Here I Am

Here I Am

Book - 2016
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"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. "--
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374280024
Branch Call Number: FIC FOER
Characteristics: 571 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 31, 2020

I really don't even know where to begin in my explanation for how brilliant this book truly is. Foer's ability to capture the human experience through dialogue and exhaustive, sometimes painfully accurate and self-reflective, descriptions of emotion is unparalleled. I am married and marriage is a major plot point of the novel that deeply resonated with me, but I do not have children. Despite my lack of spawn, however, I was completely enraptured by the narrative elements which illuminated the very specific plight of being a parent. I do not consider myself a religious person and I am not Jewish, but Foer's humanistic perspective on culture and religion was profoundly enlightening. This novel will make you laugh, it might make you cry, but mostly it will make you think deeply about what it means to be a human being in all of the different capacities that it takes to live a well-examined life.

Oct 20, 2018

Having loved "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", I had great expectations regarding this book and, in a way, I expected to be disappointed but the disappointment was not too bad. Some of the things I had thought cool and original in his previous book are also to be found in "Here I Am". At times I could not help but feel that Safran Foer was "trying too hard". Had I not read his previous novel, I might have enjoyed this one more.

Jun 13, 2017

Fascinating book. Compare and contrast: the breakup of a family and the breakup of nations.

Jun 12, 2017

Jonathan Foer's return to fiction is well worth the wait and works on many levels. It is a melancholic account about the Bloch family both nuclear and extended. It has a great deal of dialogue which is very funny in places. The narrative also has many flashbacks and flash forwards which disrupts the flow. It reflects the deterioration in the marriage.
I am not Jewish. I appreciated the insights provided about both the blessings and the burden of being Jewish particularly the relationship between Israel the country and Jews in America.

May 10, 2017

I paraphrase what my husband said about the author. It's like watching a train wreck, but the writing is so good, you can't look away. Worth it.

SPL_Shauna Apr 18, 2017

If you like witty, snappy dialogue and being incredibly depressed, have I got a book for you!

This book is a smart, honest look at a family disintegrating and a man trying to be really present for it all, but mostly failing. Parts are compulsively readable, and parts will maybe destroy you (if you're built like me, anyway). It's an awfully dark pick for these dark times. But, Foer has done something admirable here, and if you're up for it generally and specifically a fan of long, ponderous domestic fiction, it's worth the read.

brianreynolds Mar 18, 2017

In more than one sense, Foer’s <i>Here I Am</i> is a “Guernica” of family relationships. So often during the reading I sat in open-mouthed wonder at the author’s prose, his ability to paint emotions that defy the gravity of syntax: how in the world does the artist shift time and point of view and location all in the same paragraph to heighten impact without creating chaos! Courage and skill beyond anything close to the “literary fiction” norm. So I like his style. But this book is also a statement, a wrenching exploration of how difficult it is soldier on in the losing battle of love and commitment and existence. It is also a story, a compelling plot that strives beyond a bit of history or a character sketch. Foer creates an extended cast of likeable characters all fighting to hang on to their own definition of themselves, their own fragile creations of reality. Like Picasso’s famous work, the outcome is devastating, but Foer manages a triumph of sorts, a quiet, grim victory of the human spirit. Real. The saddest, most honest conclusion I am likely to ever read.

Jan 27, 2017

Here I am has a special shine.
Long,insightful...the writing is brilliant.
The characters aren't particularly likeable , but they are recognizable,
The dialogue between the cousins was my favourite...the husband/wife relationship was a constant game of one-upmanship.
The kids were precocious and the words placed in their mouths stretched credulity.
Easy to see why it took Foer a decade to write this.
The last chapter was incredibly moving.

Oct 21, 2016

I liked this book - the tensions of being jewish in both the US and Israel were interesting, the kids were adorable, and the relationship between husband and wife was well-written. Reminded me of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. However, I do think this petered out about halfway through, and that Everything is Illuminated is a much nicer read.


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