Friday, October 15, 2021

The Book of Form and Emptiness

Zen. The key question, what is real, is at the heart of Ruth Ozeki’s novel titled, The Book of Form and Emptiness. Protagonist Benny Oh turns twelve-years-old in the year that his father is killed. He and his mother, Annabelle, are overcome with grief and try to adjust to life after that tragedy. Benny begins hearing from objects, and the more things Annabelle collects as she begins hoarding, the louder the voices in Benny’s mind. Ozeki takes readers into aspects of Zen that flow smoothly through this narrative. We begin to find acceptance of the impermanence of things. We notice objects more closely. Even the book becomes a voice and character in the novel. We appreciate the messages from poems, and the ways in which the library provides both refuge and rescue for troubled lives. I encourage fans of literary fiction to surrender to Ozeki in this finely written novel and let her take you through an exploration that faces the question of what is real. Along the way, there’s an enchanting story and characters that we come to love. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase The Book of Form and Emptiness from

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