A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING
by Ruth Ozeki
3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, March 22, 2013!
About the Book:
A brilliant, unforgettable, and long-awaited novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki
“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.
Exclusive Interview with the Author!
1) What do you do in your spare time when you're not writing?
I like hanging out with my Zen sanghas, sitting zazen and generally helping out. Writing is so solitary, so this kind of community activity is a welcome counterpoint. I study and read a lot, too, which is the not-writing part of writing. I also like to run. This is new. I used to dislike exercise and found it boring, but I’m older now, and I need to stay in shape if I want to keep writing. Last year I downloaded a training app, and now I’m running between nine and twelve miles a week. I’m a very slow runner, but I enjoy it, and this year I want to try entering a race. I’ll start with a 10K. My dream is to run a marathon some day.
2) What's up next for you?
I’m working on a new novel, but it’s nascent, and so I don’t know much about it yet, except that it’s probably set in a library. The problem with being a writer is that one’s range of direct experience tends to narrow until the only thing one really knows about is writing books, which is why, eventually, most writers end up writing books about writers and books. So setting a story in a library is kind of inevitable. But I hope it will be a very exciting library.
3) What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
A sense of the way we and the world are interconnected through time and space. Gratitude for the precious and fleeting time we have here on this earth. An appreciation of the earth, itself, and maybe a resolve to treat it more kindly. The earth is a time being, too.
4) What inspired you to write this book?
If there’s one Buddhist notion at the heart of this book, it’s what Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing,” the idea that we are all deeply and inextricably connected with each other. In our globalized world, this has never been clearer. “Local” is now as wide as the ocean and vast as the sky.
5) Let's talk about your main character, Ruth. How did you think her up and is there any of you in her?
I would call her semi-fictional (although if pressed, I would have to call myself semi-fictional, too). Character Ruth and author Ruth have much in common—a husband named Oliver, a mother with Alzheimer’s, a house on an island in Desolation Sound—but character Ruth has a more limited perspective and a different set of experiences. For example, character Ruth learns about Zen meditation from Nao, whereas author Ruth has been meditating for decades. Stuff like that.
I like to think of it as playing out a series of “what if...?” propositions, and then following them through to a logical conclusion. What if I had never started practicing Zen? What if I stumbled across a Hello Kitty lunchbox on the beach and found a diary? What kind of Ruth would I be? I also like to think of it in terms of the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics (something that fiction writers can’t seem to get enough of!), which would posit that character Ruth and author Ruth (and many other Ruths as well) all do exist, only in different quantum realities. The antithesis of ruthlessness!
About the Author:
Ruth Ozeki, author of the award-winning novel MY YEAR OF MEATS, worked for more than a decade in television and film. Her documentary and dramatic films have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country. Visit the author online at: www.RuthOzeki.com.
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