Philosophy

Ruth Ozeki’s ‘Book of Form and Emptiness’ wins Women’s Prize

Ruth Ozeki's 'Book of Form and Emptiness' wins Women's Prize

LONDON (AP) — Canadian-American writer Ruth Ozeki won the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction on Wednesday for “The Book of Form and Emptiness,” a philosophical and playful novel that explores people’s relationship with possessions.

Ozeki received the 30,000-pound ($36,000) award at a ceremony in London for his story about a grieving boy’s relationship with the books and objects in his home, all of which speak to him. His world grows increasingly cacophonous as his widowed mother deals with his mounting pain.

Ozeki, 66, was raised in Connecticut by a Japanese mother and an American father, and says she began thinking about our relationship with objects while cleaning her parents’ house after they died.


“They were both children of the Depression, so they never threw anything away,” he said. “Every piece of plastic wrap, every piece of aluminum foil, had been carefully washed and put away. He kept thinking, as he went through these things, ‘If only these things could talk’”.

“As children, things always speak to us and we are always making things speak,” he added. world like being alive.”

Ozeki, a professor of English at Smith College in Massachusetts, is also a Zen Buddhist priestess and filmmaker, and her novel was inspired in part by Buddhist philosophy and the ordained Dean Marie Kondo.