Nominated by:

Winnipeg Public Libraries, Canada

Cork City Libraries, Ireland

Stichting Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, USA

New Hampshire State Library, Concord, USA

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA

San Francisco Public Library, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Canongate Books, UK

Viking Penguin, USA

Viking Canada

A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki      

2015 Longlist

‘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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Ruth Ozeki is an award-winning novelist and filmmaker. She is the author of My Year of Meats, All Over Creation and A Tale for the Time Being which was shortlist for the Man Booker in 2013. Ozeki was born and raised in Connecticut, by an American father and Japanese mother. In June 2010 she was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest. She divides her time between British Columbia and New York.

Librarians’ Comments

An enthralling meditation on beauty, brutality, and humanity, with Buddhism, quantum physics, and humour thrown in.

A variant on the old message in a bottle story, this novel examines the philosophy of life, death and suicide, war and conscience and the identity at the core of every human being. Clever and enlightening, Ozeki draws a cast of memorable characters, bringing a quiet peace to the complexity of modern and age-old conumdrums.

How do a century-old modern-thinking Buddhist nun, a WW2 kamikaze pilot, a bullied 16-year-old Japanese schoolgirl on the verge of suicide, her suicidal father, a struggling memoirist on the remote island of British Columbia, Time, Being, Proust, language, philosophy, globan warming, and the 2011 Japanese tsunami connect? In this brilliantly plotted and absorbing, layered novel, one can find the theme in a quote from Proust, quoted by Ozeki, “In reality, every reader, while he is reading, is the reader of his own self.”

Ruth Ozeki’s novel provides beautiful language, a multi-layered plot and a treatise on the philosophy of life.

This is the story of 16-year-old Nao, a victim of bullying in the Tokyo school, and her relationship with her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Across the ocean, Ruth, a novelist, discovers Nao’s diary washed ashore and is drawn into Nao’s drama and mysterious fate. It is a humorous, inventive and emotionally engaging novel.

The story of an alienated Japanese teenager, her Buddhist nun-cum-great-grandmother, and an American novelist named Ruth, who discovers the teen’s diary washed up on the Washington coast, possibly as the result of the 2011 tsunami. A magical tale of loneliness, desperation, hope and transcendence, it is as fine a novel as was written in 2013.

A Tale for the Time Being is comtemporary and historical; humorous and spiritual. It is the richly layerd story of the character Ruth who finds a washed-up lunchbox containing cluses which bring her into another life, that of 16-year-old Nao in Tokyo. A brilliant and imaginative novel.

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