Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“We are not long-term beings. Not heroes of romances in many volumes. For one gesture, for one word alone, we shall make the effort. We openly admit: our creations will be temporary. We shall have this as our aim: a gesture.”

Tree of Codes – Jonathan Safran Foer
139 pages
Genre: Poetry; Art; Literary Fiction

Summary: Tree of Codes spans the last day of the main character’s life. In it, the protagonist reflects upon his life, while also pondering on what will happen after he is gone.

Review: I heard about Tree of Codes sometime last year, and since I’ve read (and loved) everything else I’ve read by Foer, I knew I had to have it. When I discovered that the book was done in a series of die cuts, a first in the publishing industry, I was even more excited. Foer always does such a great job playing with the form of a text, and Tree of Codes definitely fell in line with what I’ve come to expect from him.

Tree of Codes is more than a book; it’s also an art piece. As soon as I received it in the mail, I found myself flipping through the pages and looking at the die cuts. I was a bit puzzled, however, as to how I was actually going to read this book (you definitely have to work at it), but I’ll give you a hint: if you put a piece of blank, white paper behind each die cut, you should be able to read it with relative ease. Once I figured that out, I was good to go, and read through it quickly.

The language of this book was extremely beautiful, and I was completely absorbed in the plot. Foer has such a way with words, and I’m constantly amazed at the breadth of human emotions he can evoke through his syntax. Following the narrator through his last day on earth was both interesting and heartrending, as he was forced to face the decisions he made in his life and his ultimate obsolescence from the face of the earth.

If you appreciate art, beautiful language, and nouveau ideas regarding how text is presented to the reader, definitely read Tree of Codes.

Rating: 4/5

Other Books by Jonathan Safran Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Everything is Illuminated, Eating Animals