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“[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

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.

Brad Listi (BL): Three minutes, ladies and gentlemen.

Stewart O’Nan (SO): Gotta warm up my Magic 8-ball.

BL: (He’s not referring to cocaine, ladies and gentlemen.)

SO: I was gonna say — not a Belushi reference.

*This is a transcript of the conversation we had with Caroline Leavitt, author of The TNB Book Club‘s January selection, Pictures of You.  It happened on Sunday, January 30, 2011.

 

 

BRAD LISTI (BL): Alright, everybody. We’re back. Welcome. Really pleased to have Caroline Leavitt here with us this month. Her latest novel, Pictures of You, is receiving all kinds of praise and good ink. Its story focuses on the aftermath of a car crash that leaves one woman dead — a survivor’s tale that hits on a variety of compelling themes, including grief, guilt, secrets, and the limits of human forgiveness. Please feel free to offer up questions for Caroline throughout. As always, I’ll be moderating as we go.

Welcome, Caroline!

CAROLINE LEAVITT (CL): Thanks for coming everyone, and thank you, Brad.  Remember: no question is too embarrassing to ask me.


This month, the TNB Book Club is proud to feature Half a Life, the beautiful, heartrending, and ultimately life-affirming memoir by Darin Strauss, now available from the fine people at McSweeney’s.

A lot to think about with this one, and certainly much to discuss.  The story Strauss tells is of the heartbreaking/harrowing variety.  You’d pretty much have to be a zombie automaton to read this sucker and not experience some pretty powerful emotions.

Members of the TNB Book Club:  Please feel free to use the comment board below to open up discussion about Darin’s book.

Let’s do some sharing.

Where to begin?

Somebody SAY SOMETHING!

For the love of Jesus….



 

 

This month, the TNB Book Club features Exley, the new novel by Brock Clarke, author of the critically acclaimed An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New EnglandExley is published by the fine people of Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill.  You can keep up with all of their great titles over at the official Algonquin blog.

Members of The Club who are working their way through Exley are encouraged to use the comment board below as an open discussion thread.  Talk about the book.  Talk about its characters.  Talk about the late-great Frederick Exley.

Talk!

 

 



By request, we’re gonna open up a thread for those who have finished Room and want to discuss the full novel.  So a spoiler alert for any TNB Book Club members who have not yet had a chance to finish.  Do not read the comment board on this thread.



I’ve been a little bit outta commission this week, as my wife and I welcomed a baby daughter on Thursday—great timing, kid!—but I wanted to get the conversation started about Emma Donoghue’s Room, the first title selected for the new TNB Book Club, which kicks off this week.