“I am a time being. 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.”
The cover of A Tale for the Time Being first caught my eye back in March of 2013. Since then I have been itching to buy a copy and read it for myself. Alas, in an effort to save money I stopped myself from buying the beautiful hardcover edition from Chapters, and waited patiently in hopes of stumbling across a copy at a used book store at some point in the near future.
Well, two years passed, and as I was browsing through the stacks at the Book Outlet’s boxing day sale, I stumbled across a paperback of A Tale for the Time Being for 50% off! It was fate! I immediately scooped it up, took it home, and curled up on the couch with it. I’m happy to report that my two years of waiting were definitely worth it! A Tale for the Time Being was absolutely beautiful! Ruth Ozeki’s writing is pure perfection, and I inhaled her words like oxygen!
The story focuses on two women: Nao, a teenage girl in Japan who is the victim of horrible bullying, and Ruth, a writer living in the wilderness on the coast of British Columbia. While walking on the beach one day, Ruth discovers Nao’s diary washed up on the shore. Reading through the diary, Ruth learns of Nao’s struggle to make friends, her father’s dismal unemployment, and the girl’s growing thoughts of suicide. Ruth becomes obsessed with uncovering Nao’s fate, yet every instance of her life appears to have been wiped off the face of the earth. Full of emotion and feeling, reader’s will become as determined as Ruth to discover the secret behind Nao’s outcome.
From the first page I was immediately intrigued by Nao. Reading her diary made her feel like a real, living, breathing human, and in many ways she was. Sadly, Nao’s struggles are not unlike those of many girls around the world. Maybe that was why I became so attached to her. I was hoping that her life would have a happier ending then many of the other girls out there who have been pushed to the brink by bullying and depression.
Despite becoming obsessed with discovering Nao’s fate, I actually read this book very slowly. Ozeki’s words aren’t meant to be rushed through but digested over time. In the story itself, Ruth forces herself to read only one section of Nao’s diary per day, in order better comprehend each of the entries more fully. Ironically, I ended up doing the same thing, and it was almost like the author had built the pacing into her book on purpose.
Overall, without giving away any spoilers I can say that A Tale for the Time Being is a beautiful and powerful book that I would highly recommend! It will pluck at your heartstrings and make you ache for more. It’s been a month since I finished the story, and I still can’t stop thinking about it! As Nao says “And if you decide not to read anymore, hey, no problem, because you’re not the one I was waiting for anyway. But if you decide to read on, then guess what? You’re my kind of time being and together we’ll make magic!”
Rating: 5 Stars!