Empty and Me: A Tale of Friendship and Loss is first, a sad book. Second, it is a hopeful book. And finally, it is a sweet story, but has some bitterness too, but not in a “bad way.” The narrator of the story is dealing with the loss of their mother. The story starts with the concept of we the reader seeing the last photograph of the mother, child, and the last potted plant they planted together. We now have Emptiness who stays with the narrator even when they all are at the amusement park. It stands in between father and child. Emptiness is always an obvious part of the family’s life now.
Azam Mahdavi made a story that most people can relate to, as there are multiple layers. This is not just about the death of a mother, or even the loneliness, but how the characters can heal. And the nice or at least realistic part, is that the emptiness is still around at the end of the book. Yes, there are now things to fill it up, flowers and a new kitten friend, but it is even though it is starting to be less of a presence, it is still there. And when the story ends, we see one last picture, but it is a start and not an ending this time.
Maryam Tahmasebi’s illustrations are probably the best part of the story and the story itself is fantastic. The colors are used to set the tone, which of course is not (especially at first) not happy but does grow hopeful. And the details are what is needed to move things forward. Then there is the swirly, misty piece to the overall finished product. And speaking of the finished product, I am excited to see that, though I must wait until October 2023.
But it will be worth the wait, as though I was able to read the translated text by Parisa Saranj, I would like to see the original Persian on the page as well as the translation (mostly because the language is an art and wish I was able to read it, but I will just enjoy it this way), as my reading on Edelweiss was interrupted by the fact I have a small screen and this is a big story.