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Here I am : a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer

Here I am : a novel (edition 2016)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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9403715,287 (3.86)32
"A monumental new novel from the bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close In the book of Genesis, when God calls out, "Abraham!" to order him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham responds, "Here I am." Later, when Isaac calls out, "My father!" to ask him why there is no animal to slaughter, Abraham responds, "Here I am." How do we fulfill our conflicting duties as father, husband, and son; wife and mother; child and adult? Jew and American? How can we claim our own identities when our lives are linked so closely to others'? These are the questions at the heart of Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel in eleven years--a work of extraordinary scope and heartbreaking intimacy. Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks, in present-day Washington, D.C., Here I Am is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East. At stake is the very meaning of home--and the fundamental question of how much life one can bear. Showcasing the same high-energy inventiveness, hilarious irreverence, and emotional urgency that readers and critics loved in his earlier work, Here I Am is Foer's most searching, hard-hitting, and grandly entertaining novel yet. It not only confirms Foer's stature as a dazzling literary talent but reveals a mature novelist who has fully come into his own as one of the most important writers of his generation. "--… (more)
Title:Here I am : a novel
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
Collections:Fiction & Literature

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Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer



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» See also 32 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
This book seems like it was written with me in mind.
It covered so many of the things I think about, but I'm not sure what it added for me, in any case it was cool to see it all in print.

It has masterful dialogue and really excellent and inward looking characters. It was very character-centric, the plot felt like a tool for developing the characters instead of the other way around. ( )
  Kelmanel | Apr 17, 2020 |
DNF at 38% ( )
  ChelseaMcE | Mar 19, 2020 |
"I'm OK with dying," Benjy said.
"I'm OK with dying."
"You are?"
"As long as everyone else dies with me. I'm actually OK with dying. I'm jjust afraid of everyone else not dying."

I never expected this to beat Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and while it didn't, it was probably better than I expected; especially as it took me about three attempts to truly decide to read it rather than put it back on the shelf for later.

As always, Foer creates the most amazing characters; there are those you dislike and those you like as persons, but they're all great characters. Complex, flawed and colourful. He also manages to combine literary existentialism with some of the funniest scenes I've read in general. There is so much I wish to say about this, but I can't really find words for any of them. In a way, I usually don't have to try either because Foer's writing has it spot on, leaving me with a perfect quote that describes that feeling or that situation. And for all his flaws, I love him for that. ( )
  autisticluke | Nov 14, 2019 |
Unashamedly Jewish in ways that would make Woody wince. There's a lot going on here with one kid studying for his barmitzvah, a marriage breaking down, a major tectonic catastrophe and the entire Muslim world declaring war on Israel. There might be too much going on.

For example there's an extended riff on shopping in IKEA that shows up right near the end of the novel. It's just an idea too many that could have been left out. It's funny stuff, but there's enough funny stuff here without it.

But with all the worry, it's worth remembering that Safran Foer is a genuinely funny novelist. With proper jokes.

So, overstuffed, culturally super-specific, sad, but also funny. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Reading this I genuinely wondered if JSF's other novels were as irritating as this one was. Granted, I read his first two novels in high school and felt really smart and cool for reading them and finding them so whimsical and deep. The writing style here seemed much the same as from my memory; yet instead of whimsical it felt cutesy and cloying. Nothing seemed natural; everything seemed like a put upon affect. Someday I may go back and read his first two books again and find that perhaps my taste has just changed with age. Regardless, Here I Am was disappointingly not my favorite. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
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When the destruction of Israel commenced, Isaac Bloch was weighing whether to kill himself or move to the Jewish home.
People are always mistaking something that looks good for something that feels good.
One can build a perfect home, but not live in it.
The vastness of their shared life made sharing their singularity impossible.
The Jewish American response to the Holocaust was "Never forget," because there was a possibility of forgetting. In Israel, they blared the air-raid siren for two minutes, because otherwise it would never stop blaring.
Once the ritually mandated window for a burial-in-one-day had passed, there was no great rush to figure out a solution. But that's not to say that the family was indifferent to Jewish ritual. Someone had to be with the body at all times between death and burial. ... The patriarch with whom they begrudgingly skyped for seven minutes once a week was now someone they visited daily. By some uniquely Jewish magic, the transition from living to dead transformed the perpetually ignored into the never forgotten.
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Langzaam verandert Hier ben ik echter van een onschuldig familiair verhaal in een verhaal vol kritiek op politiek, geloof een maatschappij. Vlak voor de bar mitswa van Sam, wanneer zijn familie uit het Midden-Oosten al op weg is naar Amerika, vindt er een verschrikkelijke aardbeving plaats in het Midden-Oosten. Een ware oorlog in het Midden-Oosten ontstaat en een cruciale vraag lijkt de laatste draad uit de familie te trekken. De Joden wordt gevraagd terug te komen naar hun eigen land. Jacob staat voor een belangrijke keuze.

Ook na de aardbeving blijft Hier ben ik overtuigend. Bijna ongemerkt wordt de toonzetting in het verhaal harder en gaat het geloof een belangrijkere rol spelen. Geleidelijk gaan filosofische gedachten en levensvragen domineren en komt Safran Foer tot de essentie van zijn verhaal: ‘We zijn versplinterde individuen die een versplinterde verbintenis aangaan in een versplinterde wereld.’ Ook in dit deel zet Safran Foer verschillende tekstsoorten naast elkaar. Met dagboekfragmenten, telefoongesprekken, WhatsAppberichten, dialogen in het virtuele Other life zet hij zijn verhaal kracht bij. Met een hartverscheurend slot eindigt Hier ben ik. Hij legt de vinger op de zere plek en beschrijft iets waar menig mens eigenlijk naar zoekt.
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