Customer Reviews for

A Tale for the Time Being

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Wow, Ruth Ozeki, you hooked me right away with Nao¿s story.  A T

Wow, Ruth Ozeki, you hooked me right away with Nao’s story.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki was very different from what I expected (although I have no idea what I DID expect) but it was amazing.

I requested this book from NetGalley after seeing the cover ever...
Wow, Ruth Ozeki, you hooked me right away with Nao’s story.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki was very different from what I expected (although I have no idea what I DID expect) but it was amazing.

I requested this book from NetGalley after seeing the cover everywhere and reading a few positive reviews, like Bookmagnet’s post.  A Tale for the Time Being comes out today, and it is one that you really must read.

Nao is a Japanese teenager who is just living a crappy life.  She went with her parents to California, where she lived from being a young child to age 15.  The dot com bubble burst, forcing her dad not only out of the job but all of their invested money went down the drain.  Now her dad’s favorite hobby is trying to kill himself.

Nao is also being bullied immensely at school, being physically tortured, cut, poked, etc.  So if she’s worthless, and her dad is going to commit suicide, she might as well try to do the same. . . once she gets her thoughts out on paper.

She finds comfort in her grandmother, Jiko, and in her task of writing out what is intended to be Jiko’s story, but really turns into Nao’s story.

How does the reader meet Nao?  Well, fast forward a few years to a remote island in Canada, where Ruth and her husband randomly find some zip lock bags washed up on shore, with Nao’s diary, a second diary written by a man in French, and some letters inside.

Ruth is captivated by Nao’s story, and so was I!  I loved this book and raced through it.  But I have to admit I was much more captivated by Nao’s storyline than Ruth’s.

What book has captivated you lately?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

posted by RebeccaScaglione on March 13, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Boring

Zen rambling is not as interesting as the firey entanglements of Ozeki's previous novels.

posted by 13229362 on March 17, 2013

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2
  • Posted March 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Wow, Ruth Ozeki, you hooked me right away with Nao¿s story.  A T

    Wow, Ruth Ozeki, you hooked me right away with Nao’s story.  A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki was very different from what I expected (although I have no idea what I DID expect) but it was amazing.

    I requested this book from NetGalley after seeing the cover everywhere and reading a few positive reviews, like Bookmagnet’s post.  A Tale for the Time Being comes out today, and it is one that you really must read.

    Nao is a Japanese teenager who is just living a crappy life.  She went with her parents to California, where she lived from being a young child to age 15.  The dot com bubble burst, forcing her dad not only out of the job but all of their invested money went down the drain.  Now her dad’s favorite hobby is trying to kill himself.

    Nao is also being bullied immensely at school, being physically tortured, cut, poked, etc.  So if she’s worthless, and her dad is going to commit suicide, she might as well try to do the same. . . once she gets her thoughts out on paper.

    She finds comfort in her grandmother, Jiko, and in her task of writing out what is intended to be Jiko’s story, but really turns into Nao’s story.

    How does the reader meet Nao?  Well, fast forward a few years to a remote island in Canada, where Ruth and her husband randomly find some zip lock bags washed up on shore, with Nao’s diary, a second diary written by a man in French, and some letters inside.

    Ruth is captivated by Nao’s story, and so was I!  I loved this book and raced through it.  But I have to admit I was much more captivated by Nao’s storyline than Ruth’s.

    What book has captivated you lately?

    Thanks for reading,

    Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    17 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2013

    Another fine piece of writing by Ruth Ozeki. A Tale For the Time

    Another fine piece of writing by Ruth Ozeki. A Tale For the Time Being is a tale for all beings. This book focuses on two central characters and the diary that connects them together through time and place.

    In her signature style Ms. Ozeki has done a superb job of weaving together a profound tale that explores the unique relationship between writer and reader. Nao the diary’s writer is a victim of intense and extreme bullying. She has made the decision to end her life but has committed herself to honour her great grandmother, a 104 year old Buddhist nun by chronicling her life story before doing so. Ruth the reader is a novelist struggling to regain her writing voice. She finds the diary one day washed up on the shorline of the remote British Columbia Island she currently resides on. As she reads further into the diary Ruth finds herself being pulled and drawn into Nao’s world. Through the reading of Nao’s words Ruth begins to find words she thought she had lost forever. Ruth not only finds herself connecting to Nao through the diary she finds herself connecting with her husband as well. As she reads to him aloud from the diary she draws him into this other world with her.

    As I read this book I felt myself being drawn deeper and deeper into the story. The more I read the harder it was for me to put the book down. I felt deeply connected to the story and the characters. This book masterfully binds the reader and writer together though the common threads of humanity. The book draws its strength from ancient Buddhist wisdom and powerfully reminds us of the interconnectness of all beings.

    I received an advance copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program and feel privileged to have been one of the first to read it. This is a book worth reading and I highly recommend it. I am confident it will be added to many must read lists for 2013. Make sure you add it to yours.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It's not often a book gets me excited about reading it as soon a

    It's not often a book gets me excited about reading it as soon as I open it, but that's what happened with A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Right away, in the first few pages, readers are treated to a unique, young voice. Naoko is contemplative, wiser than she realizes, and speaks without tempering her words. She displays a very stark self-awareness which often caused me to catch my breath.

    This novel has so many intricate layers, I know I can't do it justice in this review. A colleague of mine once told me he always loves listening to, performing, and conducting Beethoven's 5th Symphony, even though he's done so countless times. For him, it never gets old or stale. He always hears something new, notices something that gives it even more depth and meaning. I can imagine reading A Tale for the Time Being again and again and having this same reaction.

    In a way, I think Naoko exemplifies the complexity and full freedom of religion in modern Japanese culture. She isn't overtly religious, but she is very open-minded, which allows her to pull the truths and strength she desperately needs. Naoko's time with her great-grandmother Jiko is profoundly beautiful, and the descriptions of Buddhist traditions and ceremonies are absolutely breathtaking.

    Ruth says she "wanted to read at the same rate [Naoko] had lived" and at times found it difficult to resist the temptation to quickly devour the entire story. I definitely shared that feeling! I found myself getting impatient during the scenes with Ruth and Oliver. I just wanted Ruth to get back to reading Naoko's diary. I had to know what happened next!

    A Tale for the Time Being will appeal to those who enjoy contemporary fiction, those who enjoy a bit of the fantastic with some magical realism, those who like their fiction to be intertwined with science, philosophy, history, and politics. Marcel Proust is quoted in the book: "Every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self." Ozeki explores some thought-provoking angles concerning the importance of the reader to a novel. This novel challenged and stretched my thinking, and I always appreciate that.

    This was my first time reading any of Ozeki's books, and I am left with the compulsion to go buy everything she's written. I am certain this novel is going to end up listed as one of the best releases of the year.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    One of the best

    This was one of the rare books where I almost felt sad because I could not experience the joy and satisfaction of reading the prose for the very first time. I am looking forward to reading it again. This was my first Ozeki novel. I want to read them all now. The story is historical and metaphysical. I haven't read a book into the wee hours of the night in a very long time. I feel like it was written just for me in the same way that Nao is writing to Ruth from across a sea or across a universe.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Well-done and highly interesting

    Ruth Ozeki deftly captures the voice of a pre-tsunami Japanese teenage girl who is tormented at school by classmates and at home by fears of her family falling apart. Nao's words and actions ring very true. Ruth, Nao's middle-aged counterpart in Canada, is equally interesting but in a more subtle way. I don't want to give too much away but I will say that I read a lot and this book is one of the best books I've read this year. I found myself thinking about it many times after I put the book down. Like Ruth, I found myself worrying about Nao and hoping she would be OK.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    I fell in love with this book. Although there are some graphic bullying parts and some somewhat boring scientific information...the book captivates you. It is very well written and has many beautiful statements of life to enjoy.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read

    This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. Ozeki is a master at subtlety and brings the story of found diary written by a 16 year old girl in Japan to the shores of British Colombia with wit, wisdom and charm. A MUST read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully Written, Intelligent, Strongly recommended

    A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. This book is so beautifully written and is peppered with interesting bits of information that I found to be wonderful. By the end of the book I knew bits about Zen Buddhism, particle physics, life in Japan and Schroedinger's cat, among other things. The book floats (probably) placed in a Hello Kitty lunch-box and in plastic bags along with a few other items and is found on the Canadian West coast. It finds its way into the hands of an author and her husband who is able (with great difficulty) to put together a translation. Characters in Japan and Canada are impacted by the book. A beautifully written, exceptional book. Strongly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    Great book

    At first I wasn't sure I'd like it since I normally don't read books like this, but I'm glad I gave it a try because it's amazing. It's a good mix of physics and a family's troubles. My favorite character was Nao. She was so likeable, relateable, and realistic. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to read an interesting feel good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    A Tale of Adolescent Self-Absorption

    Perhaps I'm not the intended reader, but I really wanted to enjoy this book; I just couldn't. The protagonist is a teenager who alternates between normal adolescent angst and bizarre fantasies, all written in a journal that she hopes will be found. The couple who find have their own issues as a couples and neuroses as individuals, all of it analyzed here. The problem is that not one of these characters is compelling enough to make me care about their problems or their outcome.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    This book rambled on and on. The story could have been more than

    This book rambled on and on. The story could have been more than written in 250 pages. Sorry I bought it.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Boring

    Zen rambling is not as interesting as the firey entanglements of Ozeki's previous novels.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2014

    LOVE

    I loved this book. I finished it months ago and still catch myself thinking about it. The characters were so real to me. The story was surprising and had me wide-eyed and staying up too late to finish. Sad, haunting, and just when i thought I knew what the truth was - another truth would appear.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2014

    This book is brilliant! It is stories-within-the-story. If ever

    This book is brilliant! It is stories-within-the-story. If ever a book makes you think, this would be the one. I'm dubbing it "Believable fantasy".
    Loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2014

    Beautiful and Amazing A Tale for the Time Being is beautifully w

    Beautiful and Amazing
    A Tale for the Time Being is beautifully written Ruth Ozeki absolutely captivated me in this story of character Ruth who casually takes a walk
    on the shore and what seems to be an act of serendipity comes across a diary of a girl named Nao. so touching and moving its timeless. when i was reading this book
    i left like Ruth as if Nao was writing to me in another time. the facts in this story of Japanese culture is true and the historical fiction this story has is
    amazing it opens the doors to the ways of Zen in which i found interesting as well. its just full of culture and beautifully written very enjoyable.       

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 1, 2014

    A Tale for the Time Being is an intelligent and deeply-moving no

    A Tale for the Time Being is an intelligent and deeply-moving novel which not only entertains and educates but also probes cross-culturally shared issues and values.




    On her stroll down the beach, Ruth, a middle-aged Japanese-American woman, finds a diary written by a 16-year-old Japanese girl named Nao, who has been uprooted from her US home. Back in Japan, Nao was bullied at school and witnessed her parents sink into deep depression. As a distraction from her gloomy life, Nao started a secret diary, whose imaginary reader became her confidant and the only friend. As soon as Ruth starts reading Nao’s diary, she finds herself deeply concerned with Nao and her family’s well-being. As Ruth becomes increasingly consumed with the diary, a series of mysterious coincidences occur, and the boundaries between time and space start to blur.




    A Tale for the Time Being is undeniably a page-turner. Just like Ruth the character, I found myself drawn into the mystery of Nao and her family’s fate. Another reason I could not put down this book was the exceptionally clear and seemingly effortless writing style. I especially enjoyed informal, straightforward and refreshingly youthful Nao’s narrative. Ozeki also masterfully employed symbolism and analogies. Every single object or event seemed to be there for a reason, contributing to the novel’s mysterious vibe. While reading this novel, I learned a lot of interesting things about oceanography, history, quantum mechanics, and Zen Buddhism, just to name a few. All the facts were woven into the story so skillfully that they all seemed like a crucial piece of the novel.




    Despite its unputdownable nature, sometimes I just wanted to stop reading and meditate over some ideas prompted in this book: the relationships between the writer and the reader, the meaning and importance of living NOW, the concept of Zen moments, our shared humanity, and the boundaries between fact and fiction, past, presence and future. A Tale for the Time Being also sheds some light on the widespread issues such as bullying, loneliness, and pressures of modern societies. Although touching such serious issues might set a gloomy tone, at no point this novel sounds judgmental or preachy. The author’s message is rather uplifting, reminding us of the the timeless values: love, hope, compassion, courage and sacrifice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    Ryyfrt

    Cbbyr r rry xv bn xy cncbuum bhfb

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2014

    Indescribable blend of magical realism and Zen Buddhism

    Difficult to describe this book, other than to say it is delightful, uplifting, and thoroughly entertaining. It weaves a somewhat fanciful story of a diary washed up on a Pacific NW coast, probably from the Japanese tsunami. The woman who winds up with the diary becomes obsessed with figuring out whether the writer of the diary survived the catastrophe. Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, we get to meet the writer, who is a delightful and complex Japanese teenager. The book keeps you guessing, teaches you a great deal about Japanese culture, World War II kamikaze pilots, Zen Buddhists nuns, and living as a creative person on a remote Gulf Island. Wow.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Very interesting--the intermingling of cultures and much more

    This book was a bit difficult, especially if you don't read Japanese. There was a lot of jumping around from the main story to the footnotes or glossary at the end to pick up the meaning of words or phrases. However, it was worth it. American viewpoints and Japanese viewpoints from the Second World War through the Tsunami keep you searching for the truth. An entrancing read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2014

    AN UNPLEASANT TALE.

    "I am a time being about to expire"—page 343

    Thematically too dark and uncomfortable for my tastes, though compelling reading none-the-less, A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING, by Ruth Ozeki is probably the best written novel I've ever almost been sorry I read.

    Recommendation: If you liked THE DINNER, by Herman Koch, you'll most likely enjoy this tale.

    "...and then they slid her into the oven like a pizza."—page 364

    NOOKbook editions, 587 pages

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 2