I found myself entertained, informed, perhaps to some degree enlightened. The responsibility for the degree of enlightenment is mine, not the author's as the author has done a superlative job of presenting a fabulous series of interrelated stories that give a reader ample opportunity for a deepening appreciation for the wonderful nature of every moment, a reasonable step on the path to enlightenment. Not unexpected from an author who is a Zen Buddhist priest.
Ruth Orzeki's book is effectively evocative of several different times and places, an island off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, the contemporary lives of Ruth, the memoirist/protagonist, and her husband Oliver, same names as the author and her husband; Nao, a near contemporary Japanese teenage schoolgirl in Tokyo, and co-memoirist/protagonist; Jiko, Nao's great-grandmother and 104 year old Buddhist Nun, at jiko's Buddhist temple in the mountainist back of beyond of Northern Japan; Haruki-2, Nao's father; and from another time, WWII Japan, Haruki-1, Jiko's son, a conscripted philosophy student/Kamikaze pilot and memoirist.
The story unfolds as Ruth finds and tries to understand the diary and papers she finds on the shore of the island, and this is a mystery that unfolds gradually though out the novel.
At the same time, in many different and engaging ways, Ruth's exploration of this mystery is a search for understanding of the nature of memory, and 'agency'.
Thich Naht Han in his books on Buddhism speaks at length of interbeing, the extended relationships that exist between each of us and all those who have come before, not just parents, friends, acquaintances, generations of relatives, but also those who have in some way contributed to our being, even the farmer who grew the food that we ate, the wholesaler and then the grocer who provided us the farmer's food, and who each contributed to our present being. In A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki expands this relationship to the author, the reader, and the time of each being, and even 'agency', including the quantum effect of 'action at a distance' extended to 'action at a distant time', with the contributions to being going in both directions. Truly a tale for the time being, a tale for each of us.
A wonderful and enriching book, thank you Ruth Ozeki!