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 Yasutani, a Japanese schoolgirl has decided there is 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, Jiko, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. But Nao actually ends up writing her own life story; the diary is her only solace, and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on the shore of Canada's Vancouver Island, where she discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox, possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. The diary is in a freezer bag with some old letters in French and a vintage watch and Ruth begins to investigate how the bag traveled from Japan to her island, and why it contains what it does. 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 the author's signature humor and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, this is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home.