Ruth Ozeki

Cindy Seip

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of three novels, My Year of Meats: A Novel, All Over Creation: A Novel, and A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel, a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize. Her nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Face: A Time Code, and Halving the Bones, a documentary film. In The Book of Form and Emptiness (Viking), it’s one year after the death of his beloved musician father and 13-year-old Benny Oh is hearing voices. They belong to things in his house – a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Some are pleasant, emitting a gentle hum or coo. But others are snide, angry, and full of pain. Soon the voices follow him outside the house and, just for silence and relief, Benny goes to a public library. There, among other marvels, he meets his very own book – another talking thing – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter. Publishers Weekly marveled at “Ozeki’s illuminating postmodern latest [as it] explores themes of mourning, madness, and the powers of the imagination … This is the rare work that will entertain teenagers, literary fiction readers, and academics alike.”