The Book of Form and Emptiness

The Book of Form and Emptiness : Shortlisted for the Women's Prize 2022

4.12 (7,701 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

When a book and a reader are meant for each other, both of them know it . . .

After the tragic death of his father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house and sound variously pleasant, angry or sad. Then his mother develops a hoarding problem, and the voices grow more clamorous. So Benny seeks refuge in the silence of a large public library. There he meets a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret; a homeless philosopher-poet; and his very own Book, who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

Blending unforgettable characters with jazz, climate change and our attachment to material possessions, this is classic Ruth Ozeki - bold, humane and heartbreaking.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 33mm | 371g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • No
  • 1838855270
  • 9781838855277
  • 491

Review quote

This compassionate novel of life, love and loss glows in the dark. Its strange, beautiful pages turn themselves. If you've lost your way with fiction over the last year or two, let The Book of Form and Emptiness light your way home -- DAVID MITCHELL The Book of Form and Emptiness is a big, polyphonic, often comic, magical-realist collage of a novel that attempts to interrogate the most pressing issues of the age . . . at its heart is a compelling story of human connection and the redemptive power of art . . . Ozeki is a talented storyteller * * Guardian * * Heart-breaking and heart-healing - a book to not only keep us absorbed but also to help us think and love and live and listen. No one writes quite like Ruth Ozeki and The Book of Form and Emptiness is a triumph -- MATT HAIG There's powerful magic here . . . Ozeki is unusually patient with her characters, even the rebarbative ones, and she is able to record the subtle peculiarities of other classes of beings that more overeager writers would probably miss . . . Ozeki gives us a metaphor for our very own American consumption disorder, our love-hate relationship with the stuff we produce and can't let go of * * New York Times Book Review * * This is both an extremely vivid picture of a small family enduring unimaginable loss, and a very powerful meditation on the way books can contain the chaos of the world and give it meaning and order. Annabelle and Benny Oh try to stay afloat in a sea of things, news, substances, technological soullessness and psychiatric quagmires, and the way they learn to live and breathe and even swim through it all feels like the struggle we all face. The Book of Form and Emptiness builds on the themes of A Tale for the Time Being, and ratifies Ozeki as one of our era's most compassionate and original minds -- DAVE EGGERS Once again, Ozeki has created a masterpiece. Her generous heart, remarkable imagination and brilliant mind light up every page -- KAREN JOY FOWLER Storytelling rarely comes more capacious than Ruth Ozeki's latest novel . . . Ozeki interconnects zen philosophy, the environmental crisis, a critique of our mass consumer lifestyle and a playful post-modern sensibility - one of the characters is a talking book - within a novel that, for all its wide-ranging intellectual restlessness, remains grounded in its characters' emotional reality * * Daily Mail * * Moving . . . Ozeki has considerable storytelling energies * * Financial Times * * Ozeki's prose is warm and welcoming, but as you turn the pages you'll see that she carries her pen to dark places. Her characters ask What is a self, what should we hold onto, what to do when the whole world hurts? And yet even in this darkness, she finds hope. Ozeki reminds me of a literary bower bird, taking interesting things from across traditions and continents, all to make this intricate nest for us, her readers -- ROWAN HISAYO BUCHANAN This is a novel that manages to be deeply profound about human connection, but does so with the lightest of touches * * Big Issue * *
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About Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of four novels: My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and translated into 28 languages, and The Book of Form and Emptiness. She has also written a short memoir, Timecode of a Face. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foundation and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she teaches creative writing at Smith College and is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.

ruthozeki.com
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Rating details

7,701 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 40% (3,113)
4 38% (2,930)
3 16% (1,226)
2 5% (349)
1 1% (83)
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