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Signed Indie Bookshop Exclusive Edition: The Book of Form and Emptiness

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***** The Signed Indie Bookshop Exclusive Edition has a blue cover *****

A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being





One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house - a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.





At first Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, he falls in love with a mesmerising street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.

And he meets his very own Book - a talking thing - who narrates Benny's life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.





The Book of Form and Emptiness blends unforgettable characters, riveting plot and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions. This is classic Ruth Ozeki - bold, humane and heartbreaking.



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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"Ozeki is a skilled storyteller and the journey she takes us on is deadpan hilarious, heart-touching and ultimately hopeful" ― Spectator

"Ozeki is an intelligent and talented writer, capable of presenting us with good scenes and genuine emotions" ― Scotsman

"A vivid story of fraught adolescence, big ideas and humanity's tenuous hold on a suffering planet . . . Ozeki, an imaginative writer with a subversive sense of humour, has an acute grasp of young people's contemporary dilemmas . . . She doesn't offer anything as complete as salvation but something more real: a profound understanding of the human condition and a gift for turning it into literature" ― Los Angeles Times

"Ozeki has done it again. This time she crosses into new dimensions, breathing life into pages, enticing us into an intimate world. Richly imagined, gorgeously executed, The Book of Form and Emptiness is a remarkable book" -- DAVID EAGLEMAN

Product Details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Canongate Books; Signed Exclusive Indie edition (23 Sept. 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 560 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1838855238
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1838855239
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.2 x 4.7 x 24 cm
  • Customer reviews: 
    4.4 out of 5 stars    39 ratings

About the Author


Ruth Ozeki is an award-winning novelist and filmmaker. Her third novel, A Tale for the Time Being won the 2013 Independent Booksellers Book Award and the Kitchies Red Tentacle Award, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013 and the National Book Critics Award for Fiction. She is also the author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. Ozeki was born and raised in Connecticut, by an American father and Japanese mother. In June 2010 she was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest. She divides her time between British Columbia and New York.

ruthozeki.com | @ozekiland

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