A review by callummac
Here I Am, by Jonathan Safran Foer


“While we pursue happiness, we flee from contentment”.

It’s still too early to decide, but I think this may have been Foer’s greatest. It received heavy criticism, and I can see why; there’s not many people I would recommend this book to. It’s painfully mature compared to his previous works, and it’s depressingly obvious that after growing up, Foer has said goodbye to the playfulness that underscored Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud.

Here I Am is an epic, an ambitious story that explores the floundering marriage of Jacob and Julia Bloch, while also delving into the lives of their three children, Sam, Max, and Benjy. Alongside all of this is the destruction of Israel, after being struck by natural disaster. There’s a lot going on in this book, and Foer is (somewhat autobiographically) considering the multitude of meanings behind family, fatherhood, and loyalty to a form of love that is essentially greater than all of us. For Jacob, who remains at the centre of the story, this exists in his undying devotion to his children, and his long-dead devotion to God. Jacob is seeking something more, and that ‘more’ finds itself in the title of this book: the self-assurance with which Abraham declares ‘Here I Am’.

5 / 5, and I can’t wait to read this book again.