Told from dual perspectives—from Benny and from “the Book” itself—young Benny’s story begins when his father is killed in a senseless accident and he begins hearing the voices of inanimate objects. Much to his dismay, his mother, Annabelle, finds comfort in collecting random items to excess, and the situation soon spirals out of control. However, Benny takes refuge in the library, where things are mostly quiet. Ozeki’s latest novel is a compassionate exploration of mental health and our attachment to things; her authorial voice is wise and warm, and like a good meditation, it invites you to slow down and pay attention. This book made me feel validated as a book hoarder and observer of the universe.
—Anika, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA
It takes quite an author to both tell a whole story in a paragraph and also create a novel that kaleidoscopes out from that paragraph in dizzying and often heartbreaking detail. The Book of Form and Emptiness is mostly the story of Benny Oh, a boy surrounded by the voices of the inanimate objects he encounters, and the Book which functions as his narrator, guide, and sometimes-friend. But it is also a story about grief, street art, libraries, crows, mental health, and that one perfect clarinet note that lingers equally in a smoky room or a broken heart.
—Rafe, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA