This is a virtual event taking place via Zoom Webinar. Purchase tickets on Eventbrite.
Third Place Books, Elliott Bay Book Company, and Village Books are proud to celebrate the release of The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki . She will be joined in conversation by Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and the forthcoming novel Booth.
Tickets are required for this event. All tickets include a copy of Ruth Ozeki's new novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, shipped to the address you provide. Please note: Third Place Books CANNOT offer international shipping at this time.
About The Book of Form and Emptiness. . .
A brilliantly inventive novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things
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, Annabelle, 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, Benny discovers a strange new world. He falls in love with a mesmerizing 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.
With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki—bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.
Praise for The Book of Form and Emptiness. . .
“Ozeki’s illuminating postmodern latest [...] explores themes of mourning, madness, and the powers of the imagination . . . Ozeki playfully and successfully breaks the fourth wall [...] and she cultivates a striking blend of young adult fiction tropes with complex references to Walter Benjamin, Zen Buddhism, and Marxist philosophy. This is the rare work that will entertain teenagers, literary fiction readers, and academics alike.”
“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, author of Cloud Atlas and Utopia Avenue
“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, author of The Midnight Library
“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, author of The Circle and The Parade
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which was a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize. Her nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Face: A Time Code, and the documentary film, Halving the Bones. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foundation and teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.
Karen Joy Fowler is the author of seven novels, including Sarah Canary, which won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian and The Jane Austen Book Club, a NY Times bestseller. Also three short story collections, two of which won the World Fantasy Award in their respective years. Her novel We are all completely beside ourselves, won the PEN/FAULKNER for fiction in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Man/Booker. She currently lives in Santa Cruz and has recently finished a historical novel, Booth, that will be published in 2022.
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This is a virtual event held via Zoom Webinar. Books will be shipped after the event via USPS Media Mail. Please note that Third Place Books does NOT offer international shipping.