• Document: ALSO BY RUTH OZEKI. My Year of Meat. All Over Creation
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‘This is 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 details of our shared humanity, moving seamlessly between Nao’s story and our own. The result is gripping, fearless, inspiring and true’ Madeline Miller ‘Ingenious and touching, A Tale for the Time Being is also highly readable. And interesting: the contrast of cultures is especially well done’ Philip Pullman ‘A Tale for the Time Being is a downright miraculous book that will captivate you from the very first page. Profoundly original, with authentic, touching characters and grand, encompassing themes, Ruth Ozeki proves that truly great stories – like this one – can both deepen our understanding of self and remind us of our shared humanity’ Deborah Harkness ALSO BY RUTH OZEKI My Year of Meat All Over Creation Published in Great Britain in 2013 by Canongate Books Ltd, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE www.canongate.tv This digital edition first published by Canongate in 2013 Copyright © Ruth Ozeki Lounsbury, 2013 The moral right of the author has been asserted First published in the United States of America in 2013 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) British Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available on request from the British Library ISBN 978 0 85786 796 4 eISBN 978 0 85786 798 8 For Masako, for now and forever CONTENTS Part I Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Part II Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Haruki #1’s Letters Part III Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Haruki #1’s Secret French Diary Ruth Nao Ruth Part IV Nao Ruth Nao Ruth Epilogue Appendices Appendix A: Zen Moments Appendix B: Quantum Mechanics Appendix C: Rambling Thoughts Appendix D: Temple Names Appendix E: Schrödinger’s Cat Appendix F: Hugh Everett Bibliography Acknowledgments About the Author Part I An ancient buddha once said: For the time being, standing on the tallest mountaintop, For the time being, moving on the deepest ocean floor, For the time being, a demon with three heads and eight arms, For the time being, the golden sixteen-foot body of a buddha, For the time being, a monk’s staff or a master’s fly-swatter,1 For the time being, a pillar or a lantern, For the time being, any Dick or Jane,2 For the time being, the entire earth and the boundless sky. —Dōgen Zenji, “For the Time Being”3 Nao 1. Hi! My name is Nao, and 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. As for me, right now I am sitting in a French maid café in Akiba Electricity Town, listening to a sad chanson that is playing sometime in your past, which is also my present, writing this and wondering about you, somewhere in my future. And if you’re reading this, then maybe by now you’re wondering about me, too. You wonder about me. I wonder about you. Who are you and what are you doing? Are you in a New York subway car hanging from a strap, or soaking in your hot tub in Sunnyvale? Are you sunbathing on a sandy beach in Phuket, or having your toenails buffed in Brighton? Are you a male or a female or somewhere in between? Is your girlfriend cooking you a yummy dinner, or are you eating cold Chinese noodles from a box? Are you curled up with your back turned coldly toward your snoring wife, or are you eagerly waiting for your beautiful lover to finish his bath so you can make passionate love to him? Do you have a cat and is she sitting on your lap? Does her forehead smell like cedar trees and fresh sweet air? Actually, it doesn’t matter very much, because by the time you read this, everything will be different, and you will be nowhere in particular, flipping idly through the pages of this book, which happens to be the diary of my last days on earth, wonder

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