A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki

a tale for the time being cover

A Tale for the Time Being is a story of two women, two writers, two “time beings” from two different times.

“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.”

Sound a bit wacky? That’s because it is. But in such a good way. This book actually blew my mind.

A Tale for the Time Being is a rich and complex novel about time. How we choose to live and to die. The concepts of time; Buddhist philosophies, scientific theories, and dreams that perhaps bend the passage of time itself.

I highly recommend picking up this book. If you like Murakami then this is for you. Be warned though, it includes content of suicide and vicious school bullying.


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 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 a 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. 

“Life is fleeting. Don’t waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!”

My Book 11 of 2019

A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Awards and Recognition: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013; Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee 2014

Published: 2013

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 384


  • Meditate more
  • Learn about the teachings of Zen master Dogen Zenji
  • Read another Ozeki novel
  • Read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time

“Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It’s your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It’s a good thing not a bad thing.”

Click here for my current 2019 reading list


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