A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a book about two lives living on either sides of the Pacific that get entwined by a diary. How one of these lives influences the other is for the readers to find out.
Summary Of The Book
Sixteen-year-old Naoko Yasutani, a Japanese girl, who was forced to return to her homeland when her father lost his high-tech job in the US, is penning a diary that she considers as her extended suicide note. In her diary, Nao writes not just about her tragic life story, one that is riddled with loneliness, poverty, and peer bullying, but also the uplifting tale of her great grandmother, Jiko, a Buddhist nun. Nao is determined that until she completes this story, she will not end her life.
Many years later, on the other side of the Pacific, Ruth finds this diary on the shores of British Columbia, and considers the possibility of it being leftover from the devastating 2011 tsunami. Nao’s pages fascinate Ruth, who then scrambles through the internet to find out more about this Japanese girl. With each page that Ruth reads in the diary, she is pulled further into Nao’s past and equally propelled into her future. How does this diary influence Ruth?
Written in a very engaging manner, A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is replete with relationships between facts and fictions, the present and the past, and the writer and the reader of the diary. This is a tale that affords readers a peek into the typical Japanese culture, and simultaneously takes an assessment of the Western customs. The book revolves around little things like human emotions and drama, and also throws light on the large things in life like Zen meditation, climate change, and quantum mechanics.
A Tale For The Time Being was a New York Times bestseller. The book also featured on the NPR Fiction Bestseller List. It was Ozeki’s first publication to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013, and won her the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award.
About Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki is a Canadian-American writer, a Zen Buddhist priest, and a filmmaker.
Ozeki’s other much-read works include Halving The Bones, My Year Of Meats, and All Over Creation.
Born in Connecticut, Ozeki studied classical Japanese literature at Nara University, Nara. For quite a few years, she taught at a Japanese school. In 1985, Ozeki moved to New York, where she embarked on her career in the film industry. As a filmmaker, Ozeki has directed many documentaries, TV programs, and films. She is a recipient of many honors and awards. Ozeki is also a Zen Buddhist affiliated to the Brooklyn Zen Center.