One of the books I am currently reading is Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am. I am about halfway through it, and as I said on Twitter a few nights ago, I am of a very divided mind about the book. Foer is a technically gifted writer, and his prose is a pleasure to read. He has packed this book to the gills with detail and plot, so it is quite easy to get sucked in.
He is, however, a bit too clever for his own good, to the point that nearly every page is dripping with the sense of “Look what I’m doing here!”
His characters are troubling–overly precocious children of the sort that only exist in quirky literary fiction and highly intelligent adults who make one bad decision after another in order to achieve the author’s aims.
So far, though, I am sticking with it, mainly because every fifteen to twenty pages, Foer manages to capture some aspect of being married or of being a parent that is so striking it has made literally catch my breath a few times. the one that has particularly stuck with me is a passage about how you will never know as a parent that this is the the last time that you will give your child a bath, or carry her or him up the stairs to bed, read her/him a story, or… it goes on for a whole long paragraph, and it is incredibly tough to read because it is true.