The following is an inadequate summary of Ruth Ozeki’s most recent work. Thirteen year old Benny Oh falls apart after the accidental death of his father. Benny begins hearing voices emanating from inanimate objects. Benny’s mother, Annabelle, becomes a hoarder to alleviate the feeling of emptiness that occurs after her husband’s death. Benny finds solace at his local library and in the company of a troubled girl self-named Aleph; Annabelle feels comforted accumulating more and more useless objects.
Fans of Ozeki will find The Book of Form and Emptiness powerful and thought-provoking. Those who think her books are confusing and odd will feel that way about this novel as well. I felt The Book of Form and Emptiness was creative and engrossing with two well-drawn empathetic main characters.