It's been eleven years since Jonathan Safran Foer wrote his last novel.
The award-winning writer behind World War II-oriented Everything Is Illuminated and post-September 11th story Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close takes on a much more intimate tragedy and a new sphere of the world in his latest novel, Here I Am.
Here I Am is a robust book which simultaneously tackles the disintegration of an American marriage and family, while a catastrophic earthquake in the Middle East propels Israel and the Arab world into near Armageddon.
For Foer, who claims he "never has to look for inspiration," the subject matter was an obvious one. "I never set goals or force myself to write," he said. "I wait for a subject to interest me."
Here I Am takes place over a four week period in the life of the Bloch family in Washington, D.C. Foer chronicles the parallel disintegrations of the Bloch family and the Middle East through an array of voices, memories, leaps into the future and pages-long catalogues. At the core of the novel is the question of what "home" means—a theme that pervades Foer's novels— and how to reconcile the seemingly petty problems of the nuclear family against the global problems we face as a world. In fact, the novel seems to be an even more relevant read after Monday's presidential debate.
Foer heads to the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss his new novel. // Wednesday. Sept. 28 at the Jewish Community Center San Francisco, 3200 California St. (Presidio Heights), jccsf.org/arts-ideas/jonathan-safran-foer