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A Tale for the Time Being | [Ruth Ozeki]

A Tale for the Time Being

In Tokyo, 16-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.
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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant, unforgettable, and long-awaited novel from best-selling author Ruth Ozeki

"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, 16-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 listener, 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.

©2013 Ruth Ozeki (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (554 )
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4.3 (495 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vanessa 07-15-14
    Vanessa 07-15-14 Member Since 2010
    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "Ozeki is brilliant as a writer and narrator!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely, incredible story extremely well-narrated.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Old Jiko for sure. Best character.


    What about Ruth Ozeki’s performance did you like?

    She did a fantastic job. Can't imagine it being read by anyone else. Also, I met her and she is SUCH a lovely person! :)


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was definitely shocked when one of the main characters was discussing the culture of suicide in Japan, but it was fascinating. Something that needs to be said, brought out into the open and confronted.


    Any additional comments?

    Such a beautiful story. Ozeki captures a 15 year old adolescent girl perfectly. You will not regret this listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skia Laurence Chelmsford, MA United States 07-05-14
    Skia Laurence Chelmsford, MA United States 07-05-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Favorite book this year"
    What did you love best about A Tale for the Time Being?

    This book is an essestential philosophical romp. It's playful and humorous, and sometimes sad.....but never boring.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale for the Time Being?

    Constraints of time, space, culture and the generation gap are transcended.


    Which character – as performed by Ruth Ozeki – was your favorite?

    The elderly Buddhist nun. At first, I was disappointed by Ruth's reading of her own work...but either she got better as the story went on or the story was so good, I simply didn't care.


    If you could take any character from A Tale for the Time Being out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Someone should take Ruth Ozeki out to dinner....maybe an awards dinner! I'm definitely looking for other books by her.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this in hard copy first, Then, bought the audible because I had to do chores and drive and things requiring eyes and hands, but I couldn't bear to put the book down. The hard copy has really interesting footnotes, which I missed. I can't wait for my friends to read this book so we can talk about it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Cohen NY, NY USA 06-05-14
    Douglas Cohen NY, NY USA 06-05-14 Member Since 2011

    newmus

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    "An Amazing Story Beautifully Read by the Author"
    If you could sum up A Tale for the Time Being in three words, what would they be?

    Unexpected stories juxtaposed.


    What other book might you compare A Tale for the Time Being to and why?

    This is quite a unique read.


    Which character – as performed by Ruth Ozeki – was your favorite?

    The two narrators, Nao and Ruth, are both exceptionally performed by Ozeki. In fact, the reading of this book by the author is so well done that some of the meaning would be lost if one simply read the book alone.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The death of Jiko was quite moving and how it brings Nao closer to her father.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare 06-05-14
    Clare 06-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    4
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    "Magical Tale"
    Where does A Tale for the Time Being rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audio books I have experienced. Ozeki (the author) has a gorgeous voice and imbues her characters skillfully and authentically.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Wonderful characters and multiple stories that twine together beautifully. Ambitious....but successfully so.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to count....especially loved the scenes between Jiko and Nao. And the scene when Jiko and Muji arrive at Nao's home is priceless.


    If you could take any character from A Tale for the Time Being out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Definitely Jiko.


    Any additional comments?

    I had the hard copy too, which was nice because there are illustrations that add to the reading experience. But all in all, this might be the first time I would recommend that the audible version is as rich, or richer, than the print version, mostly because of Ozeki's beautiful narration of her own material. Superb!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arlington Cory 05-28-14
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    "Time Beings"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I would recommend this audiobook to people who read a great deal and are open to post modern themes and styles.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nao who is one of the two narrators. She is a sixteen year old who grew up in California who is now living a humiliating life in Japan since her father an uber-programmer lost his Silicone Valley job. Nao writes a journal for an imaged reader who finds the journal washed up onshore in a kitchen freezer bag. Nao's voice is a unique one -- both a self-loathing cubby Teenager who passively allows herself to be violated in so many ways and a wise-woman who looks at the world and herself with a weary smile and wink.


    Which character – as performed by Ruth Ozeki – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed all the characters Ozeki brought to life and death especially: the 104 Monk-Great Grandmother, Ruth the middle-aged American with writer's block, Nao's sad Dad and even the self-admiring cat.


    If you could rename A Tale for the Time Being, what would you call it?

    For The Time Being


    Any additional comments?

    Hearing the story and sometimes reading along in the Kindle book enhanced my appreciating the story.

    Be forewarned some of the material is rough: extreme school bullying, suicide, teenage sex trade and brutal aspects during the training and deployment of Japanese servicemen during WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marty Rehm 04-20-14
    Marty Rehm 04-20-14
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    "Better in print"
    What didn’t you like about Ruth Ozeki’s performance?

    Her voice is very annoying, it sounds almost digitized. Siri has more expression.


    Any additional comments?

    I was so turned off by the narration, I haven't finished the book, although I have purchased the Kindle edition After I read it, I will review it, because my friends assure me that it is a worthwhile book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meryl H. Ruth CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 04-02-14
    Meryl H. Ruth CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 04-02-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Being Metaphysical"

    Are you writing this review or am I?

    I found this book charming, intriguing, profound at times, sad, original and creative.

    I thought the author who was also the narrator did an excellent job reading aloud her story. Her pronunciation of Japanese was so helpful and exacting.

    The book was written with such an original format, concept.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denis A. 03-09-14
    Denis A. 03-09-14 Listener Since 2007
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    "Author does a fine job narrating her own story"
    What did you love best about A Tale for the Time Being?

    Understanding how the title connects to the plot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Jiko showing Nao about superpower.


    Which character – as performed by Ruth Ozeki – was your favorite?

    I enjoyed how the author performs the French character, Benoit, in the story. My least favorite character was Ruth--she whined way too much.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-26-14

    Meg

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    "Stick with it"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are at all interested in the complexity of human and family relationships, Japanese American intercultural issues, or environmental issues, this book successfully manages to weave all these topics into a wonderful mosaic of life and love and what's truly important. The author successfully moves between a bright 16 year old perspective to adult woman, to pride filled man, to wizened crone with seeming ease. Give it a little time to get used to the changing perspectives and you won't be able to put it down for long.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barbara East Hampton, CT, United States 02-23-14
    barbara East Hampton, CT, United States 02-23-14 Member Since 2003
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    "Difficult/painful but great book for meditators"
    Would you listen to A Tale for the Time Being again? Why?

    Yes, I will listen again. This book was so full of things that need careful reflection it definitely calls for a second listen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was fascinating and triggered insights in me that I have only as yet half grasped. It was painful and I did think of just dropping it halfway through. It seemed like the gratuitous cruelty and darkness just went on and on and it took some deeper faith in the possibility that it might be worth it to continue listening. In the end it was definitely worth finishing. It is reminiscent for me of the experience of staying mindful and present in my life experience, usually there is temptation to turn away into some more pleasant distraction, but staying present reaps great rewards that make it worth it to stay. This book feels to me like an imaginative metaphorical treatment of the meditative experience and difficulties that emerge from it as you transform from regular life into something like increased wakefulness, as well as the seemingly infinite possibilities of choice of action or perspective in each moment that begin to open up. In any case I think it is going to be helpful to me, looked at for a while in that way. The disruption/dissatisfaction I felt sometimes when the story shifted from the fascinating (if painful) diaries to the author's mundane ordinary worldly voice especially felt eerily like my own experience when shifting from my own discursive stories (sometimes painful) to being present in this ordinary yet vivid moment of my life.


    What does Ruth Ozeki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Ruth Ozeki did a great job of narrating this book. I can't understand how anyone would criticize her performance. I felt something like a personal connection to her, the characters and the book as a result of her reading of it.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to the book over the course of one weekend. It is too long to listen to in one sitting. Also, too much would be missed listening in one sitting. This book is better with some breaks in which to catch one's breath and come back with a fresh mind.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is probably not for everyone, but I am glad I listened. I would recommend it highly, especially to meditators who have sat long enough to experience changes from it that begin to upset the status quo. I have left much unsaid here about the details regarding the cultures of Japan, the US, suicide, WWII, the internet, bullying....all timely and interesting and worth looking at in the way she looks at them here. That can be the subject of others' reviews. I can't cover all of it here. I recommend it to those inclined to be thoughtful and open.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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