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The Book of Form and Emptiness: A Novel af…
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The Book of Form and Emptiness: A Novel (original 2021; udgave 2021)

af Ruth Ozeki (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0083720,703 (4.12)129
"A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being After the tragic death 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, 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, where "things happen." 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"--… (mere)
Medlem:buddhawithan.n
Titel:The Book of Form and Emptiness: A Novel
Forfattere:Ruth Ozeki (Forfatter)
Info:Viking (2021), 560 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

The Book of Form and Emptiness af Ruth Ozeki (2021)

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» Se også 129 omtaler

Engelsk (35)  Hollandsk (2)  Alle sprog (37)
Viser 1-5 af 37 (næste | vis alle)
Benny Oh is fourteen when he loses his father to a tragic accident. The trauma and grief that Benny suffers from, leads him to hearing voices from everyday objects. The voices become overwhelming and he finally takes refuge in a public library, where they can be silenced for a time. In the meantime, his mother suffers from her own grieving issues. I liked this fresh, interesting story. It is an oddball mix of fantasy and reality. The main drawback for me, is how frustrating these two main characters can be. The continuous bad choices they make got to be a bit tiresome. In the end, I still found it a worthy read. ( )
  msf59 | Apr 13, 2024 |
Annabelle and her son Benny are thrown completely off course by the accidental death of husband and father Kenji. Annabelle works from home and Benny is a bit of an outcast at school; without a social support network things begin to fall apart. Annabelle’s grief manifests itself in hoarding behavior. In addition to demonstrating typical early adolescent behaviors like testing boundaries and creating emotional distance from his mom, Benny begins hearing voices from inanimate objects.

Ruth Ozeki introduces a number of colorful supporting characters, including a book that serves as narrator. This provides much-needed objectivity and emotional distance, as well as structure for Annabelle and Benny’s journey through grief and healing, which is anything but linear. I found both Annabelle and Benny annoying at times, but their flaws and idiosyncrasies are essential elements of the story. There were a couple of plot developments that I failed to connect with and didn’t add much to the story, but despite that I found the book hard to put down and zipped through it. ( )
  lauralkeet | Apr 7, 2024 |
Winner of The Women's Prize for Fiction 2022!

4.5⭐️

The Book of Form and Emptiness is an astonishingly beautiful novel written by Ruth Ozeki. At the heart of this novel are Benny Oh and his mother Annabelle who are reeling from the shock of Benny’s father’s untimely death in an accident. A young sensitive 12 year old boy , Benny starts hearing inanimate objects speaking to him with their voices cluttering his mind. His mother deals with her emotions by hoarding material possessions. Benny’s problems cause him to exhibit behavior that gets him into trouble at school and subsequently institutionalized more than once while Annabelle struggles with guilt, grief and loneliness while trying to hold her family together.

What sets this novel apart is the unique narrative shared by Benny and his Book (The Book) which is telling Benny’s story to help him recall details of his life and emerge from the shell he has wrapped himself in. As The Book tells Benny, “We have to be real, even if it hurts, and that’s your doing. That was your philosophical question, remember? What is real? Every book has a question at its heart, and that was yours. Once the question is asked, it’s our job to help you find the answer. So, yes, we’re your book, Benny, but this is your story. We can help you, but in the end, only you can live your life."

Themes of love, family, grief, substance abuse and mental health are touched upon with great compassion by the author. As the narrative progresses, the author paints a compelling portrait of how our interpersonal relationships are impacted by the importance we give to material belongings and the clutter we allow in our lives. Our inability to comprehend the “impermanence of form, and the empty nature of all things” often costs us our human connections.

The profound impact that books can have on our lives is a running theme in this novel and is eloquently expressed throughout the narrative.
“Every person is trapped in their own particular bubble of delusion, and it’s every person’s task in life to break free. Books can help. We can make the past into the present, take you back in time and help you remember. We can show you things, shift your realities and widen your world, but the work of waking up is up to you.”

Adding to the depth of this novel are elements of magical realism and an interesting mix of characters such as the Zen Buddhist monk whose book on decluttering finds its way into Annabelle’s proximity, the European 'hobo’ Slavoj who befriends Benny in the library (the only place the voices are quiet and Benny finds some respite) and shares his wisdom and insight with him and a young teenage girl who calls herself The Aleph- ‘a gleaner, a freegan, an artist who worked with garbage’ who Benny meets while institutionalized.

The Book of Form and Emptiness is a complex, layered and lengthy novel that inspires pause and reflection. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it. ( )
  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
I can't figure out why Ozeki wrote this. I've read 3 of her other books and loved them, but I could never get a handle on this one. It won the Women's Prize for Fiction last year and is highly regarded, but it created whiplash in this reader. It took forever for me to get into the atmosphere of it, and each time I did, it would take a quick 180-degree turn to some fresh disaster. I guess there's a movement now saying schizophrenia isn't a psychiatric illness, so she's bought into that. There's a large dollop of Marie Kondo with an overlying sauce of zen Budhism. You can say the characters are well-rounded in that you can see multiple sides to their characters, but the sides are pretty intense, all except for the mother who is just pitiful. I think ultimately I would have been just fine if I'd followed my first instincts and stopped reading after the first 50 pages. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | May 9, 2023 |
A story about a fractured family, reality, sanity, hoarding, Zen and books. After the accidental, drug related, death of Kenji, Annabelle and 14 year old Benny are left on their own with no family or friends. Annabelle, working from home and having to keep old work, literally buries herself hoarding and Benji hears objects and sometimes knows how they feel. The instability in this occupies most of the book and isn't an easy ride. ( )
1 stem quondame | Mar 21, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 37 (næste | vis alle)
The title – taken from the Buddhist heart sutra – implies a more earnest book than is the case; The Book of Form and Emptiness is a big, polyphonic, often comic, magical-realist collage of a novel [...]
tilføjet af Nevov | RedigerThe Observer, Stephanie Merritt (Oct 10, 2021)
 
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(Pro captu lecoris) habent sua fata libelli.
(According to the capabilities of the reader) books have their own destinies.
-Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library."
Tilegnelse
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For my dad,
whose voice still guides me.
Første ord
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A book must start somewhere. One brave letter must volunteer to go first, laying itself on the line in act of faith, from which a word takes heart and follows, drawing a sentence into its wake.
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Things are needy. They take up space. They want attention, and they will drive you mad if you let them.
Music or madness. It’s totally up to you.
Stories never start at the beginning, Benny. They differ from life in that regard. Life is lived from birth to death, from the beginning into an unknowable future. But stories are told in hindsight. Stories are life lived backward.
That’s what books are for, after all, to tell your stories, to hold them and keep them safe between our covers for as long as we’re able. We do our best to bring you pleasure and sustain your belief in the gravity of being human. We care about your feelings and believe in you completely.
Fantasies, being something that we books excel at. The real stories—the ones that happen—belong to you.
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Wikipedia på engelsk

Ingen

"A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being After the tragic death 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, 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, where "things happen." 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"--

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