Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Safran Foer’

h1

I think you’re a Premium person

February 22, 2009

Jonathan Safran Foer’s first book, but the second one I’ve read by him. I read his books in the opposite order than they were written. So intricate, beautiful, tragic, entertaining, confusing, deep, moving, (moved me to tears at one point)…so intriguing. A review on Facebook said “This is not a novel, it is a work of art.” And I agree. Looking over the scant amount of excerpts I have makes me regret not noting other passages. But really, the full effect of most of the book only works if you’ve read the entire thing. So this is just a taste into the world Foer creates. (The title of this entry comes from the way the translator in the book talks. In his awkward English, premium means best, rigid means hard, repose means sleep, bitch literally means dog, roost means to sit…it’s not that important but I just wanted to let you know it also relates to the book.)
 
Excerpt #17: 
Safran moved through the neighboring villages, finding work as a teacher of harpsichord theory and performance, a perfume consultant (feigning deafness and blindness to grant himself some legitimacy in the absence of references), and even an ill-starred stint as the world’s worst fortuneteller – I’m not going to lie and tell you that the future is full of promise…He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others – the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad. (47) 

Excerpt #18: 
This was the world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary from Trachimbrod, a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn’t have to be that way; if it is there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler’s felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn’t exist, and I have tried everything that does. (82) 

Excerpt #19: 
BROD’S 613 SADNESSES
The following encyclopedia of sadness was found on the body of Brod D. The original 613 sadnesses, written in her dairy, corresponded to the 613 commandments of our (not their) Torah. Shown below is what was salvageable after Brod was recovered. (Her diary’s wet pages printed the sadnesses onto her bbody. Only a small fraction [55] were legible. The other 558 sadnesses are lots forever, and it is hoped that, without knowing what they are, no one will have to experience them.) The diary from which they came was never found.

SADNESSES OF THE INTELLECT: Sadness of being misunderstood [sic]; Humor sadness; Sadness of love wit[hou]t release; Sadne[ss of be]ing smart; Sadness of not knowing enough words to [express what you mean]; Sadness of having options; Sadness of wanting sadness; Sadness of confusion; Sadness of domes[tic]ated birds; Sadness of fini[shi]ng a book; Sadness of remembering; Sadness of forgetting; Anxiety sadness…

INTERPERSONAL SADNESSES: Sadness of being sad in front of one’s parent; Sa[dn]ness of false love; Sadness of love [sic]; Friendship sadness; Sadness of a bad convers[at]ion; Sadness of the could-have-been; Secret sadness…    (211)

-Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Advertisements