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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

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (542 )
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Story
4.3 (484 )
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 01-28-14
    Alison Washington, DC, United States 01-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    133
    31
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    "Better than I expected!"
    What did you love best about A Tale for the Time Being?

    The characters - and their plights - really came to life for me, especially the storyline set in Japan. Alternating between storylines was particularly effective at keeping the story moving. I found it fascinating to get a glimpse into modern-day Japan - and a look back at the kamakazi bombers from WWII. There was a lot about this book that piqued my curiosity - and satisfied it.


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

    In some sense, it may be similar to The Orphan Train, since the story oscillates from past to present or location to location.


    What about Ruth Ozeki’s performance did you like?

    Authors often can't read their own work convincingly, but she did a good job. Her performance sounded true to the voices - both of Ruth and of Now.


    Any additional comments?

    There's a bit of metaphysical magic in here. I was fine with it, but I could see that derailing the entire thing for someone like my mom, who wants her books to be fully based in a reality she can understand. If you did NOT like The Art of Racing in the Rain because the dog was able to talk, then you may have issues with this book. But if you're able to suspend disbelief, then dive right in - it's a pleasurable ride, and well-written to boot.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eileen newport, OR, United States 01-26-14
    eileen newport, OR, United States 01-26-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "beach combing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    i think it went on too long and the author didn't know when to quit. i also felt the author exhausted every Japanese stereotype known to man which made the plot feel contrived.


    If you’ve listened to books by Ruth Ozeki before, how does this one compare?

    have not read any of her books before


    Have you listened to any of Ruth Ozeki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    have not heard any other performances.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    i would love to see this book as a movie. i feel it would make a better movie than a book


    Any additional comments?

    i really liked the idea for this story, finding a special treasure on the beach from a faraway place.i live on the beach and have often found treasures and considered finding something very special and making a connection through my find.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BethGi 01-19-14
    BethGi 01-19-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my favorite books ever!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Tale for the Time Being the most enjoyable?

    This was an incredible novel, with wonderful characters and profound insights. The characters were engaging, despite their cultural differences, and their emotional struggles affected me greatly. There were a few times I had to pause and reflect, and the passages about suicide were very difficult to listen to. But I am so glad that I worked through them. It was a journey worth taking.

    I am in awe of Ruth Ozeki, and her ability to move between cultures and times so well. Buddhism, quantum physics, and a Japanese schoolgirl --- who would have thought?? I absolutely loved this book.


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

    I cannot think of a comparison --- this was a true original.


    Have you listened to any of Ruth Ozeki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not read/listened to Ozeki before, But I have already added her previous books to my 'must read' list. Ms Ozeki's voice added to the story, as she moved seamlessly from English into Japanese. I also liked her afterword, and the observation that reading aloud differed from reading a print book. She is clearly a rare voice (no pun intended).


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A movie would not do this story justice. There is too much internal dialogue, and the sensational aspects of the storyline (kamikaze pilots, the recent tsunami) would distract from the real story.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this book!! Sad, touching, profound....I was deeply moved and, unlike many other books, this one has stayed with me.

    I would love to know what becomes of Nao....

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LISA 11-28-13
    LISA 11-28-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    1
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    Story
    "NOW"
    Where does A Tale for the Time Being rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The story is told so simply but has incredible depth. I don't know how she does it but death and life are brought together and valued equally. There is a profound respect for our desire to live and our desire sometimes to die before our time is really up. Japanese culture and American culture cross over in our modern world - with communications across the sea and the internet.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All the characters are brilliant.


    What about Ruth Ozeki’s performance did you like?

    Ruth is the author and Ruth is one of the main characters, also an author. Coincidence? Well, the author tells her story beautifully. The cross cultural references are endearing powerful and real.


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 11-27-13
    Linda 11-27-13

    I am waiting patiently for the best book on earth!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    "Loved this story even if it got a little weird."
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Tale for the Time Being to be better than the print version?

    I loved the story was read by the author. She gives you the true meaning of how she wanted to spotlight different parts, Shes read it the way she wanted you to understand it!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I love the character of young girl Nao!! It made the entire story~


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

    Than and Nao~


    Any additional comments?

    This was a great story. The author got lost in how to end it, in my humble opinion!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Steele Los Angeles, CA 11-26-13
    N. Steele Los Angeles, CA 11-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved this book...until the end."
    What made the experience of listening to A Tale for the Time Being the most enjoyable?

    The characters, especially the Japanese characters really draw you in.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Japanese story line, past, present and future??


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

    Now was my favorite.


    Any additional comments?

    The ending just didn't do it for me. It got super confusing and I wasn't even sure what happened to the characters that I loved so much through 3/4's of the book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Hillside, NJ, United States 11-19-13
    Steven Hillside, NJ, United States 11-19-13

    Science Ficition / Philosophy / Social & Political Commentary nut!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A Philosophical, metaphysical book"
    If you could sum up A Tale for the Time Being in three words, what would they be?

    Three words? Reaching..Across...Time


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character was Ruth. I can relate to her, very down to earth. I like characters that are driven to something, but they don't really know why, but must piece things together. Ruth has her own problems that some how manifest themselves to her reasons to reading the diary...


    What about Ruth Ozeki’s performance did you like?

    Ruth's performance was good, She gave each character a life, and a place.


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

    *SPOILERS*I"M WARNING YOU!!!I very...very rarely ever feel emotionally distraught..but the scene of them cremating and burning the body of Jiko...really hit me hard...


    Any additional comments?

    A very good book. Starts out a bit slow, but it really comes into it's own when Nao meets Old Jiko. I love this book. The interplay between Ruth's world and Nao's world is just so touching... They reach across to each other and it really seems like they effect each other. I love that idea, of two people from two different times, reaching across the void to interact with each other, and effect the outcome of each other's lives.

    If you want a quiet book, that isn't action based, and scandelous, and you like the theme please check it out..

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krispian 10-29-13
    Krispian 10-29-13

    The more you love books... the more books you love!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic and Fantastical!"

    This book did a wonderful job of transporting me into the life of a Japanese teenager - a life I know very little about - as well as transporting me into the life of a woman living on British Columbia's coast - a life I know very well :) I enjoyed hear familiar Vancouver Island place names, and to read descriptions of familiar flora and climate.

    Ruth Ozeki did an excellent job of narrating. She seems fluent in Japanese and French, and each character was easily distinguishable.

    A great read - highly recommended.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bonnie 03-16-13
    bonnie 03-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    22
    2
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    "UGHH!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I found both the story, if you want to call it a story, and the narration grating.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Ruth Ozeki again?

    I doubt it.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Ruth Ozeki’s performances?

    Probably not.


    Was A Tale for the Time Being worth the listening time?

    Didn't spend that much time. After chapter 3, I gave up


    5 of 26 people found this review helpful
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