“Zen Novelist” Ruth Ozeki’s new “Tale”

Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma readers are likely familiar with Ruth Ozeki — for example, a look at her writing process, and its interactions with her Zen practice, can be seen in “Confessions of a Zen Novelist,” in the current, Spring Buddhadharma magazine.

The acclaimed Ozeki has a new novel out, too: A Tale for the Time Being, just released, got a glowing review from USA Today this week. It’s the story of a woman named Ruth (not to be confused with the author named Ruth, though the two share many similarities) who finds a notebook washed up on the beach in British Columbia — possibly debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The journal belonged to Nao, a bullied teenage girl whose main goals are to tell the story of her grandmother, a 104-year-old Zen nun, and to kill herself. Nao’s voice, reviewer Lindsay Deutsch writes, “is the heart and soul of a very satisfying book.”

The New York Times appreciates it as well: “This is a book that does not give up its multiple meanings easily, gently but insistently instructing the reader to progress slowly in order to contemplate the porous membrane that separates fact from fiction, self from circumstance, past from present.”

And in the coming, July Shambhala Sun, novelist/poet/memoirist Brian Brett shares his own take on Ozeki’s new work. In the meantime, check out “Confessions of a Zen Novelist,” in the Spring Buddhadharma magazine — you can read an excerpt here — and see these previous Ozeki pieces from the Shambhala Sun: The Art of Losing | Nothing is Wasted | My Year of Meats | About a Poem: Ruth Ozeki on Taha Muhammad Ali’s “Revenge”.

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