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Foer, Jonathan Safran

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(1977-    ) US author each of whose first two novels revolves around a Foer-like protagonist's confrontation with a central abomination of the current era. Everything Is Illuminated (2002) circles the Holocaust from viewpoints prior to and after the 1942 massacre of the Jews of Trochenbrod in Poland (see Holocaust Fiction). The narrator of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005) is a nine-year-old named Oskar Schell – possibly homaging the protagonist of Günter Grass's The Tin Drum (1959), though a similar nudzhing precocity informs both texts – who searches New York for a person named Black, owner of a mysterious key his father held at the moment he was killed in the 9/11 atrocity; though the recursive intricacies of the world Oskar obediently deciphers fall short of Oulipo, the novel clearly represents the world as a puzzle whose rules must be obeyed, and the protagonist as a Schell who rings the changes. Of more direct interest as an example of twenty-first Fantastika is Here I Am (2016), in which the functions and dysfunctions of a large American Jewish family plays out in counterpoint against the history and moral position of Israel, all of which is brought to an extremely Near Future climax when the land is destroyed by a great earthquake. [JC]

Jonathan Safran Foer

born Washington, District of Columbia: 21 February 1977

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