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Jonathan Safran Foer’s new novel doesn’t lack chutzpah

Portrait of the artist in a midlife crisis


Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer (Hamish Hamilton £20)

The title of Jonathan Safran Foer’s third novel comes from the scene in Genesis when Abraham answers God’s call to sacrifice his son Isaac. “I am here,” he says. That declaration, Foer explains, means, “who we are, who we are wholly there for, and how that, more than anything else, defines our identity.” Even in extremity Abraham’s identity is clear, his obedience to God’s will absolute, and his allegiance to his faith transcendent.

Foer’s semi-autobiographical protagonist Jacob Bloch…

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