Ruth Ozeki has established herself as one of the contemporary writers to look out for. Her novels, including her debut novel, My Year of Meats (1998), and A Tale for the Time Being (2013), have garnered several accolades. The latter was even shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction. In 2021, she consolidated her status with her latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness. With a unique structure and voice, the novel grappled with themes such as loss, death, mental health and mental health awareness, the environment, to name a few. It was a complex novel, to say the least, but it was insightful as well. With its nostalgic tone, the novel abounded with quotable lines and passages. I have rounded up some of the book quotes that have caught my attention.
Do check out my complete review of this literary work by clicking here.
“Poetry is a problem of form and emptiness. Ze moment I put one word onto an empty page, I hef created a problem for myself. Ze poem that emerges is form, trying to find a solution on my problem. In ze end, of course, there are no solutions. Only more problems, but this is a good thing. Withoug problems, there would be no poems.”~ Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
“Because in the Bindery, where phenomena are still Unbound, stories have not yet learned to behave in a linear fashion, and all the myriad things of the world are simultaneously emergent, occurring in the same present moment, coterminous with you. Unbound, you could see the universe becoming, clouds of star dust, emanations from the warm little pond, from whose gaseous bubbling all of life is born.”~ Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
“Sometimes, we think we would like to make love. Who wouldn’t? We are madly in love with you, after all. As salves to your obsessions, we know what it feels to be impressed and bound. But at the same time we understand that thoughts like these are just idle tropes, fantasies we spin to while away the hours.”~ Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
“Inside? Outside? What is the difference and how can you tell? When a sound enters your body through your ears and merges with your mind, what happens to it? Is it still a sound then, or has it become something else? When you eat a wing or an egg or a drumstick, at what point is it no longer a chicken? When you read these words on a page, what happens to them, when they become you?”~ Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
“But sometimes we’d spin the moon, and you had to close your eyes and put your finger down to make the spinning stop, and wherever your finger landed, that was your spot, and you had to make up a story about it. It was a good game, but then Mom landed in the Sea of Crisis three times in a row, and Dad kept landing in these tiny places like the Marsh of Diseases and the Lake of Death. He thought it was funny, but it freaked Mom out, so we stopped playing.”~ Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness
“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.”