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Jonathan Safran Foer’s Experimental Literature

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: literature, Tree of Codes, Jonathan Safran Foer, great writing, Vanity Fair, Will Wlizlo,

Tree of Codes 1 

It’s hard to pin down novelist Jonathan Safran Foer. Just when you thought you had his meticulous prose and dietary politics figured out, he goes and drops a piece of interdisciplinary fiction on us all. Starting with his favorite book—Polish World War II-era author Bruno Schulz’s collection of short fiction called The Street of Crocodiles—Foer began slicing out sections of text. When all of the scraps of paper were cleared away, Foer had an entirely different story called Tree of Codes.

With the surgery complete Foer’s next hurdle was to find a printer for such an unconventional book. According to Visual Editions, the book’s publisher, Tree of Codes “literally got turned down by every printer we approached–their stock line being ‘the book you want to make just cannot be made.’” Belgian print shop Die Keure didn’t agree, and used a die-cutting method to make the literary sculpture.

Many critics will undoubtedly profess that Foer’s experiment was an overwhelming success, but as Foer told Vanity Fair, there’s more at stake with Tree of Codes’ unusual format than the author’s boredom with the publishing status quo:


Tree of Codes 2 

In the following video, Jonathan Safran Foer explains the production process of Tree of Codes.


Source: Vanity Fair 

Images of Tree of Codes courtesy of www.visual-editions.com.