Jonathan Safran Foer, author of: Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Eating Animals, is either loved or loathed in many literary circles. The Gawker sites that Foer's been named one of the most disliked New Yorkers for three of the five years he's been nominated. Of course, writers may be faced with envy from their contemporaries; however unfortunate, their own egotism can destroy the support they receive from their biggest fans. Foer's Everything is Illuminated was adapted for the screen years ago, and starred Elijay Wood; furthermore, his wife is none other than the female lit genius, Nicole Krauss, whose novel, The History of Love, became an international best seller. Yeah, they both possess priviledged backgrounds, and, yes, they might live in a $6.75 million dollar brownstone in Brooklyn, but I can't discredit their talent strictly on account of those factors.
I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close after I purchased it on a whim a couple of months ago. I had read so many mixed reviews about Everything is Illuminated that I never seriously considered picking up his work. However, after reading (and loving) The History of Love, and finding reviews that expressed his writing bore many similarities; I decided to read it. And I'll admit that I really enjoyed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, despite the negative attention it received. I laughed and I cried; it spoke to me on many levels.
So, where am I going with all of this? Well, I decided to try and participate in more literary events in Atlanta, and while searching I discovered that Foer would be speaking at the Atlanta History Center on Wednesday, September 1st, at 7:00. While I did have second thoughts about attending the event, I've decided I'm going to honor my already purchased reservation and go.
Here's a Goodreads overview:
Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates? Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, and his own undercover detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales justify a brutal ignorance. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, huge bestsellers,Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told--and the stories we now need to tell.
Although I haven't read the book, I am interested to hear (as an ex-vegetarian) what Foer has to say about this moral dilemma, and to see his talent as a non-fiction writer. Last night while checking my goodreads account, I perused Anthony Doerr's reading list and his review of Foer's book, which he gave four stars. His review stated that from a reader's perspective, he thought Foer did an excellent job of seeking out information, specifically mentioning how much he enjoyed the interviews and content from average farmers first-hand. Doerr was unimpressed with Foer's own insight, as he felt he approached the topic from a very prerogatived point of view. This raises many questions because Foer's material encourages everyday citizens to re-think their consumption of animal products on the basis that they are largely unaware of where their food comes from and how it's handled. I'm interested to see how Foer will address this argument and more, as I have no doubt that it will be brought to his attention. I look forward to providing a full report on the lecture afterwards.
If you're in the Atlanta area and you're also interested in attending this lecture, you can purchase tickets for $10 dollars here.