Timecode of a Face

Ruth Ozeki

Timecode of a Face by Ruth Ozeki (Paperback ISBN 9781838855901) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook, Downloadable audio

A revelatory treatise from the Booker-shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being about how her face has shaped and been shaped by her life

What did your face look like before your parents were born? Who are you? What is your true self? These are the questions in Ruth Ozeki’s mind as she challenges herself to spend three hours gazing into her own reflection, recording every thought and detail.

What follows are a lifetime’s worth of meditations on race, ageing, family, death, the body, self-doubt and, finally, acceptance. In this profound encounter with memory and the mirror, Ozeki weaves together personal history, professional experience, Zen philosophy, Japanese culture and more to paint a rich, intimate and utterly unique portrait of a life as told through a face.


“Strange in the best sense, plus funny, moving and deeply wise”
san Francisco Chronicle

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The Face, as with the best of literary nonfiction, incorporates elements of memoir and essay, conjecture and meditation, allowing the reader to accompany each author as [she] creates a text that is utterly unique and universally affecting … funny, sad and profound”
los Angeles Review Of Books

“Throughout Ozeki’s essay her refreshing and cultivated wisdom leads us through the mind of a compassionate, grounded human and a writer of real integrity”
electric Literature

”Praise for The Book of Form and Emptiness: Heart-breaking and heart-healing – a book to not only keep us absorbed but also to help us think and love and live and listen. No one writes quite like Ruth Ozeki and The Book of Form and Emptiness is a triumph”
Matt Haig

”Praise for A Tale for the Time Being: 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


Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of four novels: My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and translated into 28 languages, and The Book of Form and Emptiness. She has also written a short memoir, Timecode of a Face. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foundation and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she teaches creative writing at Smith College and is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.

ruthozeki.com