A brilliantly inventive new story about loss, growing up and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize–shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being.
After his father dies, Benny Oh finds he can hear objects talking: teapots, marbles and sharpened pencils, babbling in anger or distress. His mother, struggling to support their household alone, starts collecting things to give her comfort. Overwhelmed by the clamour of all the stuff, Benny seeks refuge in the beautiful silence of the public library.
There, the objects speak only in whispers. There, he meets a homeless poet and a mesmerising young performance artist. There, a book reaches out to him. Not just any book: his own book. And a very important conversation begins.
The Book of Form and Emptiness is about grief, resilience, creativity and psychological difference. It is about the importance of reading, and an observation of the mess consumer culture has got us into. It is an affirmation of the power of community. It is funny, kind, wise, urgent and completely irresistible. If you let it – if you listen – it could change your life.