A Tale for the Time Being

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.

A brilliant, unforgettable novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki — shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Man Booker 2013 Shortlist (logo)

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.

An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once.
— David Ulin, Los Angeles Times
Ozeki takes on big themes . . . drawn into the stories of two ‘time beings,’ Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound.
The New York Times Book Review
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
As Ozeki explores the ties between reader and writer, she offers a lesson in redemption that reinforces the pricelessness of the here and now.

PRINT Awards

  • Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award for Foreign Literature, Leo Tolstoy Museum & Estate, 2015
  • International IMPAC Dublin Award (longlist), 2015
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, 2013
  • Man Booker Prize (shortlist), 2013
  • National Book Critics Circle Award (finalist), 2014
  • John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, 2014
  • Medici Book Club Prize, 2014
  • Kitschies Red Tentacle Prize (UK), 2013
  • Association for Asian American Studies, Creative Writing: Prose Book Award, 2015
  • Canada-Japan Literary Award, 2014
  • New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, 2013
  • Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction, 2013
  • Salon Magazine Best Book Award, 2013
  • Independent Booksellers Book Award (UK), 2013
  • The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic, 2014
  • PEN Open Book Award (longlist), 2014
  • ALA Notabe Book for Adult Fiction, 2014
  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, 2014
  • Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, 2014
  • BookPage Best Book, 2013
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2013
  • ABA Indies Choice Book Award (honoree), 2014
  • Goodreads Choice Award for Best Fiction (nominee), 2013
  • Le Prix Littéraire des Lycéennes (Elle Magazine, France), 2014

AUDIO Awards

  • AudioFile Earphones Award, 2013

Now available in paperback

At local bookstores and online retailers as an audiobook, ebook, hardcover, and now in paperback, too.