A Tale for the Time Being
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013
'Hi! My name is Nao, and I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you.'
Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.
In a small cafe in Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place - and voice - through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.
Weaving across continents and decades, and exploring the relationship between reader and writer, fact and fiction, A Tale for the Time Being is an extraordinary novel about our shared humanity and the search for home.
"Bewitching, intelligent and heartbreaking ... Nao is an inspired narrator and her quest to tell her great grandmother's story, to connect with her past and with the larger world, is both aching and true. Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists and here she is at her absolute best" (Junot Díaz)"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 insights with a grace that beguiles. I truly love this novel" (Alice Sebold)"This is one of the most deeply moving and thought-provoking novels I have read in a long time. In precise and luminous prose, Ozeki captures both the sweep and detail of our shared humanity, moving seamlessly between Nao's story and our own" (Madeline Miller author of THE SONG OF ACHILLES)"Ingenious and touching, A Tale for the Time Being is also highly readable. And interesting: the contrast of cultures is especially well done" (Philip Pullman)"A beautifully interwoven novel about magic and loss and the incomprehensible threads that connect our lives. I just finished it, and loved it" (Elizabeth Gilbert author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE)"A Tale for the Time Being is a downright miraculous book that will captivate you from the very first page. Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozeki proves that truly great stories - like this one - can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity" (Deborah Harkness author of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES)"Ozeki explores what it means to be human in this moment, right now (Nao). Her novel is saturated with love, ideas and compassion. In short, an absolute treat" (Lucy Atkins The Sunday Times)"There is far too much to say about this remarkable and ambitious book in a few sentences. This is for real and not just another hyped-up blurb. A Tale For the Time Being is a great achievement, and it is the work of a writer at the height of her powers. Ruth Ozeki has not only reinvigorated the novel itself, the form, but she's given us the tried and true, deep and essential pleasure of characters who we love and who matter" (Jane Hamilton author of A MAP OF THE WORLD)"Funny, heartbreaking, moving and profound... The warmth, compassion, wisdom and insight with which Ozeki pieces all these stories together will have the reader linked in a similarly profound way to this fantastic novel" (Doug Johnstone Independent)"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 author of THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB)"Packed with philosophical asides about time, and is unexpectedly moving" (Kate Saunders The Times)"A huge, compassionate and cleverly wrought novel" (Natasha Lehrer TLS)"This novel on belonging and time is a triumph" (The Sunday Times)"Dualities, overlaps, time shifts and coincidences are the currents that move A Tale for the Time Being... Even the book's title shimmers and shifts shape upon study" (The New York Times)"A compelling coming-of-age story" (Sunday Telegraph)"A story saturated with love, ideas and compassion" (The Sunday Times best books to read this summer)"A Chinese box of a novel" (Claire Allfree Metro)"Part fantasy, part mystery, part page-turner" (Sam Baker Harper Bazaar)"As emotionally engaging as it is intellectually provocative" (Washington Post)"Ruth Ozeki's wonderful, intricate novel encompasses both global catastrophe and tiny human potentialities... It is enough to say that this is a novel of subtlety and delicacy which is, above all, a celebration of our shared humanity and an affirmation of the myriad possibilities we all carry within us" (New Internationalist)"A sheer work of brilliance" (More2Read)"[This] could revolutionise our reading habits" (David Robinson The Scotsman)"Ozeki masterfully develops the two parallel stories, creating a virtual dialogue between the blocked writer and the diarist, who confides, "I'm reaching forward through time to touch you"" (Washington Post)"Masterfully woven. Entwining Japanese language with WWII history, pop culture with Proust, Zen with quantum mechanics, Ozeki alternates between the voices of two women to produce a spellbinding tale" (O, Oprah Magazine)"This is a book which will absorb you from the very beginning and which will stay with you long after you have finished reading it" (Spalding Guardian)"An ingenious, multi-layered novel that, quite possibly because of those layers, works on so many levels - thrilling us, magicking us, prompting us to pause and reflect... A Tale For The Time Being, her third and finest novel yet, is in a league all of its own" (Malcolm Forbes the National 2013-03-20)"A Tale For The Time Being defies synopsis. It incorporates a Zen Buddhist view of the world into the philosophical entanglements and whimsies of Schrodinger and the physicist Hugh Everett. It is playful, amused ad amusing and it pulls off a beautiful ending that might have been trite, but instead is triste. Four hundred pages seems just the right length" (Tom Adair The Scotsman)"The pleasure of this book is the way in which, with its inclusive references to everything, from history to quantum physics, Buddhist practices to literary theory, Silicon Valley to Japanese temples, it stretches the boundaries of the novel while managing to remain intensely readable" (Diana Hendry The Spectator)"Nao is one of the most sharply realised narrative voices in recent memory, a kind of Holden Caulfield for today... Ozeki can pluck at the heart strings like a samisen, offering moments that bring hand to mouth in both horror and joy" (Sydney Sunday Herald)"Nao is an irresistible character: inquisitive, funny and world weary but heartbreakingly vulnerable... A Tale for the Time Being achieves an impressive balancing act: it's a book that is profound but never earnest" (Weekend Australian)"Ozeki's real skill is in blending concept and story so beautifully. The result is a novel that is clever on many levels but also immensely readable" (New Zealand Herald on Sunday)"An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once" (Los Angeles Times)"In Nao, Ozeki draws an unforgettable character" (The Globe and Mail)"Ruth Ozeki's enchanting A Tale for the Time Being is a must-read" (Good Housekeeping)"Sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigour" (Publishers Weekly)"It is a novel for all ages and Ozeki defies time by openly confronting it" (Irish Times)"A culture-crossing network of yarns in the vein of Haruki Murakami or his sort-of-disciple, David Mitchell" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)"It will stay with the reader well after the next few Booker longlists have come and gone" (Literary Review)"An example of fiction's ability to highlight pertinent issues in the real world" (New Statesman)"A pacy yarn that's enlivened by its evocative, and brilliantly described, settings" (Daily Mail)"A complete triumph" (Stylist)"This is a beautifully-written story with even the least important character fully formed . . . The separate but linked tales of Ruth and Nao are gripping (and the teenager's diary eerily authentic). Both Japan and Canada are described with great beauty. This book should win and I'd be thrilled if it did" (Country Life)
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