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THE BOOK YOU HAVE TO READ

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I kept The Last Samurai on my bedside table for weeks after I’d finished reading it so that I could fool myself into thinking I was still reading it. And it would still be there now if I hadn’t given it to a friend. (I’ve purchased and given away almost a dozen copies; I don’t, at present, have one of my own, and can’t quite imagine keeping one.) The novel–about a single mother’s relationship with her prodigy child–is hilarious, touching, suspenseful, stylistically inventive, intellectually reaching, and, above all, humane. I read, somewhere, that it has become a cult classic. Funny, I don’t think of myself as a cult member. Then again, I doubt any cult members do.

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of Everything Is Illuminated, which Houghton Mifflin will publish this April.

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