Here I Am

Jonathan Safran Foer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (592p) ISBN 978-0-374-28002-4
Great-grandfather Isaac Bloch's voice opens Foer's intensely imagined and richly rewarding novel. What follows is a teeming saga of members of the patriarch's family: Isaac's son, Irv, a xenophobic, self-righteous defender of Israel who claims that "the world will always hate Jews"; his grandson, Jacob, achingly aware that his decade-plus marriage to Julia is breaking down; and Jacob and Julia's son Sam, whose imminent bar mitzvah may be cancelled if he doesn't apologize for the obscene material discovered in his desk at Hebrew school. The Blochs are distinctively upper-middle-class American in their needs, aspirations, and place in the 21st century. Foer excels in rendering domestic conversation: the banter and quips, the anger and recrimination, and Jacob and Julia's deeply felt guilt that their divorce will damage their three sons. Things are bad enough in the Bloch family when world events intervene: a major earthquake levels the Middle East, spreading catastrophic damage among the Arab states and Israel. In an imaginative segment, Foer depicts the reaction of the media when Israel ceases helping its Arab neighbors to save its own people and the Arab states unite and prepare for attack. The irony is evident: Irv, the fearmonger, has been proven correct. Foer (Everything Is Illuminated) fuses these complex strands with his never-wavering hand. Throughout, his dark wit drops in zingers of dialogue, leavening his melancholy assessments of the loneliness of human relationships and a world riven by ethnic hatred. He poses several thorny moral questions, among them how to have religious faith in the modern world, and what American Jews' responsibilities are toward Israel. That he can provide such a redemptive denouement, at once poignant, inspirational, and compassionate, is the mark of a thrillingly gifted writer. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-0-374-71250-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-7589-9
Hardcover - 592 pages - 978-0-7352-3293-8
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X