Common Reading Selection

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki


A brilliant, unforgettable novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki—shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

“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.

(Penguin/Random House)


Author Ruth Ozeki (Photo by Kris Krug)

About the Author

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her critically acclaimed independent films, including Halving the Bones, have been screened at Sundance and aired on PBS. A longtime Buddhist practitioner, Ozeki ordained in 2010 and is affiliated with the Brooklyn Zen Center and the Everyday Zen Foundation. She lives in British Columbia and New York City, and is currently the Elizabeth Drew Professor of Creative Writing at Smith College.

(Penguin/Random House)

Meet the Author 

The First College Year is proud to present Ruth Ozeki, author of the fall 2015 First-Year Common Reading, A Tale for the Time BEing. This rare and intimate on-campus visit will feature live discussion, selected readings and book signing. The event is free and open to the entire Brooklyn College community. Seating is first come, first served.

A Conversation with Ruth Ozeki
Thursday, October 8, 2015
12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Whitman Auditorium