A Tale for the Time Being
A couple of years after the devastating 2011 tsunami, a woman finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the wave, containing a diary—washed up on the shore of her remote island home in the Pacific Northwest. The woman is an American novelist with writer's block; the diary belongs to a troubled Japanese schoolgirl who's contemplating "dropping out of time," by committing suicide. Ruth is determined to find the girl and get her help, but how? And even stranger—as she acts on the diary's clues and begins reaching out to people who may know the teen's family, the words in the diary begin changing. This was a WEIRD book, a real brain-bender. I found it fascinating, but heads up: the content is strange, sad, and gritty.
A brilliant, unforgettable novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki—shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award
“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.