Here I Am

Here I Am

3.64 (23,893 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

Instant New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2016
A Time Magazine Top 10 Novel of 2016
A Times Literary Supplement Best Book of 2016

"Dazzling . . . A profound novel about the claims of identity, history, family, and the burdens of a broken world." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "Fresh Air"
In the book of Genesis, when God calls out, "Abraham!" before ordering him to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham responds, "Here I am." Later, when Isaac calls out, "My father!" before asking 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 Bloch 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 meaning of home-and the fundamental question of how much aliveness one can bear.

Showcasing the same high-energy inventiveness, hilarious irreverence, and emotional urgency that readers 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 novelist who has fully come into his own as one of our most important writers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 592 pages
  • 150 x 229 x 38mm | 680g
  • English
  • Repr.
  • 0374938210
  • 9780374938215
  • 352,547

Review Text

"[Here I Am is] an ambitious platter of intellection and emotion. Its observations are crisp; its intimations of doom resonate; its jokes are funny. Here I Am consistently lit up my pleasure centers . . . This is also Mr. Foer's best and most caustic novel, filled with so much pain and regret that your heart sometimes struggles to hold it all . . . This book offers intensities on every page. Once put down it begs . . . to be picked back up . . . Here I Am has more teeming life in it than several hundred well-meaning and well-reviewed books of midlist fiction put together." -Dwight Garner, The New York Times

"Dazzling . . . A profound novel about the claims of identity, history, family, and the burdens of a broken world." -Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "Fresh Air"

"Here I Am is one of those books, like Middlemarch, or for that matter Gone Girl, which lays bare the interior of a marriage with such intelligence and deep feeling and pitiless clarity, it's impossible to read it and not re-examine your own family, and your place in it." -Lev Grossman, Time

"Brilliant, always original . . . Certain set pieces . . show a masterly sense of timing and structure and deep feeling . . . Foer strews small, semiprecious comic and gnomic gems all along the trail he is breaking . . Here I Am is not only the novel's title but also, maybe, an announcement of its ambitious and crazy-talented author's literary residence-an announcement that not only his location but his basic sensibility and very identity are to be found in this work." -Daniel Menaker, The New York Times Book Review

"Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer's third novel, makes of his readers a battalion of Alices, constantly shrinking and growing as they fall prey to seductive narrative inducements. At one moment we are considering the rage that can simmer within a marriage, the next we're pondering the imminent destruction of Israel - in the world of the novel, not imaginary but real. The minutiae of domestic life and individual idiosyncrasy are so involving . . . [And] its structure is more reflective of its themes and concerns than is at first apparent. The atomisation of its central family unit is deeply unsettling . . . For all this, Here I Am is endearingly funny, its one-liners and comic hyperboles undercutting its inherent melancholy. Set pieces delight . . . And it is also a novel about the inevitable and incomprehensible tragedy of the baton passing between generations." -Alex Clark, The Guardian

"Here I Am is a wondrous novel, one of the most memorable books in years. Jonathan Safran Foer is never intimidated by big, bold topics (Israel's potential demise) but also unafraid to grapple with one of the oldest but smallest themes of Western literature ("Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"). There's no American novelist today who writes so profoundly about teenage angst (especially boys), about the dynamics of closely-knit families, about sibling relationships, about parental fears of failure with their children. Nor is there anyone who writes dialogue (quick repartee, puns, intentional non sequiturs, irony and put-downs) as well as Foer . . . Jonathan Safran Foer has reinvented the novel about the American Jewish experience. His works are the rightful heir to the novels by Bernard Malamud and Saul Bellow, deceased, and Philip Roth, who has said he has stopped writing." -Charles R. Larson, Counterpunch

"[A] startling and urgent novel . . . There are scenes so sad and so funny and so wry that I texted a friend repeatedly as I was reading it, just to say "goodness me!" . . . [T]he soul, if you will, of this novel is not in its technique, but in its soulfulness. It is a novel about why we love and how we love and how we might stop loving. It is humane in that no character is a caricature. Foer has become the novelist we deserve . . . [He has] stretched and expanded the possibilities of the novel without losing either intellectual i
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About Jonathan Safran Foer

Foer, Jonathan Safran
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Here I Am, and the nonfiction book Eating Animals. His work has received numerous awards and been translated into thirty-six languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Rating details

23,893 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 24% (5,772)
4 35% (8,273)
3 27% (6,365)
2 10% (2,469)
1 4% (1,014)
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