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Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013
Ruth Ozeki is an award-winning novelist and filmmaker. Her third novel, A Tale for the Time Being won the 2013 Independent Booksellers Book Award and the Kitchies Red Tentacle Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 and the National Book Critics Award for Fiction. She is also the author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. 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. Follow @ozekiland on Twitter www.ruthozeki.com
* Bewitching, intelligent and heartbreaking ... Nao is an inspired narrator and her quest to tell her great grandmother's story, to connect with her past and with the larger world, is both aching and true. Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists and here she is at her absolute best -- Junot Diaz * A Tale for the Time Being is a timeless story. Ruth Ozeki beautifully renders not only the devastation of the collision between man and the natural world, but also the often miraculous results of it. She is a deeply intelligent and humane writer who offers her insights with a grace that beguiles. I truly love this novel -- Alice Sebold * This is one of the most deeply moving and thought-provoking novels I have read in a long time. In precise and luminous prose, Ozeki captures both the sweep and detail of our shared humanity, moving seamlessly between Nao's story and our own -- Madeline Miller author of THE SONG OF ACHILLES * Ingenious and touching, A Tale for the Time Being is also highly readable. And interesting: the contrast of cultures is especially well done -- Philip Pullman * A beautifully interwoven novel about magic and loss and the incomprehensible threads that connect our lives. I just finished it, and loved it -- Elizabeth Gilbert author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE * A Tale for the Time Being is a downright miraculous book that will captivate you from the very first page. Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozeki proves that truly great stories - like this one - can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity -- Deborah Harkness author of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES * There is far too much to say about this remarkable and ambitious book in a few sentences. This is for real and not just another hyped-up blurb. A Tale For the Time Being is a great achievement, and it is the work of a writer at the height of her powers. Ruth Ozeki has not only reinvigorated the novel itself, the form, but she's given us the tried and true, deep and essential pleasure of characters who we love and who matter -- Jane Hamilton author of A MAP OF THE WORLD * A Tale for the Time Being is equal parts mystery and meditation. The mystery is a compulsive, gritty page-turner. The meditation -- on time and memory, on the oceanic movement of history, on impermanence and uncertainty, but also resilience and bravery - is deep and gorgeous and wise. A completely satisfying, continually surprising, wholly remarkable achievement, this is a book to be read and reread -- Karen Joy Fowler author of THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB * Funny, heartbreaking, moving and profound... The warmth, compassion, wisdom and insight with which Ozeki pieces all these stories together will have the reader linked in a similarly profound way to this fantastic novel -- Doug Johnstone Independent * Ozeki explores what it means to be human in this moment, right now (Nao). Her novel is saturated with love, ideas and compassion. In short, an absolute treat -- Lucy Atkins The Sunday Times * Packed with philosophical asides about time, and is unexpectedly moving -- Kate Saunders The Times * A huge, compassionate and cleverly wrought novel -- Natasha Lehrer TLS * This novel on belonging and time is a triumph The Sunday Times * A Chinese box of a novel -- Claire Allfree Metro * Dualities, overlaps, time shifts and coincidences are the currents that move A Tale for the Time Being... Even the book's title shimmers and shifts shape upon study The New York Times * A compelling coming-of-age story Sunday Telegraph * A story saturated with love, ideas and compassion The Sunday Times best books to read this summer * Part fantasy, part mystery, part page-turner -- Sam Baker Harper Bazaar * As emotionally engaging as it is -intellectually provocative Washington Post * Ruth Ozeki's wonderful, intricate novel encompasses both global catastrophe and tiny human potentialities... It is enough to say that this is a novel of subtlety and delicacy which is, above all, a celebration of our shared humanity and an affirmation of the myriad possibilities we all carry within us New Internationalist * A sheer work of brilliance More2Read * [This] could revolutionise our reading habits -- David Robinson The Scotsman * Ozeki masterfully develops the two parallel stories, creating a virtual dialogue between the blocked writer and the diarist, who confides, "I'm reaching forward through time to touch you" Washington Post * Masterfully woven. Entwining Japanese language with WWII history, pop culture with Proust, Zen with quantum mechanics, Ozeki alternates between the voices of two women to produce a spellbinding tale O, Oprah Magazine * This is a book which will absorb you from the very beginning and which will stay with you long after you have finished reading it Spalding Guardian * An ingenious, multi-layered novel that, quite possibly because of those layers, works on so many levels - thrilling us, magicking us, prompting us to pause and reflect... A Tale For The Time Being, her third and finest novel yet, is in a league all of its own -- Malcolm Forbes the National * A Tale For The Time Being defies synopsis. It incorporates a Zen Buddhist view of the world into the philosophical entanglements and whimsies of Schrodinger and the physicist Hugh Everett. It is playful, amused ad amusing and it pulls off a beautiful ending that might have been trite, but instead is triste. Four hundred pages seems just the right length -- Tom Adair The Scotsman * The pleasure of this book is the way in which, with its inclusive references to everything, from history to quantum physics, Buddhist practices to literary theory, Silicon Valley to Japanese temples, it stretches the boundaries of the novel while managing to remain intensely readable -- Diana Hendry The Spectator * Nao is one of the most sharply realised narrative voices in recent memory, a kind of Holden Caulfield for today... Ozeki can pluck at the heart strings like a samisen, offering moments that bring hand to mouth in both horror and joy Sydney Sunday Herald * Nao is an irresistible character: inquisitive, funny and world weary but heartbreakingly vulnerable... A Tale for the Time Being achieves an impressive balancing act: it's a book that is profound but never earnest Weekend Australian * Ozeki's real skill is in blending concept and story so beautifully. The result is a novel that is clever on many levels but also immensely readable New Zealand Herald on Sunday * An exquisite novel: funny, tragic, hard-edged and ethereal at once Los Angeles Times * In Nao, Ozeki draws an unforgettable character The Globe and Mail * Ruth Ozeki's enchanting A Tale for the Time Being is a must-read Good Housekeeping * Sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigour Publishers Weekly * It is a novel for all ages and Ozeki defies time by openly confronting it Irish Times * A culture-crossing network of yarns in the vein of Haruki Murakami or his sort-of-disciple, David Mitchell -- Boyd Tonkin Independent * It will stay with the reader well after the next few Booker longlists have come and gone Literary Review * An example of fiction's ability to highlight pertinent issues in the real world New Statesman * A pacy yarn that's enlivened by its evocative, and brilliantly described, settings Daily Mail * A complete triumph Stylist * This is a beautifully-written story with even the least important character fully formed ... The separate but linked tales of Ruth and Nao are gripping (and the teenager's diary eerily authentic). Both Japan and Canada are described with great beauty. This book should win and I'd be thrilled if it did Country Life
Ozeki's absorbing third novel (after All Over Creation) is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time: "time beings." Nao Yasutani is a Japanese schoolgirl who plans to "drop out of time"-to kill herself as a way of escaping her dreary life. First, though, she intends to write in her diary the life story of her great-grandmother Jiko, a Zen Buddhist nun. But Nao actually ends up writing her own life story, and the diary eventually washes up on the shore of Canada's Vancouver Island, where a novelist called Ruth lives. Ruth finds the diary in a freezer bag with some old letters in French and a vintage watch. Ruth's investigation into how the bag traveled from Japan to her island, and why it contains what it does, alternates with Nao's chapters. The characters' lives are finely drawn, from Ruth's rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani family's straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, Calif., to Tokyo. Nao's winsome voice contrasts with Ruth's intellectual ponderings to make up a lyrical disquisition on writing's power to transcend time and place. This tale from Ozeki, a Zen Buddhist priest, is sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigor. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Mar. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Ozeki's beautifully crafted work, which arrives a decade after her last novel, All Over Creation, strives to unravel the mystery of a 16-year-old Japanese American girl's diary found washed ashore in Whaletown, British Columbia. Born in Sunnyvale, CA, Nao logs her diary entries from Japan since her father returned the family there following the burst of the dot-com bubble. Ozeki creates a host of colorful tales surrounding Nao and her 104-year-old great-grandmother, Jiko, a Buddhist nun, and great uncle Haruki, who was a kamikaze pilot in World War II. Meanwhile, in Canada, author Ruth and her husband, Oliver, are reading Nao's entries in the year 2012, wondering whether the diary is debris from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, and whether Nao is still alive. VERDICT Ozeki adeptly intertwines past and present while weaving bits of history into her stories. Topics such as bullying, politics, depression, suicidal tendencies, and Buddhism are explored throughout, and as in previous novels, Ozeki validates her gift for writing prose that raises thought-provoking issues for readers to ponder long after finishing the book. [See Prepub Alert, 9/24/12.]-Shirley Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.