The Book of Form and Emptiness

Paperback edition released 17/03/2022

by Ruth Ozeki

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Humorous Fiction Literary Fiction

The Book of Form and Emptiness Synopsis

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. When ignoring them doesn't work, 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 who encourages him to find his own voice amongst the many; 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 everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions, this is classic Ruth Ozeki - bold, humane and heartbreaking.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781838855277
Publication date: 17th March 2022
Author: Ruth Ozeki
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 560 pages
Primary Genre Humorous Fiction
Other Genres:

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Ruth Ozeki Press Reviews

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

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781838855277
Publication date: 17/03/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781838855239
Publication date: 23/09/2021
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781838855246
Publication date: 23/09/2021
Format: Paperback

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