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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    884
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    467
  • 3 Stars
    182
  • 2 Stars
    60
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    38

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    317
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    108
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    37
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Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    411
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    180
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    58
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    44
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Haunting and beautiful a treasure for all time

I loved this book. ❤️❤️❤️ I couldn't put it down. It has a life of it's own, and almost brings you into it. Potent, cosmic, dark, and, whimsical. It's a book I will return to again and again.

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Amazing

Ruth Ozeki covers captures the wisdom of a diverse set of characters and gives the reader an outlook on life filled with new possibilities by the end. Her reading is incredible.

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Best audiobook I've ever listened to

I felt so connected to Nao, as if she were talking to me. Such an intimate reading experience, profoundly beautiful and sorrowful, yet also hilarious. Ozeki narrates & does a brilliant job voicing each character. She could have a second career as a voice actor. I love this book which links together so many times. This book becomes a living thing when you read it. enjoy!!

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hard book to read...lots of different emotions

Glad I got through this book. It was a struggle due to the emotional roller coaster ride.

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Bound Together Book Club

Masterfully crafted with many layers ! Fabulous book. Truly a wonderful telling. I highly recommend and loved listening to Ruth's reading and bring the characters to life.

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unexpected and suspenseful

I enjoyed the story and creative and educational nature in which it was written. Excellent!

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Half a 4 star, half a 2 ... overall 3 stars

The beginning really pulled me in and I looked forward to spending time lost in the journey of Nao. However alas the sections of Ruth felt long and interruptive and I found it difficult to endure. Would have preferred shorter Ruth sections and wished I had skipped the weird dream sequences. On a positive note, the author reads the audiobook version and does a very good job.

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Two Tales Woven Together

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'm not sure if I would. It was a slow and deliberate story -- very cerebral -- and that's not typically the type of book that captivates me. That said, Ruth Ozeki's performance of the book was excellent.

Any additional comments?

This tale for the Time-Being is actually two tales, woven together: of Ruth in current day British Columbia and Nao, a Japanese teenager who grew up in Sunnyvale California but has now moved back to Tokyo with her family. Listening to the book on Audible was especially interesting because the author, Ruth Ozeki, was also the narrator, which added layers of interpretation to her reading.

The story of Nao -- and her great Uncle Haruki #1, who died as a kamikaze pilot in WWII, in spite of his pacifist Buddhist views -- intertwines with Ruth's story as a result of finding a lost diary (carefully preserved in layer of plastic freezer bags) on the beach in BC.

The plot of the story is very subtle -- mostly we are invited to understand Ruth and Nao, and Nao's father. However, some elements of what happens to Nao left me wondering why they were necessary to her story; some of these elements were never particularly explained. In the later chapters, dreams become real and one isn't entirely certain of where reality lies. But then as Nao's great grandmother Jico would say, "Up... down... all the same."

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A new author-crush. What a book to kick-off 2017

Would you consider the audio edition of A Tale for the Time Being to be better than the print version?

I have not read the book. Ruth Ozeki brings this book into a theatre for the ears.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The 104-year old nun and her fellow nun-sister

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

This is the only read by her.

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

Ruth: I want to know if this is a memoir].

Any additional comments?

A book like no other. The two other books is even better. This is the best book to get introduced to the author.

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mixed feelings

I struggked to finish this book. I felt Ms Ozeki threw issues into the story as you woukd when making a stew...whatever is in the cupboard.