Winner of the Imus American Book Award and the Kiriyama Book Prize.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"A sexy and funny cross-cultural tale of two seemingly disparate women that is a feast that leaves you hungry for whatever Ozeki cooks up next." Newsweek
"It's juicy, it's tender, it's bloody, it's sizzling." St. Louis Post Dispatch
"There is an ardent passion to the center of this novel...rare and provocative." USA Today
"...a novel as juicy as a good burger." Entertainment Weekly
"Robust, funny and insistently educational in tone, My Year of Meats deals with the cross-pollination of people and values, toxicity in meat, synthetic estrogens, camera angles and the ever-pertinent issue of perspective and reliability in the media. The only problem is that Ozeki's novel sometimes feels as much like a Lifetime movie as a complex, hard-hitting exposé." Salon
"A smart and compelling novel about a world we don't realize we live in."
Praise for A Tale for the Time Being
“Magnificent . . . brings together a Japanese girls diary and a transplanted American novelist to meditate on everything from bullying to the nature of conscience and the meaning of life. . . . The novels seamless web of language, metaphor, and meaning cant be disentangled from its powerful emotional impact: These are characters we care for deeply, imparting vital life lessons through the magic of storytelling. A masterpiece, pure and simple.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Ozekis absorbing novel is an extended meditation on writing, time, and people in time. . . . The characters lives are finely drawn, from Ruths rustic lifestyle to the Yasutani familys straitened existence after moving from Sunnyvale, California, to Tokyo. Naos winsome voice contrasts with Ruths intellectual ponderings to make up a lyrical disquisition on writings power to transcend time and place. This tale from Ozeki, a Zen Buddhist priest, is sure to please anyone who values a good story broadened with intellectual vigor.”
“Remarkable . . . A highly unusual and rewarding novel that covers a vast scope of often disturbing subjects with great humanity and continually loops back to the ever human dilemma of how to live through difficult times.”
“An extraordinary novel about a courageous young woman, riven by loneliness, by time, and (ultimately) by tsunami. Nao is an inspired narrator and her quest to tell her great grandmothers 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—bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of This Is How You Lose Her
“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 its often miraculous results.”
—Alice Sebold, bestselling author of The Lovely Bones
“Ingenious and touching. . . . I read it with great pleasure.”
—Philip Pullman, award-winning author of The Golden Compass
“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. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring and true.”
—Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles
“A Tale for the Time Being is equal parts mystery and meditation. The mystery is a compulsive, gritty page-turner. The meditation—on time and memory, on the oceanic movement of history, on impermanence and uncertainty, but also resilience and bravery—is deep and gorgeous and wise. A completely satisfying, continually surprising, wholly remarkable achievement.”
—Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“A great achievement, and the work of a writer at the height of her powers. Ruth Ozeki has not only reinvigorated the novel itself, the form, but shes given us the tried and true, deep and essential pleasure of characters we love and who matter.”
—Jane Hamilton, bestselling author of A Map of the World
“Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozekis novel proves that truly great stories—like this one—can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity.”
—Deborah Harkness, bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night
“Ive long been an admirer of Ruth Ozekis work, and her exquisite, richly textured novel, A Tale for the Time Being, marks the stunning return of a writer at the height of her powers. Seamlessly weaving together tales of the past and present that are equally magical and heartbreaking, she transports us to the worlds of Nao and Jiko, in Japan, and Ruth, on a remote island in British Columbia, where their worlds collide as they reach across time to find the meaning of life and home. . . . A wise and wonderfully inventive story that will resonate through time.”
—Gail Tsukiyama, bestselling author of The Samurais Garden
praise and="" em="" for="" ozeki="" ruth="">Praise for Ruth Ozeki and My Year of Meats
"Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists . . . bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page."
-Junot D�az, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of This Is How You Lose Her
"In precise and luminous prose, Ozeki captures both the sweep and detail of our shared humanity. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring and true."
-Madeline Miller, author of the Orange Prize winner The Song of Achilles
"Wonderfully wild and bracing . . . A feast that leaves you hungry for whatever Ozeki cooks up next."
"My Year of Meats pulsates with passion. . . . Ozeki's first novel detonates an attack on the meat industry that would make Upton Sinclair sit up and smile . . . yet all this energy doesn't obscure the novel's quirky charm."
"Ruth Ozeki masks a deeper purpose with a light tone . . . A comical-satirical-farcical-epical-tragical-romantical novel."
-Jane Smiley, Chicago Tribune
"An amazingly assured debut, My Year of Meats is a wonderfully irreverent novel, with wacky cross-cultural collisions and hilarious characters . . . a joy to read."
"Ozeki offers a remarkably fresh view of the rocky road many women travel to love and motherhood . . . one of the heartiest, and, yes, meatiest debuts in years."
"Romance, agri-business, self-discovery, cross-cultural misunderstanding-it takes a talent like Ruth Ozeki's to blend all these ingredients beautifully together. My Year of Meats is a sensitive and compelling portrait of two modern women."
-Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha
"Canny, cunning, muckraking, and lusty, weaving hormones and corporate threats, fertility and independence."
-The Village Voice
"A likeably odd and inventively imagined tale . . . Ozeki writes with the same over-the-top verve as fellow hyper-realist David Foster Wallace."
-Detroit Free Press�praise>
Veteran filmmaker Ruth Ozeki's novel has been hailed as "one of the heartiest and yes, meatiest debuts in years" (Glamour). It tells the story of a year in the lives of two ordinary women on opposite ends of the earth, brought together by a convergence of extraordinary circumstances. Jane, a struggling filmmaker in New York, is given her big break a chance to travel through the U.S. to produce a Japanese television program sponsored by an American meat exporting business. But along the way, she discovers some unsavory truths about love, honor, and a particularly damaging hormone called DES that wreaks havoc with her uterus. Meanwhile, Akiko, a painfully thin Japanese woman struggling with bulimia, is being pressured by her child-craving husband to put some meat on her bones literally. How Jane's and Akiko's lives intersect taps into some of the deepest concerns of our time how the past informs the present and how we live and love in an ever-shrinking world.
Jane, a struggling filmmaker, is producing a piece sponsored by the American meat exporting business, while Akiko's child-craving husband is pressuring her to put some meat on her bones--literally.
The perfect fiction companion to The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food
Now that Michael Pollan's New York Times bestsellers have opened up a national dialogue about where food really comes from, conscientious readers everywhere will want to devour My Year of Meats. When documentarian Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job producing a Japanese television show that just happens to be sponsored by the American meat-exporting industry, she begins to uncover some unsavory truths about love, fertility, and a very dangerous hormone called DES. A modern-day take on Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, veteran filmmaker Ruth Ozeki's novel has been hailed as "rare and provocative" (USA Today) and "up-to-the-minute" (Chicago Tribune).
A cross-cultural tale of two women brought together by the intersections of television and industrial agriculture, fertility and motherhood, life and lovethe breakout hit by the celebrated author of A Tale for the Time Being
Ruth Ozekis mesmerizing debut novel has captivated readers and reviewers worldwide. When documentarian Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job producing a Japanese television show that just happens to be sponsored by an American meat-exporting business, she uncovers some unsavory truths about love, fertility, and a dangerous hormone called DES. Soon she will also cross paths with Akiko Ueno, a beleaguered Japanese housewife struggling to escape her overbearing husband. Hailed by USA Today as rare and provocative” and awarded the Kirayama Prize for Literature of the Pacific Rim, My Year of Meats is a modern-day take on Upton Sinclairs The Jungle for fans of Michael Pollan, Margaret Atwood, and Barbara Kingsolver.
About the Author
Ruth L. Ozeki has worked in television and film for the last twelve years. Her documentary and dramatic films have been shown on PBS, at the Sundance Film Festival, and at colleges and universities across the country, and she has received numerous grants and awards for her work. She divides her time between New York City and British Columbia.