cover image Here I Am

Here I Am

Jonathan Safran Foer, read by Ari Fliakos. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, 13 CDs, 17 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-7589-9

Foer’s novel requires a very talented narrator—and it got one. The prose is fast, forceful, funny, and friendly, and actor Fliakos handles it all superbly. He distinguishes children of different ages as well as fathers, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. He catches the nuances and emotional intricacies of each character’s thoughts and conversations, while his diction is perfect but not intrusive. He’s especially good at highlighting the gentle humor and major absurdities of the novel. The only difficulty for the listener is that Foer constantly raises thought-provoking questions about the meaning of friendship, marriage, family, country, religion, happiness, and angst, forcing the listener to stop the audio from time to time to mull over these issues. Listeners will find themselves hitting the pause button to think things through, but will remain eager to resume Fliakos’s wonderful performance. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover. (Sept.)