Tree of Codes

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Overview

An enormous last day of life.

Jonathan Safran Foer, deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers that it actually has a body. ?Olafur Eliasson

Our early conversations with Jonathan Safran Foer about Tree of Codes started when Jonathan said he was curious to explore and experiment with the die-cut technique. With ...

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2010 Paperback Good 110 Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access ... codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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2010 Paperback Good Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access ... codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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2010 Paperback Good Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access ... codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Read more Show Less

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London, United Kingdom 2010 Soft cover. Book has been carefully read once. Very Good with faint creasing to front and rear covers, tanning to spine of book.

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0956569218 Publisher: Visual EditionsDate of Publication: 2010Binding: trade paperbackEdition: Condition: Very GoodDescription: 0956569218 Very nice clean used book with no marks. ... Minimal signs of use. Read more Show Less

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London, England 2010 Paperback Second Edition As New 5.25 x 8.5" Tall 0956569218 Signed by Author 142 pages. SIGNED & dated 09/25/11 by author in black ink on title page. No ... visible creases or marks on the book. Read more Show Less

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London, England 2010 Signed by Author. Softcover. First Edition. First Printing. 145 pages. As New. Artist Book. One of the most cutting-edge (literally) and innovative ... literary-cum-art projects of our time. The true First Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions, particularly the 2011 Second, Third, and Fourth Reissued Editions. Published in a very small and limited first print run as a softcover original only. Please note: Copies "missing 5-digit EAN barcode" are the Uncorrected Proofs, which do not have the approved barcode yet. While they are an early, provisional state of the final edition, they cannot honestly be passed off as being the true First Edition any more than all other Uncorrected Proofs are, and the price dealers are asking for them is obscene. The First Edition is now rare. An austerely elegant production by Visual Editions: Regular-sized volume format. Pictorial softcovers with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Story and die-cut art by Jon Read more Show Less

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Overview

An enormous last day of life.

Jonathan Safran Foer, deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers that it actually has a body. —Olafur Eliasson

Our early conversations with Jonathan Safran Foer about Tree of Codes started when Jonathan said he was curious to explore and experiment with the die-cut technique. With that as our mutual starting point, we spent many months of emails and phone calls, exploring the idea of the pages' physical relationship to one another and how this could somehow be developed to work with a meaningful narrative. This led to Jonathan deciding to use an existing piece of text and cut a new story out of it. Having considered working with various texts, Jonathan decided to cut into and out of what he calls his "favourite book": The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz.

As Jonathan began to carve out his story, we started doing our production homework and literally got turned down by every printer we approached —their stock line being "the book you want to make just cannot be made". Thankfully, we found Die Keure in Belgium who relished the challenge of making a book with a different die-cut on every page.

Over a year of writing, cutting and proto-typing later, comes Tree of Codes, a haunting new story by Jonathan Safran Foer cut from Bruno Schulz’s words.

The book is as much a sculptural object as it is a work of masterful storytelling: here is an "enormous last day of life" that looks like it feels.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A]n extraordinary journey that activates the layers of time and space involved in the handling of a book and its heap of words. Jonathan Safran Foer deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers it actually has a body." — Olafur Eliasson, artist
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780956569219
  • Publisher: Visual Editions
  • Publication date: 11/15/2010
  • Pages: 285
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Safran Safran Foer
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into 36 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Biography

Recent literary history is rife with auspicious debuts, and Jonathan Safran Foer's arrival was one of 2002's brightest and most media-friendly. After all, the backstory was publicist-ready: Everything Is Illuminated began as a thesis at Princeton under advisers Joyce Carol Oates and Jeffrey Eugenides, and Houghton Mifflin reportedly paid somewhere around half a million dollars for the rights.

Foer achieved a fresh, creative approach to the English language by viewing it through the eyes of his foreign narrator, a young Ukranian man named Alex who works in a family tour operating business targeted toward American Jews seeking their family roots. Alex's comical, dictionary-aided writing consists of not-quite-right sentences such as "He is always promenading into things. It was only four days previous that he made his eye blue from a mismanagement with a brick wall." Alex's client, an American Jew named Jonathan Safran Foer, wants to find a woman who hid his grandfather from the Nazis. The two set out -- with an old picture, and the name Augustine -- to find the woman, bringing Alex's grandfather and an odiferous seeing-eye dog.

The story unfolds both through Alex's eyes and in a later correspondence with Jonathan, who reveals chapters of a fictionalized version of Augustine's story. Despite the novel's decidedly earnest and serious themes, what's most striking about it is its strange, resonant humor. Publishers Weekly saw "demented genius" in it; and Francine Prose, who also used the adjective "demented" for Foer's writing, noted in the New York Times Book Review, "The problem [with the book] is, you keep laughing out loud, losing your place, starting again, then stopping because you're tempted to call your friends and read them long sections of Jonathan Safran Foer's assured, hilarious prose."

Since Foer admitted to doing little research (although he did take a trip similar to the fictional Foer's, inspiring the book), and the historical fiction sections earned some critical gripes for being uneven (Salon called them "dime-store García Márquez"), the chief strength of Everything Is Illuminated lies in a scope and wit that are stunning from an author who was still finishing up college at the time he began it. The paperback rights for Everything Is Illuminated later went for reportedly close to $1 million.

Foer has had an undergrad's dream experience when it comes to consorting with eminent forbears: Russell Banks -- a professor in Foer's senior year -- came to his aid when he assembled A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell, which was published in 2001.

If Foer follows in the footsteps of fellow critical debut darlings Eugenides and Donna Tartt, it will be another ten years before we see a second novel. Fans will hope that instead he follows Oates's more prolific example.

Good To Know

According to a Princeton publication, Foer has been a "math tutor, archivist, ghost writer, farm sitter, advertising consultant and receptionist."

One of the many projects on Foer's "Project Museum" Web site is the Empty Page Project, a collection of blank paper from various authors -- the paper they normally use to write (anything) on. Nothing is on display yet, but according to a Guardian article, Foer has acquired pages from Paul Auster, Susan Sontag and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Both of Foer's brothers are editorial types: Franklin is an editor at the New Republic, and Joshua is a recent Yale grad and a contributor to Slate.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Jonathan Safran Foer
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1977
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Philosophy, Princeton University, 1999

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is another book I stole from Deb's to read pile. She got th

    This is another book I stole from Deb's to read pile. She got the book based solely on the author (she has read and liked his other books). Opening the book we were shocked, it looks as though someone has taken a knife and cut out sentences and paragraphs, leaving just a handful of words behind on each page (that is basically what the author did). It took me a few pages to figure out how to read it (a lot of words show through those holes). Once I figured it out it ended up being a very short and interesting read.

    After I finished reading the Tree of Codes I read in the back that Jonathan took the book The Street of Crocodiles by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz and “chipped” (cut) away words to leave behind his unique story; like a sculptor that chips away the stone to reveal a sculpture.

    Rating this book is a bit tricky. Reading a story from a book that only has a handful of words scattered amongst the holes one the pages is a unique experience. Learning how it was done makes you appreciate the work, skill and imagination it took to create such a book. As for the story, it was beautiful and poetic.

    I imagined the book as just a book. A story on whole pages (no holes), taking about 30 pages. Beautiful and poetic. Then I looked at it as a work of art and I go back and forth on that, on one hand I like the idea and I appreciate the experience but on the other hand it had a slight gimmicky feel to it.


    I combined the story with the experience and that slight gimmicky feeling to come up with my rating.

    Feb 21, 2012 [edit]

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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