK Independent Bookseller Award and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction, 2013.
Nao lives in Tokyo. She is sixteen, and has decided to write a diary before she kills herself. She has plenty of material - school bullies, depressed parents - but she particularly wants to chronicle the life of her great-grandmother, Jiko, a Buddhist nun. And eventually, Nao thinks, her diary will find its reader.
Ruth lives with her husband on the Pacific coast of Canada. A few months after the 2010 tsunami she finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore. It contains a diary...
Ruth Ozeki was born and raised in Connecticut by an American father and a Japanese mother. She has lived in Japan, where among other things she worked as a bar hostess and studied flower arrangement, Noh drama and mask carving. Ruth practises Zen Buddhism and was ordained as a priest in 2010. She is the bestselling author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation.
'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 the often miraculous results of it. She is a deeply intelligent and humane writer who offers her insight with a grace that beguiles. I truly love this novel.' Alice Sebold
'A Tale for the Time Being is 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, with the 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...A Tale for the Time Being is one of those novels that will renew your faith in literature.' Junot Diaz
'Ingenious and touching, A Tale for the Time Being is also highly readable. And interesting: the contrast of cultures is especially well done. I greatly look forward to Ruth Ozeki's next book.' Philip Pullman
'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, this is a book to be read and reread.' Karen Joy Fowler
'Ozeki's magnificent third novel (All Over Creation, 2003, etc.) 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
'A Tale for the Time Being achieves an impressive balancing act: it's a book that is profound but never earnest.' Weekend Australian
Ozeki's absorbing third novel (after All Over Creation) is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time: "time beings." Nao Yasutani is a Japanese schoolgirl who plans to "drop out of time" to kill herself as a way of escaping her dreary life. First, though, she intends to write in her diary the life story of her great-grandmother Jiko, a Zen Buddhist nun. But Nao actually ends up writing her own life story, and the diary eventually washes up on the shore of Canada's Vancouver Island, where a novelist called Ruth lives. Ruth finds the diary in a freezer bag with some old letters in French and a vintage watch. Ruth's investigation into how the bag traveled from Japan to her island, and why it contains what it does, alternates with Nao's chapters. The characters' lives are finely drawn, from Ruth's rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani family's straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, Calif., 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.