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 cliches 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 powerful emotional impact: These are characters we care for deeply, imparting vital life lessons through the magic of storytelling. A masterpiece, pure and simple.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
An intriguing, even beautiful narrative remarkable for its unusual but attentively structured plot. . . . We go from one story line to the other, back and forth across the Pacific, but the reader never loses place or interest.
Booklist (starred review)
Ozeki s absorbing novel is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time. . . . The characters lives are finely drawn, from Ruth s rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani family s straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, California, to Tokyo. Nao s winsome voice contrasts with Ruth s intellectual ponderings to make up a lyrical disquisition on writing s power to transcend time and place. This tale from Ozeki, a Zen Buddhist priest, is sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigor.
An extraordinary novel about a courageous young woman, riven 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 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 bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page.
Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winnerand author of ThisIs How You Lose Her
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 its often miraculous results.
Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones
Ingenious and touching. . . . I read it with great pleasure.
Philip Pullman, award-winning author of The Golden Compass
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. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring andtrue.
Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles
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.
Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
A great achievement, and 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 we love and who matter.
Jane Hamilton, bestselling author of A Map of the World
Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozeki s novel proves that truly great stories like this one can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity.
Deborah Harkness, bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night
I ve long been an admirer of Ruth Ozeki s work, and her exquisite, richly textured novel, A Tale for the Time Being, marks the stunning return of a writer at the height of her powers. Seamlessly weaving together tales of the past and present that are equally magical and heartbreaking, she transports us to the worlds of Nao and Jiko, in Japan, and Ruth, on a remote island in British Columbia, where their worlds collide as they reach across time to find the meaning of life and home. . . . A wise and wonderfully inventive story that will resonate through time.
Gail Tsukiyama, bestselling author of The Samurai s Garden"show more