A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being

by Ruth Ozeki
4.2 38


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A Tale for the Time Being 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
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
wideawakeandreading More than 1 year ago
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.
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
dixated More than 1 year ago
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.
ChocolateLady More than 1 year ago
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!
scarlett77 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
osaka More than 1 year ago
Amazing! This book was totally like nothing I have ever read before. I felt for Nao and what she was going through. Couldn't wait to find out what happened to her. This book drew me in for the ride.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The struggles of an adolescent girl moved to Japan in the wake of the financial collapse of her family is fascinating and well researched. An interesting plot interweaves ethical and moral questions. I felt the book dragged a little at times and that the Japanese vocabulary that I needed to check in footnotes was quite frustrating. I read in on my NOOK, and going back and forth to the footnotes was painstaking. It was, however, worth the struggle as the character development and life challenges of the characters were excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MWgal More than 1 year ago
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!
Izalia More than 1 year ago
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.       
Agne More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ajWA More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
LaFilleDuVall More than 1 year ago
The story is heartbreaking at times, sweetly joyous at others and a cultural and historical education. Did you ever wonder how some of the suicide bombers felt as they turned their planes toward Pearl Harbor? Did you ever wonder what happened to the lives of Japanese immigrants who bet on Silicon Valley in the 1980's only to watch it go bust? How would any American raised girl fare in the Japanese educational system? A diary is found on a beach and a Japanese-American writer tries to figure out if the book is decades old or if the story being told is unfolding before her, meaning that a confused young girl's life may be at stake. The diary is addressed to "The Time Being"; therefore, the diary reader is a fellow entity that becomes a partner in time and space as the plot unfolds. This is a mystical story that brings tears and smiles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was going to be my new favorite book and then it ended.... guess the author was in a hurry to wrap up an otherwise lovely book written with beautiful thought and character. The author takes her time to craft the tale and then goes off on a weird quantom mechanics bend. Still thinking it could be salvaged, I was only disappointed again with a saccharin epilogue that left me disbelieving that it really was the end of the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago