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InstaReview: The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki



"...The reader is not a passive receptacle for a book's contents. Not at all. You are our collaborators, our conspirators... and because every reader is unique, each of you makes each of us mean differently, regardless of what's written on our pages. Thus, one book, when read by different readers, becomes an ever-changing array of books that flows through human consciousness like a wave."

The Book of Form & Emptiness offers us a lot to unpack: magical realism presented through the lens of zen Buddhism and Western psychopathology; the power objects hold over us in a physical, economic, and spiritual sense; and the story of a family coping with grief and deteriorating mental health. Overall, we agreed that Ozeki is a masterful storyteller- she weaves together these seemingly disparate narratives into a tapestry of existential reflection that leaves the reader reeling. That said, some of us had complicated feelings toward the development of some of the characters and the pacing of the novel, which weighs in at 500+ pages. Overall, we rate the book 4 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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