The greatest writer of his generation can elude The Brooklyn Paper no longer!
Jonathan Safran Foer, author of “Everything is Illuminated” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” who has famously dodged all our interview requests, finally spoke to our reporter at his packed reading at PS 107 on Wednesday night.
Revealed! His next book will be (audible disappointment) nonfiction.
“It’s coming out Nov. 2 — a nonfiction book about factory farming,” said the resident of Second Street.
We asked if he was kidding, but apparently, he was not. He told us of spending the last few years visiting factory farms to study the cruel and inhuman practices of raising our food. And then we remembered that article two years ago in the Forward about Foer, who talked about the less-than-kosher slaughterhouse practices he saw at some Jewish-owned farms.
His fact-finding missions resulted in the piece, “If this is Kosher …” that he released as an online video. But we always knew there was more to this story. Indeed, the Forward characterized the factory-farming book, then in its infancy, as a “muckraking cross between Edward Abbey and a modern version of Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle.’”
Sounds like we’re going to have more fun reading it than Foer is having writing it. After reading two stories during his PS 107 appearance — one about his grandmother’s cooking, the other, a fictional conversation inspired by said grandmother — Foer spoke like the reclusive genius he is, offering a glimpse into his approach and why nonfiction, with its need to visit farms first-hand, doesn’t really fit into it.
“Writing is rarely about knowing,” he said. “Find ways to trust the form. Never ask questions about your work until you’ve made headway. In the course of hearing your own voice aloud, things begin to come together.”
But later, to our reporter, he confided that he didn’t enjoy writing nonfiction and probably won’t do it again.”
But work he must, with a deadline coming up: “What’s in store for me?” he asked. “Writing is what’s in store for me. Being at home … and trying to write more.”