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The Book of Form and Emptiness - Ruth Ozeki

The Book of Form and Emptiness - Ruth Ozeki

Exclusive indie signed first edition, first printing

Title: The Book of Form and Emptiness

Author:  Ruth Ozeki

ISBN:  9781838856489

Weight:  990 g

Delivery:  Plus a £1.45 add-on [weight and/or ins.]

Exclusive Independent Bookshop signed edition [first edition, first printing]



In stock, usually sent within 24 hours

Our price:  £18.99

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

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.

After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-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.

Peer & Press Reviews

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

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

Bibliographic Info

TitleThe Book of Form and Emptiness
Book Features
Edition / printingExclusive independent bookshop first edition, first printing
Edition background:

The jacket of this exclusive indie edition has a dark blue colourway, an ISBN of 9781838856489, and has the phrase ‘Exclusive independent bookshop edition’ printed on its front.  (The jacket for the standard trade edition is fawn and its ISBN is 9781838855239.)

Note the ISBN for the book is the same for both the standard and indie editions, it’s only the jackets that are different.

Jacket noteOn the front of the jacket is a ‘Signed’ sticker (see image).  As the paper used for the jacket has a coated finish, WE DON’T ADVISE REMOVING THIS as it could result in a flaw known as Sticker Ghost.
Overall conditionFine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
SignedOn a signature page, tipped-in before the title page.
(Printed on this page is the book's title.)
Book Stats
PublisherCanongate Books
Publication date
Printed byClays Ltd, Elcograf S.p.A.
ISBN 139781838856489 (jacket) / 9781838855239 (book)
FormatHardcover with dust jacket
Size (h x w x d)241 x 163 x 49mm
Packed weight1.148kg [heavy book]
Image and Design Credits
Author photographDanielle Tait
DesignGill Heeley

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