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...
'This is the simple story of a girl, her great-grandmother and the novelist who becomes enthralled with their tale. But this simple story draws from the deep currents of our times, from quantum physics, Japanese ghost tales, suicide trends, first-person accounts of kamikaze fighters during World War II, thirteenth-century Buddhist texts and recent pop culture. It is a meditation on impermanence, and the intimate relationship between past and present, fact and fiction, and time and text.' - Ruth Ozeki
Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2013
'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, driven 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, NYT bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
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 Meat and All Over Creation.