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A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel by Ruth…
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A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel

by Ruth L. Ozeki

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,7181743,220 (4.07)1 / 317
  1. 20
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (bibliothequaire)
  2. 21
    To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (pamelahuffman)
    pamelahuffman: In both books there are people in the present trying to make sense of journals and artifacts from the past. Loved both books.
  3. 00
    Hiroshima in the Morning by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Ozeki' s novel and Rizzuto's memoir are about daughters of Japanese mothers & American fathers who are trying to come to terms with world war 2 in the aftermath of 9/11. They're very different books, but both explore issues of mothering, memory, and loss.… (more)
  4. 02
    1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (urban_lenny)
    urban_lenny: Similar concepts of multiple worlds
  5. 04
    Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (tobiejonzarelli)
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English (166)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (171)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
There is so much going on in this book! It seems like it is Ozeki's magnum opus, covering Japan and the west coast of BC, French literature, Soto Zen Buddhism, life and death, suicide, the relationship between reader and writer, bullying and social pressure, trauma, war and pacifism, natural disasters, the environment, sex work, quantum physics, memory, et cetera! It is quite dark and heavy, but rightfully so, doing justice to such profound subjects. This really earned its five stars. It's an incredible effort. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
I think this is a remarkable novel, well deserved to be shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2013. It is the first time that I have awarded a book five stars. For me it ticked all of the boxes, it is beautifully written. The character of Nao comes alive through the reading of her diary, drawing you into her world, were the brutality of some of the things she has to endure is counterbalanced by the spiritual guidance and love she receives from Old Jiko, her great grandmother. You can't help but share in Ruth's determination to find out what has happened to Nao and her family. The novel left me with a heightened sense of the here and now, as each person's individual destiny can be altered, in a single moment, that's all it takes to destroy lives. Equally the same moment in time may have no consequences if influenced by a different set of circumstances. It also left me feeling a bit sad and strangely optimistic at the same time too. If you like to think deeply, this is definitely the novel for you. I expect that I will return to this novel in the future and re-read it again, because one reading just doesn't seem to do it justice. ( )
  marjorie.mallon | Mar 27, 2019 |
I read this book recently as "preparation" for a trip to Japan. It succeeded as a good read, and in painting a picture of Japan.
I found the structure a little too quirky at first, and lacking a little in substance. But I was wrong on both counts. The two-voice narration worked wonderfully, and the girlish voice of one narrator was in character, and we came along on the ride as she grew and grew.
I loved it. ( )
  mbmackay | Mar 21, 2019 |
I more or less enjoyed reading it while it lasted, finding the narrative of the girl Nao fascinating and heartbreaking. The Ruth side was more puzzling--not sure I found it so compelling. The author had a pretty good and real grasp of Japan, but I found one or two translations a bit strained, didn't make complete sense. Overall, not particularly earth-shattering, but entertaining enough. ( )
  emanate28 | Mar 14, 2019 |
Hmm... a little zen, a little Japanese. A little bit about suicide and a little bit about storytelling. A happier ending than I might have anticipated, but there's nothing wrong with that. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
In clever and deeply affecting ways, Ruth Ozeki’s luminous new novel explores notions of duality, causation, honour, and time. ... Though [the character] Ruth is clearly intended as a semi-autobiographical portrait of the author, it’s the character of Nao, in all her angsty adolescent dismissiveness, that Ozeki truly pulls off (here’s an author who should be writing YA novels).
 
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is expansive, provocative and sometimes rather confusing. But that’s okay. It’s supposed to be....It can leave you scratching your head – for starters, the main character of the novel seems to be Ruth Ozeki herself, or at least, a fairly obvious facsimile of her – but ultimately, the effect of such riddles is charming, earnest and very much a departure from your typical literary novel....Like them, Ozeki manages to turn existential conundrums into a playful, joyful and pleasantly mind-bending dialogue between reader and writer. Here’s hoping that this book will find its way to an audience just as excited to participate in it.
added by zhejw | editGlobe and Mail, Lucy Silag (Mar 29, 2013)
 
"A Tale for the Time Being"... is an exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.

[It's] heady stuff, but it hangs together for a couple of reasons — the exuberance of Ozeki's writing, the engaging nature of her characters and, not least, her scrupulous insistence that it doesn't have to hang together, that even as she ties up loose ends, others come unbound.
added by zhejw | editLos Angeles Times, David Ulin (Mar 21, 2013)
 
Seen from space, or from the vantage point of those conversant with Zen principles, A Tale for the Time Being is probably a deep and illuminating piece of work, with thoughtful things to say about the slipperiness of time. But for those positioned lower in the planet's stratosphere, Ozeki's novel often feels more like the great Pacific gyre it frequently evokes: a vast, churning basin of mental flotsam in which Schrödinger's cat, quantum mechanics, Japanese funeral rituals, crow species, fetish cafes, the anatomy of barnacles, 163 footnotes and six appendices all jostle for attention. It's an impressive amount of stuff.

One version of you might be intrigued. Another might pray it doesn't land on your shore.
added by zhejw | editThe Guardian, Liz Jensen (Mar 15, 2013)
 
If you’re a fan of the metaphysician Martin Heidegger, or the physicist Erwin Schrödinger, you will be pleased at the novel’s tip of the hat to their abstruse notions of time and sub-atomic space. There’s even an appendix to the novel explaining the “thought experiment” known to the world as “Schrödinger’s cat...But the novel suffers from a tinge of self satisfaction. It pits sensitive souls like the involuntary kamikaze pilot who loves French literature against brutal army officers, and it’s not a fair fight. The fight becomes Us — readers who derive spiritual sustenance from Marcel Proust, and appreciate “the value of kindness, of education, of independent thinking and liberal ideals” — versus Them, who are sheer brutes.
 
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Canonical title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Masako,
for now and forever.
First words
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.
Quotations
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Een oude boeddha zei eens:

In de tijd, staan op de hoogste bergtop,
In de tijd, afdalen naar de bodem van de diepste zee,
In de tijd, een duivel met drie koppen en acht armen,
In de tijd, een vijf meter hoge boeddha van goud,
In de tijd, een monniksstaf of de vliegenmepper van een meester,
In de tijd, een pilaar of een lantaarn,
In de tijd, Jan en alleman,
In de tijd, de hele aarde en de eindeloze hemel.

- Dõgen Zenji, Bestaan in de tijd'
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Depui un bar à hotêsses de Tokyo , Nao raconte de histoires : la sienne , ado déracinée , martyrisée par es camarades ; celle de sa fascinante aïeule , nonne zen de cent quatre ans ; de son grand-oncle kamikaze , passionné de poésie ; de son père qui cherche sur le net la recette du suicide parfait . Des intants de vie qu'elle veut confier avant de disparaître . Ruth s'interroge : et si elle , romancière en mal d'inspiration , avait le pouvoir de réécrire le destin de Nao , Serait il possible alors d'unir le passé et le présent ? La terre et le ciel ?
Haiku summary
Schoolgirls, Buddhist nuns
tsunami brings quantum gifts
From Japan to here
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670026638, Hardcover)

A brilliant, unforgettable, and long-awaited novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

Full of Ozeki’s signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.  


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:21 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace--and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox--possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao's drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future. Full of Ozeki's signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, this is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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