Jonathan Safran Foer

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Jonathan Safran Foer

Safran Foer at the Brooklyn Book Festival
Born 1977
Washington, D.C.
Occupation novelist, short story writer
Nationality  United States
Official website

Jonathan Safran Foer (born 1977) is an American writer best known for his 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the novelist Nicole Krauss, and their son, Sasha.


[edit] Biography

Born in Washington, D.C., Foer attended Georgetown Day School and Princeton University, where he studied philosophy and literature and was awarded the Senior Creative Writing Thesis Prize. In 2000, he was awarded the Zoetrope: All-Story Fiction Prize and in 2007 he was included in Granta's Best of Young American Novelists 2.[2] He is the editor of the anthology A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell, for which he also wrote the short story "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe." At Princeton, he took a class with Joyce Carol Oates, who took an interest in him and helped launch him to broad fame.[3]

He was awarded a Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel fellowship for study in Israel.

Foer has been published in the Paris Review, Conjunctions, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. His short stories include "A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease," which originally appeared in The New Yorker and can also be found in The Burned Children of America, a collection of short stories edited by Marco Cassini and Martina Testa; and in The Unabridged Pocketbook of Lightning, produced as part of the Pocket Penguins series.

He traveled to Ukraine in 1999 to research his grandfather's life. This trip resulted in the inspiration for his debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, published in 2002 by Houghton Mifflin. The book garnered him a National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Award. The book was adapted into a film version in 2005, directed by Liev Schreiber, with Elijah Wood in the lead role.

In his second novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, published in 2005, Foer used 9/11 as a backdrop of the story of 9-year-old Oskar Schell, who learns how to deal with the death of his father in the World Trade Center. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close utilized many nontraditional writing techniques. It follows multiple but interconnected storylines, is peppered with photographs of doorknobs and other such oddities, and ends with a 14-page flipbook. Foer's utilization of these techniques resulted in both glowing praise and excoriation from critics. Despite diverse criticism, the novel sold briskly and was translated into several languages. In addition, the film rights were purchased by Warner Bros. and Paramount for a film to be produced by Scott Rudin.[4]

A vegetarian since the age of 10, Foer recorded the narration of "If This is Kosher...."[5] (2006), a harsh exposé of the kosher certification process that advocates vegetarianism and also includes the Rabbis David Wolpe and Irving Greenberg.

Foer is the middle child of three sons. His older brother Franklin is the editor of The New Republic. His younger brother Joshua is a freelance journalist specializing in science writing. Foer married Nicole Krauss in June 2004. Their first child, Sasha, was born in February 2006.

Foer is currently a creative writing professor in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University. [6].In the spring of 2008 he taught writing for the first time as a visiting professor of fiction at Yale University. [7].

[edit] Criticism

Foer is one of the more controversial novelists of the past decade, not for the content of his writing, but rather for the extremely polarized responses he elicits from readers. The initial release of Everything Is Illuminated received overwhelming acclaim, not only from major publications, but also from many well-known authors, including John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Isabel Allende, Russell Banks, and Dale Peck. Some of the reviews verged on the hyperbolic, particularly in The Times, which proclaimed that the book was "a work of genius," that Foer had "staked his claim for literary greatness," and that "after it, things will never be the same."

Detractors of Foer find his work gimmicky. Particularly bothersome to some readers is the virtual catalogue of modernist devices he employed in his first novel, including time shifts, dialect writing, fanciful mock-history, dramatic prose, poetic devices, and stream of consciousness. The frequency of these devices strike some as insincere and pretentious. The most notorious of these critics is Harry Siegel when he was still a part of the New York Press, who bluntly subtitled an article on Foer, "Why the Author of Everything Is Illuminated is a Fraud and a Hack."[8]

Recent criticism has taken a more evenhanded view, acknowledging the breathless silliness of some of the writer's early acclaim, while appreciating his considerable talent. In a recent essay for the London Review of Books about Foer's growing body of work,[9] Wyatt Mason said "Foer has shown both an unusual faith in the power of written communication and a true believer’s willingness to test its limits."

[edit] Works

[edit] Novels

[edit] Short stories

  • "The Very Rigid Search" (excerpted from Everything Is Illuminated) (The New Yorker, June 18, 2001)
  • "If the Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe" (included in A Convergence of Birds)
  • "A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease" (The New Yorker, June 10, 2002)
  • "The Sixth Borough" (became part of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; also featured in the collection "Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones,Creature from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out."[2])
  • "Cravings"
  • "About the Typefaces Not Used in This Edition" (The Guardian, December 2, 2002)
  • "Room After Room" (included in Granta's Best of Young American Novelists 2,"Granta 97" published in 2007)
  • "The Marcus Tenser Effect" (Atlantic Monthly, annual story compilation 2008)

[edit] Other

[edit] References

[edit] External links

NAME Foer, Jonathan Safran
PLACE OF BIRTH Washington, D.C.
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