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 Notable 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.