New Jonathan Safran Foer novel for 2016

New Jonathan Safran Foer novel for 2016

Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel for 10 years will be published on both sides of the Atlantic in September next year.

Penguin's Hamish Hamilton imprint will publish Here I Am on 29th September. The US publisher is reported to be Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

The title of the new novel quotes the line in the book of Genesis where God calls for Abraham to order him to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham replies obediently, "Here I am".

A Penguin spokesperson said Hamish Hamilton's publishing director Simon Prosser had just received the manuscript, and the premise of the novel is the dissolution of a Jewish family in New York set against the backdrop of a major earthquake and war in Israel.

Jonathan Safran Foer won the Guardian First Book Award at the age of 25 with his debut Everything is Illuminated and his most recent novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, was published a decade ago. He has also written non-fiction.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux is reported to have acquired the novel as part of a three-book deal including another novel and a work of non-fiction.

Eric Chinski, who bought the book for FSG, said: “You wouldn’t mistake any sentence of it for any other writer.It’s got this high-wire inventiveness and intensity of imagination in it, and the sheer energy that we associate with Jonathan’s writing, bt it’s a big step forward for him. It’s got a kind of toughness; it’s dirty, it’s kind of funny, like Portnoy’s Complaint, it exposes American Jewish life.”

The New York Times points out that there appear to be some autobiographical resonances in the new novel, since the family in question has three sons and is grappling with the parents' divorce. Foer grew up in Washington, as one of three sons, and was divorced from novelist Nicole Krauss in 2014. However Chinksi told the publication: “It’s not an autobiographical novel except in the sense that any mature novel reflects a lot of life experiences. The book reflects growing up and coming to terms with the world.”