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
I'm a time being and this book was written for me. The story, the despair, the hope. Even Pesto tugged at my heartstrings. I cried a lot throughout this book. Bring a box of tissues to your reading chair, or your car as I did. I listened to the author read A Tale for the Time Being, hence the car, and she was brilliant as a reader. I want to read/listen to everything Ruth Ozeki has written. Thank you for a moving and thoughtful read.
A story to get your brain thinking and the author's reading helps with the emphasis
This audio book is very much enhanced by narration by the author. It could only be read aloud by someone fluent in both Japanese and English, and the author does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life with her voice as well as her written words.
It is refreshing to hear a discussion of WWII from a Japanese perspective, as it is a point of view less familiar to us Western readers, accustomed as we are to thinking of Hitler's Holocaust as the primary narrative of the era.
I loved the juxtaposition of modern day teen culture -- both Japanese and American -- with ancient Buddhist wisdom and ritual. But the really unique aspect of this book is the way the author dances around the concept of Time. Fortunately she waits until very near the end to speculate about parallel universes and quantum mechanics. By then the reader is so caught up in the fate of the characters she is willing to follow the narrative anywhere.
Say something about yourself!
A friend recommended this novel to me and I am so happy she discovered it!
It is a good thing the author read this--she has a beautiful voice--but especially because she is fluent in English AND Japanese--not that you need to know the Japanese words, but there are a few and many characters and the words are beautiful in her mouth.
The characters include a Japanese American writer living on the west coast of Canada, a young woman raised in California who moves with her family to Tokyo as a teenager--a very difficult time, her great grandmother who is a 90 something Buddhist nun, mother to a WWII kamikaze pilot.
It started out alright then completely floundered in the third section. Questions like, 'Where is she going with this?' Flashed through my mind.
I CAN appreciate how well she paints the characters in Japan. She really created that side of the story very well. It's Ruth's side of the story that I didn't care for at all.
There were moments that were very philosophical that I really enjoyed but they were like the last minute sparks from a dying sparkler.
This is an engrossing tale for those who are patient, who embrace ambiguity in art and life, and who know some mysteries are just that ... Mysteries.
But, if you like to read the end of a book first (as my favorite person does), don't do it. Just take the ride and see where this story takes you.
(Not a book for young teens.)
The initial straight mystery tale dissloves into a space time origami where stunning realism coexists with clear-eyed questioning of sanity, memory, and even existence. Cool!
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