A Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki

Do you know what a time being is? Well, if you give me a moment, I will tell you. 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 Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Paperback ISBN 9781786893901) book cover

Available as Paperback, Downloadable audio, eBook

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this is a timeless and compassionate novel about what it means to be human

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami, Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home in British Columbia. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes, heartbreak and dreams of a young girl desperate for someone to understand her. Each turn of the page pulls Ruth deeper into the mystery of Nao’s life, and forever changes her in a way neither could foresee.

Weaving across continents and decades, A Tale for the Time Being is an extraordinary novel about our shared humanity and the search for home.


“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

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“A triumph … 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
sunday Times

“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 Díaz

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

“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


Ruth Ozeki

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.

ruthozeki.com | @ozekiland