Recommended Reading: “Here I Am” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Portrait ©Jeff Mermelstein

The novel Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer talks about tumultuous and deep moments of a family in search of identity

“Oh sorry, I Can’t tonight, I have to finish this book I’m reading at the moment.” That’s just how it is from time to time, when you find new reading material, that you just cannot let go of. Upon first reading Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer, I already guessed how this would turn out. At his reading in Berlin at the rbb studio, that was packed -– occupied to the last seat to be exact. Parts of the event were even broadcasted live on the radio and suddenly it dawned on me: these 688 pages will keep me busy for quite a while.

But what is it all about? After a decennial break, rumor has it that the author uses this work to cope with a midlife crisis, including his recent divorce from Nicole Krauss , who is a writer as well. At the center of the plot are Jacob and Julia, an author and an architect, who live in Washington D.C., where they raise their two children. Some relatives from Israel come to visit them and that’s where the historical substructure comes into play, as Foer processes his Jewish roots, by adding fictional geopolitical worst case scenarios to the story. Meanwhile he doesn’t miss the chance to draw biblical references from time to time (and it is also the bible that provided the book’s title).

Strictly speaking, you shouldn’t recommend a book if you haven’t finished reading it yet. However, in this case I’d like to make an exception. Here The New York Times supplied their readers with an excellent article on the subject, and The New Yorker provided an exclusive excerpt in summer 2016 here.

von Jonathan Safran Foer

“Here I Am”, € 25,99 via Amazon

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.