When I love an author, I love to go though his or her works no matter what. Every new book is an exciting encounter with a familiar yet creative environment.
I've read almost all the books by Jonathan Safran Foer - I keep Here I Am for a late date for literary personal reasons - and even been to some of his public readings in Berlin and abroad. I fell in love with his fiction and gave it a chance to the Eating Animals, which although it is not necessarily my type of book - I cannot be vegetarian - it has a coherent narrative about food habits and the secret life of the meat we enjoy on our plate, especially in America.
When I've read about JSF's newest book We Are the Weather, about the climate change, I couldn't wait to read it. As in the case of the previous non-fiction book, it is a topic I am reading about but I am not knowledgeable enough to create a long narrative. For me, it is obvious a very serious issue, but I unable to see all the aspects yet, especially from the very cold scientific point of view.
I had hopes that one of my favorite contemporary readers will help me more in this direction, but it is obviously a serious intellectual mistake to expect and assume that other people will do the academic homeworks and researches for you.
Therefore I may be disappointed by my limited knowledge and lack of coherent thinking on the topic. Because, We Are the Weather is for me one of the most disappointing readings of the year. The main premise is that in the case of climate change there is a huge gap between feelings and awareness and the conceptual threat is far from being articulated. Like in the case of the very aware decision of giving up meat, taking the decision of writing the counter story of the threats to our climate and ultimately, our life, belongs to us. From the creative, literary point of view it sounds satisfactory, but this is the variant of the story a couple of years ago. The sense of emergency requsts a different and more coordinated approach, including at the level of the narrative. The narrative is still absent but filling it with average facts about climate change does not work. At least not for me.
The fact that literary stars prefer to approach climate change from the nonfiction standpoint is a good start, but using the honed literary skills to fill-in some journalistic information doesn't advance the cause, the knowledge, the message.
I hardly wish the next year JSF will release a new fiction book. Until then, hope to get into the red mood to finish Here I Am.
Rating: 2 stars