RUTH OZEKI in conversation with JOAN BIGWOOD
Ruth Ozeki in conversation with Joan Bigwood
Saturday, September 20, 4:00 p.m.
A brilliant, unforgettable novel from bestselling author Ruth Ozeki—shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award
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. 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 delightful yet sometimes harrowing novel . . . Many of the elements of Nao’s story—schoolgirl bullying, unemployed suicidal ‘salarymen,’ kamikaze pilots—are among a Western reader’s most familiar images of Japan, but in Nao’s telling, refracted through Ruth’s musings, they become fresh and immediate, occasionally searingly painful. Ozeki takes on big themes . . . all drawn into the stories of two ‘time beings,’ Ruth and Nao, whose own fates are inextricably bound.” —The New York Times Book Review
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her first two novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), have been translated into 11 languages and published in 14 countries. Her most recent work, A Tale for the Time-Being (2013), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and will be published in over thirty countries.
Joan Bigwood, like Ruth, is a graduate of Smith College. She has spent the past twenty-five years earning her keep as a writer, primarily in marketing communications. Her comic novel, Co-opted, won an Indie Reader award and her new play, Or Current Resident, is under development locally. Through social media channels, Joan has reached out to readers of Ruth's latest novel, A Tale for the Time Being, and has collected the questions on everybody's lips, covering topics ranging from Zen Buddhist practices to Japanese-style bullying, environmental activism and writer's block.
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