The WORD on: Tree of Codes

November 18, 2010

Jonathan Safran Foer‘s latest, Tree of Codes, immediately set off some heated discussions here at WORD and, we’re sure, at bookstores across the country. Here’s a round-up of our staff’s thoughts!

Jenn (events manager): At first glance, a customer and I agreed: it’s an amazingly cool concept, but we can’t imagine actually trying to READ it. Since then, however, several very smart people have talked me into the belief that if I gave it the time, it would probably be worth it.

Stephanie (manager): Is reading something from beginning to end really the only purpose of a book? And if it is now, should it always be? I would be sad if our industry only ever focused on either content or on what readers are asking for and never did anything else. That would get very, very boring.

Christine (owner): It’s so interesting to see where print is taking risks in the ominous ‘books are dying’ climate. I love that JSF takes those risks, it’s why I’m a huge fan of his to begin with. So I am very excited about it.

Dustin (bookseller): It’s an astounding sculptural argument for the joys of dead-tree tech, and JSF chose a truly interesting foundational text for it. But the real beauty of the book, to my mind, is that because its pages are literally transparent it makes more obvious the terrible dialectic between depth and opacity in any book.

What’s your take?

2 Responses to “The WORD on: Tree of Codes”


  1. Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but Gysin and Burroughs did this 40 years ago. The concept isn’t new. The thing I want to know is this: Is the story actually more interesting/profound as a cut up rather than as a conventional linear narrative?

  2. Christina Says:

    I think it looks great. Very interesting and I’d love to try and give it a read just to see if I could make it all the way through! I haven’t had this much of a challenge since House Of Leaves ;)


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