A monumental new audiobook from the best-selling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
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 11 years - a work of extraordinary scope and heartbreaking intimacy.
Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, DC, 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 listeners 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 novelist who has fully come into his own as one of the most important writers in America.
©2016 Jonathan Safran Foer (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
The narration was great, and the story is really interesting. I'm not sure this is the best book for the audio book format. The author changes place, character and time several times in critical periods of the story. in text, he uses "space" to note the changes. In the audio book format those changes are not always clear, or become clear once you already missed a point.
This review is about the narration. While it was clear that Mr Filakos learned how to pronounce some of the Hebrew in this book (priestly blessing), it is glaring that he didn't consult anyone about how to pronounce Noam or minyan as well as others. It would have been easy to do and made the story less believable because an observant Jew who cared about a minyan wouldn't mispronounce it.
I am so disappointed at the narrator choice for this book, which I have long been awaiting. While he is generally a very good narrator, his mispronunciation of nearly every Hebrew or Yiddish word he encounters is so jarring and distracting, I am thinking of returning the audiobook and waiting until I have time to read in print. That the producers did not consider how important a natural flow of authentic American Jewish use of words like siddur, bris, kiddush or Israeli names like Noam or Yael (which have two syllables, not one) is surprising given that the content is Rothian in it's self-conscious Jewishness.
The writing is brilliant and the pacing is masterful.
Not for a book by this author or any other book that required accents.
I hope you fix it!
The ending brought it together and left me satisfied, but the ups and downs had me loving or hating it along the way. Yes it was deep and the dialogue and personal style of the secrets shared by the characters had almost a philosophical edge...but many points in the book I thought went on too long an others not long enough. It allowed me to reflect occasionally, but maybe I wasn't close enough to the circumstances to truly feel the love for this story.
Enjoyed this so much that I bought the physical book as well - since I only listen to audio during the commute to work. Glad I did the combination of Audible and Physical since the Narrator did a really good job with the voices - especially that of Grandpa Irv.
Unfortunately for me too much unnecessary vulgar language, so I can not recommend to my friends and associates. Not his best work, but I appreciate Foer's insightful view into modern Judaism.
As long as I have my Audible, I'm content.
Books about long-term marriages always get my attention, because I’ve been in one I thought would last forever and am now in one I know will last a lifetime, and I like reading about how others navigate their relationships and why they leave or stay.
This book has been called pretentious. I disagree. If insight is pretentious, then, okay. And if paradoxes couched in banal observances are pretentious, then okay again. And this narrative is packed with those. They surprised me. They fascinated me. But they never made me think, “oh pretentious!” Instead, they were very down-to-earth, and very relatable - for someone who makes such connections and worries about the same things.
I almost gave up on the book in the beginning because of these very annoying and un-contextualized interjections of what I took to be an angry, misogynistic, lewd voice. That gets explained later, and I’m glad I stuck with it. Julia and Jacob, along with their kids and other relatives are an fun bunch of characters that one can’t help but care about. I’ll be listening to this again in the future.
I suppose the author must hate this comparison, but this book is almost as beautiful as The History of Love. I was about to re-listen to that one (for the third or fourth time) when I saw that this existed, so I got and heard this instead. I really really liked it and will probably listen to it one more time at some point in the future. It's in my opinion even better than Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated.
I really liked the performance. I read comments about the Hebrew part not being good enough for the characters but I don't speak Hebrew so I couldn't get that and I didn't really care. The only thing I didn't like was that he made the voices of the characters the same when they were young and old, with the sole exception of Jacob's and Tamir's voices in the scene at the Zoo This is not really a spoiler because I don't think anything can be spoiled in this book: the story, while important, is a background for something way more important... as is the case with all the books I've read or heard from Foer.
If you liked Foer's previous books (or The History of Love) you should try this one. It's intense and profound and very beautiful. I'm sure you'll really like it, like I did.
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