The Book of Form and Emptiness
A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of A Tale for the Time Being.
One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-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 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, he falls in love with a mesmerising 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.
The Book of Form and Emptiness blends unforgettable characters, riveting plot and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz to climate change to our attachment to material possessions. This is classic Ruth Ozeki – bold, humane and heartbreaking.
Orders placed through this site will typically be fulfilled from our shop’s inventory within 48 hours. Occasionally an item may be out of stock, in which case it may be fulfilled by our supplier and dispatched directly to you, or to the shop if Collect in Person was selected during checkout. We will inform you of any delays affecting your order as quickly as possible.
Items marked AVAILABLE TO ORDER are available on backorder and typically arrive within a couple of days, but can occasionally take longer to arrive. In the event that an item you have ordered is unexpectedly delayed for 7 days or more, we will contact you by email with a delivery estimate.
If you’d like to confirm an item’s availability or check on the status of an order, please email us.
Any forthcoming titles available to pre-order are clearly marked with a red PRE-ORDER label, and the anticipated publication date. Typically, pre-ordered items will be available on or occasionally very shortly after the publication date, and in the event that we do anticipate a delay we will endeavour to keep you updated on the status of your pre-order.
Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). If you have a question about the status of a pre-order, please email us.
UK postage costs (per order):
Royal Mail First Class – £2.95
Royal Mail Second Class – £1.95
Orders with a total greater than £50 will automatically qualify for free delivery (excluding subscriptions).
If you do not wish to have your order delivered, please select Collect In Person during checkout.
Please note that orders placed via our site can be delivered within the UK only. For international delivery, please email us stating the items you wish to order and your delivery address, and we’ll let you know your options for shipping.
Orders placed via our website can be paid using any of the following methods:
- Credit or debit card
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- National Book Tokens
Our credit and debit card payments are securely processed by Stripe, and your full card information is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team. If you select to save your credit or debit card information during checkout to use again for future orders, your card information is encrypted and stored only by Stripe, who have been certified as a Level 1 PCI Service Provider (the highest level of security certification available for online payment services). Read more about Stripe and security here.
If ordering from a device or browser that supports Google Pay or Apple Pay, you will be automatically shown the corresponding payment button on product pages, the cart page, and the checkout page. Please note that the personal and payment information shown by Google Pay and Apple Pay is stored only by your payment account, and is neither stored by our site or accessible to our team.
Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here.
If you encounter any issues with payments when ordering, or have any questions about the available methods of payment, please don’t hesitate to email us.
Select the Gift Wrapping option on the Cart or Checkout pages to have your order wrapped for a flat fee of £2.20. Orders placed including the gift wrapping option will be wrapped using tissue paper and sealed with a Pages of Hackney sticker. A gift message can be included during this process, which will be written on a Pages of Hackney card and included with your order (if you’d prefer we use a greeting card, please add one to your order and mention this in the order notes field).
Unless requested, gift wrapping includes all items in an order. If you have different wrapping requirements for individual items, please either place multiple orders or let us know your requirements in the order notes field during checkout.