Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
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Jonathan Safran Foer

Here I Am

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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 spiraling 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.
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There, on the dirt, in the middle of the simulated savannah, in the middle of the nation’s capital, he felt something so irrepressible and true that it would either save or ruin his life.
Three years later he would touch his tongue to the tongue of a girl for whom he so happily would have cut off his arms, if only she had let him. And the following year an air bag would tear his cornea and save his life. Two years after that he would gaze with amazement at a mouth around his penis. And later that year he would say to his father what for years he had been saying about him. He would smoke a bushel of pot, watch his knee bend the wrong way during a stupid touch-football game, be inexplicably moved to tears in a foreign city by a painting of a woman and her baby, touch a hibernating brown bear and an endangered pangolin, spend a week waiting for a test result, pray silently for his wife’s life as she screamed as new life came out of her body — many moments when life felt big, precious. But they made up such an utterly small portion of his time on earth: Five minutes a year? What did it sum to? A day? At most? A day of feeling alive in four decades of life?
ddsh
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“I’m drunk on my new sobriety.”
Маркус Лебединский
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At any given time, there are forty times in the world. Another interesting fact: China used to have five time zones, but now it has only one, and for some Chinese people the sun doesn’t rise until after ten.
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