Zen Study Group

See our practice schedule for meeting times.

November 2022

Led by Vicki Joren Goldsmith

In November the book group will examine a novel, a piece of fiction written by a Japanese-American zen priest, Ruth Ozeki.  The Book of Form and Emptiness is her fourth novel: A Tale for the Time Being was a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize, and Ozeki, who teaches writing at Smith College, won the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Benny Oh is a thirteen-year-old whose Korean father, a jazz musician, has been killed, and his mother Annabelle has started hoarding.  Benny begins to hear voices, drops out of school, and hides in the library, the only place where he can find silence.  The book invites us to examine capitalism, noise, our relationships with objects and with each other.

It is not necessary to read the novel before we meet.  We will lift out small sections and as the Bottleman tells Benny, “You have to keep your mind open and feel the voice of the poem even if it hurts a little.”

November 9 (pp. 54-57, 60-62, 172-177)
November 16 (pp. 361-366, 394-396, 401-402)
November 23 (pp. 412-414, 488-490, 539-542)