Praise for A Tale for the Time Being
"An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once."
-David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
"As contemporary as a Japanese teenager's slang but as ageless as a Zen koan, Ruth Ozeki's new novel combines great storytelling with a probing investigation into the purpose of existence. . . . She plunges us into a tantalizing narration that brandishes mysteries to be solved and ideas to be explored. . . . Ozeki's profound affection for her characters makes A Tale for the Time Being as emotionally engaging as it is intellectually provocative."
-The Washington Post
"Sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Nao Yasutani's voice is the heart and soul of this very satisfying book. . . . The teenage tone rings true, right down to a few well-placed 'OMG!'s. And it's this tone that grounds the novel. . . . Ozeki's book is unique, but it's also familiar. The contemporary Japanese style and use of magical realism is reminiscent of author Haruki Murakami."
"A delightful yet sometimes harrowing novel . . . Many of the elements of Nao's story-schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal 'salarymen,' kamikaze pilots-are among a Western reader's most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao's telling, refracted through Ruth's musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful. Ozeki takes on big themes . . . all drawn into the stories of two 'time beings,' Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound."
-The New York Times Book Review
"A terrific novel full of breakthroughs both personal and literary. . . . Ozeki revels in Tokyo teen culture-this goes far beyond Hello Kitty-and explores quantum physics, military applications of computer video games, Internet bullying, and Marcel Proust, all while creating a vulnerable and unique voice for the sixteen-year-old girl at its center. . . . Ozeki has produced a dazzling and humorous work of literary origami. . . . Nao's voice-funny, profane and deep-is stirring and unforgettable as she ponders the meaning of her life."
-The Seattle Times
"Beautifully written, intensely readable and richly layered . . . one of the best books of the year so far."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"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, The Oprah Magazine
"Forget the proverbial message in a bottle: This Tale fractures clichés as it affirms the lifesaving power of words. . . . As Ozeki explores the ties between reader and writer, she offers a lesson in redemption that reinforces the pricelessness of the here and now."
"A powerful yarn of fate and parallel lives."
"Ozeki weaves together Nao's adolescent yearnings with Ruth's contemplative digressions, adding bits of Zen wisdom, as well as questions about agency, creativity, life, death, and human connections along the way. A Tale for the Time Being is a dreamy, spiritual investigation of how to gracefully meet the waves of time, which, in the end, come for us all."
-The Daily Beast
"As we read Nao's story and the story of Ozeki's reading of it, as we go back and forth between the text and the notes, time expands for us. It opens up onto something resembling narrative eternity . . . page after page, slowly unfolding. And what a beautiful effect that is for a novel to create."
-Alan Cheuse, NPR's All Things Considered
"Superb . . . her best and most adventurous novel to date . . . likely to leave readers feeling its emotional impact for a long time to come."
"Magnificent . . . brings together a Japanese girl's diary and a transplanted American novelist to meditate on everything from bullying to the nature of conscience and the meaning of life. . . . The novel's seamless web of language, metaphor, and meaning can't be disentangled from its powerfulshow more